UPS drivers picket in Maine over long hours during pandemic
AUBURN, Maine (AP) — United Parcel Service drivers represented by the Teamsters union picketed Wednesday at a distribution hub to call attention to long hours and extra days being worked in the pandemic.
The 80 to 100 drivers based in Auburn are frustrated about being overworked during the pandemic, said Brett Miller, president of Local 340. The goal is to get the attention of management, he said.
“They are working Christmas hours and they’ve been doing this for 14 months straight. They’re wearing down,” he said.
Miller said the company has opted to pay penalties authorized under the current contract to keep workers on the job for extended hours instead of hiring more delivery workers to do the job.
A UPS spokesperson said the company is hiring in Auburn and wants to hear from workers. “We value our employees, appreciate their contributions to the communities where we live and work, and respect their right to assemble,” said spokesperson Matthew O’Connor.
During the informational picket, drivers carried signs saying, “People before profits,” “Hire more workers,” “Unsafe at UPS” and “Five days is enough, we have families too.”
Miller said workers’ complaints are “falling on deaf ears.” The Teamsters represent 1,200 UPS employees in Maine.