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UPS tentatively agrees to add air conditioning to its trucks | Engadget


UPS tentatively agreed to equip its delivery trucks with air conditioning for the first time following union negotiations between the company and the Teamsters. “Air conditioning is coming to UPS, and Teamster members in these vehicles will get the relief and protection they’ve been fighting for,” said Teamsters General President Sean M. O’Brien. However, the agreement only requires AC in new delivery vehicles purchased after January 1st, 2024, meaning it won’t likely spell relief for drivers this summer.

In addition to air conditioning, UPS agreed to install cab fans for additional airflow in its delivery vehicles, and the company will install a second fan in those without AC by June 1st, 2024. New vehicles will also get exhaust shields to minimize heat conduction from the powertrain to the van’s floor; existing package cars will add them within 18 months of contract ratification. Finally, new and existing trucks will get air intake vents that bring fresh air from the vehicle’s front to the cargo area to help reduce the sauna-like conditions that can develop in the vehicles’ package-storage areas.

Unless you know someone who works for UPS, you may not have realized the company’s iconic brown delivery vans lacked air conditioning. Unfortunately, it’s common practice: Standard USPS delivery trucks, introduced in 1987, also lack AC. (The Postal Service’s next-generation fleet of delivery vehicles, which begin arriving this year, finally add proper cooling.) According to NBC News, over 100 UPS workers have been hospitalized for heat-related illnesses in recent years. Especially as climate change begins to show its teeth in tangible ways (record-setting temperatures and smokey summer air becoming the new normal in many regions), it’s a sad commentary on big business that the countless drivers delivering our packages often have to suffer through sweltering heat to complete their routes.

The negotiations are part of union negotiations between UPS and the Teamsters. UPS agreeing to the most basic of heat-safety essentials may help avoid a strike, which union members began voting on last week. The union is scheduled to announce the results of the strike authorization vote (which won’t necessarily lead to a work stoppage if approved) on Friday.

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