Illness-wise, not that bad at all. In terms of stress and anxiety and stuff over the past two weeks, it’s been just unbearable. I haven’t been sleeping at all. I came home from work yesterday and I was symptomatic. Shortly after that, I started getting chest pain and a sore throat and coughing. And I just keep thinking, like, I’m killing all these people.
So I worked for UPS for about five years, and I’ve actually worked in a few different positions there. I’ve gone out in the trucks before. But right now, I load four of those brown packaged cars that you see driving around every night. They’re pretty much full, like floor to ceiling, wall to wall in the back, when they first go out. Most of us who load trucks handle about four times as many packages as a driver.
Yes, it’s pretty much just increasing every day. I’ve worked Christmas seasons that weren’t this busy. And that’s always our busiest time of year, a few weeks before Christmas. But it’s just crazy. Then the other thing is, simultaneously, you have people calling out sick. I overheard our building manager yesterday say we had about 20 call outs with COVID symptoms. So that’s 5 to 10 percent of our total workforce at the building I work at, calling out. And that’s just going up and going up.
Yeah. So technically, because we’re doing a really physically intensive manual-labor job, any time we work over five hours that’s considered overtime and they pay us time and a half. Because I’m just moving like 50 pound boxes nonstop, like walking in circles. But I’ve been working probably 20 to 25 percent more. Probably even more than that, because it’s supposed to be the slow season. This is usually the slowest time of year. Instead, it’s the busiest time of year.
It’s very much business as usual. As of this Monday, they did give us rubber gloves. But they tear. I’ll use six or seven pairs of them in a shift if I wear them. They’re just cheap latex gloves and that’s all UPS has given us. One day last week, we had no soap in our bathroom. We have a bathroom with three sinks. One of the sinks works. And they say they’re sanitizing the bathroom, but it has not been cleaned in months. It is disgusting. So we have one unsanitary bathroom that has, like, a 50 percent chance of having soap.
No. We have these belts that we wear with a device on it, a little bigger than a cell phone, and then a little finger thing that we scan packages with. But the belts are fabric and they’ve never washed them since they were introduced like a few years ago. And the scanners are never wiped down at all. The trucks aren’t wiped down.
It’s literally impossible.
I don’t think there was an expectation there. But there’s definitely some kind of pressure. Above board, they’ll tell you, you know, if you have any symptoms, even if it’s not symptoms of COVID-19, just call out. But people need the income. It’s uncertain times and people don’t have any savings. If they have like a light sore throat or a cough or something, they’re going to keep coming in. And I can tell you firsthand, I’ve seen people coughing on boxes. The other day when I was leaving the last shift I did work, I saw a driver walking in just cough very deeply and directly onto his bare hands on his way into the building. People are worried about their families and just having enough.
Some of the drivers I’ve noticed have masks, but it’s maybe 10 percent of the drivers. And I think they’re providing them themselves. They’re bringing their own masks.
None whatsoever. The Monday before last was the first time they mentioned there even was a virus. They gave out sheets of paper, but it just says if you’re feeling sick, stay home and wash your hands a lot. And that’s all it says. I mean, I’m paraphrasing. But shouldn’t we be doing those things ordinarily? So it’s really just business as usual.
I believe they are on my side firmly. But the union isn’t as powerful as they used to be, I don’t think. They were negotiating with UPS to try and get us some sort of relief, and I know they got us ten days of paid sick leave. But for anyone who was part-time, which is just under 40 hours a week, and that’s the majority of employees in my position — our sick days are paid at three and a half hours a day. So they’re giving us ten sick days, but it’s three and a half hours of pay.
It’s literally murder. It goes beyond risk. I might have been contagious for the past two weeks and I might have delivered packages to 20,000 people, touched 20,000 people’s packages. And I’m one person. Each of those people could infect, you know, two to three people.
UPS put up information about testing and they said that in the future, we will be able to get tested for coronavirus through Quest Diagnostics. But they haven’t given us a timeline for that and it hasn’t happened.
I don’t expect that I will get tested. They’ve told me at some indefinite point in the future, UPS workers will be able to get tested. And I can say pretty definitively that no one at my center has been tested for coronavirus at all.