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Union leaders say COVID-19 outbreak hits Tucson UPS facility

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TUCSON  - The Teamsters Local 104 reported a COVID-19 outbreak at the UPS facility on Silverlake Road and Park Avenue in Tucson.

The union believes 36 UPS employees have tested positive for the coronavirus.

In addition, three employees were admitted to an intensive care unit or ICU.

Karla Schumann is with Teamsters Local 104.

Schumann said she’s been battling with UPS everyday. 

“It continues to grow daily,” Schumann said. “We are less than pleased with the contact tracing. If you want to stop the spread of something, you gotta trace, you gotta test and you gotta isolate.”

A UPS spokesman responded with the following statement:

“Our first priority is always the safety of our employees and the communities we serve. We have been in active communication with Local 104 leaders in Tucson to hear and address their concerns. In any instance where there is a confirmed diagnosis, we immediately contact the Department of Public Health to facilitate a contact trace, fully clean the work area before work resumes, and communicate with potentially impacted employees. We have rigorous safety protocols in place, including cleaning our facilities multiple times a day, providing our employees with Personal Protective Equipment (PPE), implementing social distancing, and providing supplies to clean their work stations and vehicles. We have both a privilege and a responsibility to continue safely working during this challenging period.”

Matthew O’Connor, senior manager of UPS Public Relations

Schumann said UPS only required employees to wear masks last week. She wants all employees to be tested.

“They’re afraid. They’re afraid to be in the building. They’re afraid they’re going to take it home to their families," Schumann said.

"I mean, just think about it. You work long hours, you’re fatigued, you’re exhausted. It’s hot," Schumann continued. "Your immunities are broken down. You have to think about being in a building where there’s an outbreak and the possibilities of taking that home to your family. That is scary as hell.”

The Teamsters Local 104 will hold a news conference outside the facility at 899 E. Silverlake Road on Friday at 8 a.m. 

Eric Fink

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