UPDATE (06/15/2023): UPS and Teamsters union leaders have agreed to a tentative deal that would require air conditioning, new heat shields and additional fans in all UPS delivery vehicles purchased after Jan. 1, 2024. Existing delivery trucks and vans will also be fitted with "air induction systems" to relieve high temperatures in the back of the vehicles.
"Air conditioning is coming to UPS, and Teamster members in these vehicles will get the relief and protection they’ve been fighting for,” Teamsters General President Sean M. O’Brien said in a June 14 statement.
The original story continues as published below.
UPS is one of the leading package delivery companies in the world. In 2021, UPS said it delivered an average of 25.2 million packages per day, totaling 6.4 billion packages that year.
In July, several record-breaking heat waves were reported in many parts of the world, including in Europe and the United States. During that time, a 24-year-old UPS driver collapsed and died while delivering packages in 90-degree temperatures outside of Los Angeles, according to local news reports. An official cause of death has not been released, but the driver’s family suspects his death was heat-related.
VERIFY sister station KPNX in Arizona also shared a doorbell camera video in mid-July of a UPS driver collapsing in the heat in front of a home in Scottsdale.
“I just want to make sure those guys are safe, you know, and with this heat, those guys don’t have AC in those trucks,” the homeowner who shared the video told KPNX.
Do UPS delivery trucks have air conditioning?
No, UPS delivery trucks don’t have air conditioning.
WHAT WE FOUND
UPS delivery trucks do not have air conditioning installed, according to the company and the union that represents UPS workers.
The International Brotherhood of Teamsters, also known as the Teamsters Union, is a North American labor union representing 350,000 UPS workers. In a July 20 Facebook post, the Teamsters discussed the trucks’ lack of air conditioning, writing that UPS has claimed that air conditioning would be "ineffective" in cooling down the company's package delivery trucks.
“While UPS cites no scientific evidence to prove that air conditioning would be ineffective – and we can point to OSHA guidelines that clearly recommend such cooling is in fact an effective means for employers to mitigate the risk of heat illness on the job – there are steps that UPS should be taking right now to protect drivers,” the Teamsters wrote.
The Teamsters gave UPS two weeks to provide detailed information on any plans the company has to protect employees, combat heat illness, and install or replace relief equipment amid increasingly extreme weather conditions, according to an Aug. 1 news release.
A UPS spokesperson told VERIFY the company’s delivery trucks make frequent stops “which requires the engine to be turned off and the doors to be opened and closed, about 130 times a day on average.”
“We have studied heat mitigation with our vehicles and integrated forced air systems with venting to create air flow around the driver and cargo areas. We optimize the roof of vehicles to minimize heat in the cargo area, alongside insulating the roof of the cab. We also offer fans to drivers upon request,” the spokesperson told VERIFY.
The UPS spokesperson said the company had instituted several new steps to support employee safety and comfort on the job in preparation for this summer’s heat wave. These steps include providing drivers with heat-related PPE, such as cooling towels and uniforms with wicking, dry-fit shirts and performance fabric shorts, additional water, ice, electrolyte replacement beverages and fruits with high water content, as well as accelerating the installation of fans in UPS vehicles across the country.
An online petition demanding UPS install air conditioning in its package delivery trucks had over 1.3 million signatures as of Aug. 11.
More from VERIFY: Yes, heat is historically the top weather-related killer in the US