Don’t forget to thank your mailman, come rain, snow, heat, or hail. After years of putting up with sweltering temperatures inside their vehicles, UPS has reached a deal with the International Brotherhood of Teamsters, the union that represents nearly 340,000 drivers, to add air conditioning to UPS trucks both new and old.
According to a press release from UPS, air conditioning will be included in newly purchased trucks beginning on January 1, 2024. While this is a ways off, and excludes legacy vehicles, UPS added that trucks with AC will be dispatched to the parts of the country most susceptible to high heat first. Additionally, UPS will retrofit older trucks with a cab fan within thirty days of the union ratifying a new contract with the courier service—the union’s current contract expires on August 1. Trucks without air conditioning will get a second fan installed by June 1, 2024.
“The Teamsters and UPS agreed to tentative language to equip the delivery and logistics company’s fleet of vehicles with air conditioning systems, new heat shields, and additional fans,” Teamsters said in a tweet yesterday.
UPS also agreed to include exhaust heat shields in truck cargo bays both in new trucks and, within 18 months of the union ratifying the contract, in old trucks. UPS says that these heat shields can dramatically reduce the heat conducted onto the cargo floor by as much as 17 degrees Fahrenheit. Both new and old trucks will also receive an air intake vent on the passenger side of the vehicle leading into the cargo area to circulate air. Old trucks will be retrofitted with the vent within 18 months after the contract is ratified.
“We have reached an agreement with the Teamsters on new heat safety measures that build on important actions UPS rolled out to employees in the spring, which included new cooling gear and enhanced training,” UPS said in its release. “We care deeply about our people, and their safety remains our top priority. Heat safety is no exception.”
The agreement comes ahead of a strike authorization vote which, if passed, would lead to a work stoppage that could have devastating ripple effects on the U.S. economy and supply chain. The union’s contract with UPS was set to expire in less than seven weeks.