To make sure you never miss out on your favourite NEW stories, we're happy to send you some reminders

Click 'OK' then 'Allow' to enable notifications

UPS drivers to get trucks with air conditioning for very first time
Featured Image Credit: B Christopher / Ian Dagnall / Alamy

UPS drivers to get trucks with air conditioning for very first time

Temperatures have reached 150°F in the backs of some trucks

After years of sweaty seats and sticky steering wheels, UPS has reached a tentative agreement with union leaders to add air conditioning to its delivery trucks.

The brown vans are iconic across the US, often seen travelling through the streets on their way to deliver something new and exciting to those who can't resist hitting 'add to cart'.

But while customers have been focused on the packages coming their way, many of the people responsible for delivering them have been struggling their working conditions whenever the temperature starts to rise.

Drivers have struggled in the heat while working.

The trucks do not come equipped with air conditioning, and more than 100 UPS drivers have been hospitalized for heat illnesses in recent years, according to NBC News, with temperatures reaching more than 150 degrees Fahrenheit (65°C) in the backs of UPS trucks in certain states.

This week the union Teamsters, which represents 340,000 UPS employees, announced that's set to change.

Following a week of 'intense lobbying', the union reached an agreement with UPS which requires the company to ensure there are in-cab air conditioning systems in all larger delivery vehicles, smaller sprinter vans, and most iconic brown package cars purchased after 1 January, 2024.

The agreement also states that two fans will be installed in the cab of all package cars, and all newer non-electric UPS package cars and vans will be installed with exhaust heat shields.

The iconic trucks do not have air con.
Ian Dagnall / Alamy

Sean M. O’Brien, Teamsters General President, described the tentative agreement as a 'significant step towards a stronger new reality'.

“Air conditioning is coming to UPS, and Teamster members in these vehicles will get the relief and protection they’ve been fighting for,” he said.

“The union’s entire national committee and our rank-and-filers should be commended for staying in this fight and making their priorities known to this company. We are here to protect more than 340,000 UPS Teamsters and get the best contract in the history of our union with this company."

Teamsters has also secured fans for drivers.

In its own statement, UPS confirmed the agreement and said it built on existing actions UPS rolled out to employees earlier this year, including 'new cooling gear and enhanced training'.

The company said it has always 'remained open' to solutions which keep employees safe, adding: "The new solutions we’ve agreed to will improve airflow, temperature and comfort for our employees.

"We continue to consult with heat safety experts and sports scientists to inform our approach, and are aligned with OSHA (Occupational Safety and Health Administration) guidance. We know coming to work rested and staying hydrated are the most effective methods for staying safe in the heat."

The tentative agreement comes as the current contract between unionized workers and UPS is set to expire on 1 August, prompting negotiations over a new contract.

Topics: US News, Weather