SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. — The United Postal Service responded after a doorbell camera video showing an Arizona UPS driver collapsing during a delivery went viral.
The company says its first priority is the safety of its employees.
But some drivers for the company say they are being overworked and with no air conditioning in trucks. They tell KNXV that it's a recipe for disaster.
"UPS will reprimand me and discipline me for calling out for heat-related issues," says a Valley UPS driver, speaking out anonymously.
We first heard about that Wednesday night from a Valley driver who wishes to remain anonymous. UPS tells us that shouldn't be happening.
"We never want our employees to continue working to the point that they risk their health or work in an unsafe manner. We also offer our employees multiple ways to share their concerns with us without fear of retaliation, and we promptly address issues when they are brought to our attention," UPS Public Relations said.
The union division for local UPS drivers says regardless; drivers are still being overworked.
"These guys have been caused and forced to work six days a week for, in some cases, a couple of years - that's outrageous. And, they threaten though... we're going to write you up, you're going to get suspended," said Karla Schumann, secretary and treasurer with Teamsters LU No 104 of the International Brotherhood of Teamsters.
Pictures from some Valley drivers show the back of these trucks reaching as high as 130 to 161 degrees.
"It's not a hydration issue. It's a humane issue. Our trucks are ovens in these temperatures. They're like little hot boxes," stated an anonymous Valley UPS driver.
"Our records do not reflect the assertion. We have studied heat mitigation with our vehicles and installed forced air systems with venting to create airflow on the driver, changed the roof of vehicles to minimize heat in the cargo area, and insulated the roof of the cab," said a UPS representative.
UPS says there's no A/C system because of the frequent stops. But still, the union points out that the extreme heat is taking a toll on drivers.
"We've had several individuals have to call 911; we've had individuals end up hospitalized with, you know, kidneys that are shutting down. We've had individuals, you know, that go home and can't finish their route," said Schumann.
UPS says it has a "Cool Solutions" program focusing on educating employees on hydration, nutrition, and proper sleep before working in hotter temperatures. Some don't think that does enough.
"Fact of the matter is that no amount of training can prepare your body for 160 degrees, 10 to 12 hours a day, six days a week," said an anonymous Valley UPS driver.
"I don't want to see one of my people, my members, their employees become seriously ill or die," added Schumann.
"We are greatly concerned about the health and safety of our employees. We never want our employees to continue working to the point that they risk their health or work in an unsafe manner. If an employee ever feels ill for any reason, they are instructed to stop what they are doing and notify their delivery center management. If they need assistance, local UPS personnel will respond by coming to their location to help them return to their delivery center or arrange immediate medical assistance at their location," said a UPS representative.