Fed up with dangerous working conditions, rank-and-file Teamsters in Vermont Local 597 took action and won results.
COVID-19 is the most dangerous health and safety crisis we've ever faced. But you never would have known it from the conditions at UPS in Vermont.
"We had no masks and no hand sanitizer. We didn't even have paper towels or hand soap in the bathroom," said package driver Mike Yalicki.
After getting nowhere with her center manager, shop steward Marge Harvey took action.
Harvey contacted OSHA and went over her boss’s head to the head of safety for her district and the District Labor Manager. The pressure paid off. After weeks of being stuck in neutral, suddenly the wheels started moving.
Starting yesterday, UPSers were given sanitizer, gloves and masks. The bathrooms are now stocked with paper towels and hand soap. DIADs are being wiped down and distributed outside the building to avoid crowding.
Management is taking other measures to increase social distancing, including spacing out shifts. Drivers don't enter the building until after the belt is stopped and the preloaders have exited.
"Being a Teamster means standing together and looking out for one another," Harvey said. "I wasn't afraid to blow the whistle because I knew other rank-and-file members would have my back."
By taking action together, working Teamsters made UPS deliver improvements in the Green Mountain State.
Does Management Need a Push in Your Building?
Is your building unsafe and unsanitary? Contact TDU and UPS Teamsters United. We’re a grassroots network of Teamsters helping Teamsters.
We can’t solve COVID-19. But we can give you advice on your rights and help you take action to hold management accountable using tools like grievances, OSHA, and union solidarity.