On August 24, Carol Tomé, the CEO of UPS, decided to grace the Reno UPS hub with her presence. She was greeted with a rally by Local 533 drivers who were protesting the lack of air conditioning, both in the building and in the package cars.
“We have had drivers go down to heat-related injuries in record numbers,” says Secretary-Treasurer Debbie Calkins. “One driver had to go to the ER three times in less than a month; the last time was the day before Carol visited us.” But, Calkins notes, she never mentioned the injuries or any possible remedies. “We were waiting for a heartfelt apology, but instead, only got a canned speech about how she was happy for all of the members’ hard work and how she wanted us to have time to spend with family and take care of our mental well-being.”
Local 533 members have been forced to work six days a week through the hottest months of the year. “Tomé talks about mental well-being, but of course doesn’t mention the harassment and threats of discharge that the company exerts on our members when they call in to take care of themselves,” Calkins added.
While Tomé was still on-site, Local 533 worked with IBT internal organizers to get non-members to sign up and pay their dues—and 70 did so. The Local also promoted the IBT’s new UPS-Teamsters app to get members ready for the upcoming contract fight with UPS.
The Local also had members complete an internal survey to give their top priorities going into negotiations. “We have had strong participation and would like to thank all of the stewards who helped facilitate getting those surveys done,” Calkins added.