Worker Correspondents: UPS Workers Face Wage Theft and Heavy Workload amid Peak Season

By Dontay Stevenson

Workers at a UPS facility in Charlotte have been overworked and stretched thin as they headed into the peak holiday season. Instead of the pay rates reflecting the increased volume, workers have been getting their paychecks cut short.

A worker correspondent stated that the company withheld over $500 worth of wages from him over the course of the year, and said there were many times where his coworkers had not received pay at all.

One worker confronted a supervisor after management withheld her pay for an entire week. “I was upset. UPS tried to cheat me out of my hard-earned money. [Management] tried to change my time in the payroll clock, but I wasn’t having it. [Management] had the nerve to ask me if I wanted the money in my next check or a separate check…… what did they think? I said, ‘Oh cut me a check.'”

The workers at the warehouse have faced increased exploitation during the peak season. UPS, instead of hiring more workers to assist with the increased volume, expects these workers to process 100,000 packages per day—nearly twice the number of packages they handle during the regular season—without any additional pay. Management posted a notice about requiring workers to work on Sundays during the holiday season, which one worker tore down in an act of resistance. Other workers said that they would ignore the notice.

Instead of hiring more workers to handle the increased throughput, UPS has hired more supervisors. Workers have complained that the supervisors watch them struggle under the mountain of packages that they are forced to process. One worker commented, “Why can they hire more people to tell us what to do, but not hire more people to work?” Management has also taken stricter measures against workers, such as monitoring workers on camera, prohibiting phone usage inside the warehouse, and harassing workers. In one instance, a Black worker was whistled at by a white supervisor in a demeaning way for using his phone.

A supervisor informed workers that the warehouse would remain understaffed throughout the peak season, meaning that workers can expect to deal with the excessive amount of packages through January. When asked about UPS’s treatment of workers during peak season, a worker commented, “They want to upgrade to robots, but at the same time, they are running us like the robots. It’s almost like they’re having fun with us, like a numbers game.” The refusal to adequately staff the warehouse during the peak holiday season shows that as UPS drives to maximize profit, workers will continue to bear the brunt of the work.

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