Fact Finders: COVID-19 impacts on Tucson UPS workers, deliveries

Fact Finders: UPS delivery delays

TUCSON, Ariz. (KOLD News 13) - Out for delivery? Maybe not.

KOLD News 13 has received several emails, messages and comments from viewers about their delayed UPS deliveries. All the concerns are similar, with packages sitting for days in facilities in Tucson or Goodyear.

According to UPS, severe weather, natural disasters, and other conditions “beyond our control” can occasionally disrupt services. KOLD News 13 reported last week that a service alert has been issued with impacts related to the coronavirus.

[ UPS delivery delayed? This could be the reason why ]

Now, we’re getting a better idea of what may be going on inside the facility in Tucson.

Karla Schumann, the Principle Officer and Secretary-Treasurer of Teamsters Local 104 said there are ‘a lot of things going on’ with COVID-19 that directly effects the UPS workers.

“We have people that are getting sick. We have an influx in volume. We have summers heat and long days," said Shumann. "These guys are putting in 12, 13 hours a day. They are doing the best they can, but there is so much volume coming in, it’s hard to keep up with it, if you will.”

Schumann called the current conditions with the coronavirus outbreak a “perfect storm” of issues, comparing how busy UPS employees are now to Christmas and the holiday season.

“Compounded with people either being out because of COVID or being quarantined because of COVID. It’s a vicious circle and it’s a tough scenario, but it’s what we do and we are doing the best we can with it," said Schumann.

Schumann asked that customers to consider the conditions employees are working through to make deliveries happen.

KOLD News 13 reached out to UPS for information on what appeared to be the recent delivery delay. Here is the answer we received from a member of the company’s media relations team:

“We continue to operate in line with demand and the needs of our customers, except where limited by government restrictions. We have both a privilege and a responsibility to continue safely working during this challenging period.”

The spokesperson said there are two big efforts if there is a confirmed case at a facility. First, communicating with co-workers. Second, making sure the facility is cleaned before the work area is used again and employees are reminded about hygiene and other protocols.

When asked if cases were impacting staffing at the Tucson facility, the spokesperson said:

“If there is a need to disclose a positive case of COVID-19 to the news media for public health reasons, that disclosure will come from local health departments or other responding authorities.”

According to the Arizona Department of Health Services, there are currently 61 ‘congregate settings’ with confirmed COVID-19 cases in Pima County. Two of the 61 are described as a workplace and 12 are in the 'other’ classification.

KOLD News 13 asked the Pima County Health Department if the UPS facility was one of the congregate settings being monitored. Spokesman Aaron Pacheco said there are restrictions the department has in releasing information about businesses.

Schumann didn’t share a number of confirmed COVID-19 cases at the facility Monday, but she did say there were employees who were sick.

For more information on how UPS is responding to the coronavirus, click here.

Copyright 2020 KOLD News 13. All rights reserved.