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“As blistering heat waves swept across the United States this summer, breaking temperature records and placing millions under heat advisories and warnings,” Livia Albeck-Ripka writes at The New York Times, “workers… have continued to deliver America’s packages for a variety of carriers, often in trucks that have no cooling mechanisms for drivers. Some UPS workers have shared photographs that show thermometer readings of up to 150 degrees in the backs of their trucks.” A shocking number of package deliverers and letter carriers—to say nothing of farm workers, construction workers, warehouse workers, etc.—have reported heat-related injuries and illnesses, and some have even died on the job from heat exposure. As climate change makes dangerous working conditions even worse for those who are exposed to extreme heat, workers, unions, and the public are demanding serious action be taken. In this urgent panel episode, we speak with Zakk, Gabriela, and Steve, three UPS package deliverers and members of the International Brotherhood of Teamsters, about the serious dangers of working in the heat and the fight they and their union are waging to ensure better protections for workers.

Additional links/info below…

  • Gabriela’s Twitter page
  • Zakk’s Facebook page and Twitter page
  • International Brotherhood of Teamsters website, Facebook page, and Twitter page
  • Teamsters for a Democratic Union website, Facebook page, and Twitter page
  • Livia Albeck-Ripka, The New York Times, “UPS Drivers Say ‘Brutal’ Heat Is Endangering Their Lives
  • More Perfect Union, “UPS Drivers Are Dying Of Extreme Heat. The Company Doesn’t Care
  • Jordan Hart, Business Insider, “‘We’re Dying Out Here:’ After Death of 24-Year-Old UPS Worker in His Truck, Family Members, Other Workers Renew Calls for AC in Trucks, Warehouses
  • Working People, “(Unlocked) BONUS EPISODE – A Pivotal Moment for the Teamsters (w/ Indigo Olivier)
  • Working People, “‘We Are Essential,’ Pt I (Voices from the Covid-19 Crisis)
  • Denise Chow & Nigel Chiwaya, NBC News, “The US Could See a New ‘Extreme Heat Belt’ by 2053
  • Kelly Yamanouchi, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, “Teamsters Set Stage for Union Contract Battle with UPS

Permanent links below…

Featured Music (all songs sourced from the Free Music Archive at Jules Taylor, “Working People Theme Song”


The transcript of this podcast will be made available as soon as possible.


Ten years ago, I was working 12-hour days as a warehouse temp in Southern California while my family, like millions of others, struggled to stay afloat in the wake of the Great Recession. Eventually, we lost everything, including the house I grew up in. It was in the years that followed, when hope seemed irrevocably lost and help from above seemed impossibly absent, that I realized the life-saving importance of everyday workers coming together, sharing our stories, showing our scars, and reminding one another that we are not alone. Since then, from starting the podcast Working People—where I interview workers about their lives, jobs, dreams, and struggles—to working as Associate Editor at the Chronicle Review and now as Editor-in-Chief at The Real News Network, I have dedicated my life to lifting up the voices and honoring the humanity of our fellow workers.
Follow: @maximillian_alv

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