April 2, 2007: After a late-winter blizzard pounded the Midwest, Feeder Drivers in the Kansas City area are asking UPS management to institute an emergency road plan for winter weather conditions. Road drivers are fed-up with a policy that intimidates and coerces operations in impossible or hazardous winter storm conditions.
UPS drivers are routinely forced into winter storms, even blizzard conditions, under threat of firing (for job abandonment). Then, if there is an accident, the driver could be fired as well. You’re “damned if ya’ do and damned if ya’ don’t”! We call for a policy to protect the safety of our employees as well as the motoring public.
Emergency plans for building operations, i.e. fire, tornado, earthquake, etc. are an acceptable and necessary requirement (OSHA-mandated) of business operations. Why should we who work our nation’s highways accept anything less?
We’re asking for a reasonable policy that gives discretion to drivers to pull off the road in dangerous conditions. Presently drivers have to rely on outside help (such as Paul Taylor of the Truckers Justice Center, and TDU), or collective self-help (if many drivers refuse to operate in unsafe conditions, they are a lot more protected). UPS has professional drivers; they should treat them accordingly when it comes to highway safety in dangerous conditions.
To get a copy of Paul Taylor’s article on your rights in snowy weather, contact TDU: (313) 842-2600 or click here to send a message.
—Michael Savwoir is a UPS feeder driver in Local 41 in Kansas City, Mo.