Kourtney is married to a UPS driver in Rhode Island.
Kourtney says she sees how hard the job is and drivers deserve the new $170,000 contract deal.
She believes people shouldn’t be upset about the deal because blue-collar workers deserve fair pay.
This as-told-to essay is based on a conversation with Kourtney, a 30-year-old hairdresser and wife of a UPS driver in Rhode Island. Her last name has been omitted for privacy reasons. The following has been edited for length and clarity.
After the Teamsters union secured a win guaranteeing that UPS delivery drivers would make $170,000 in salary and benefits by the end of a 5-year period, people in tech and other white-collar workers had a lot to say about it. As the wife of a UPS driver, so do I.
Let’s start with the facts. The $170,000 is not a base salary — it takes into consideration healthcare and pension benefits. But that’s not even what bothers me most about people’s reactions, which range from wondering why drivers would make that much money to calling them overpaid and undeserving.
I really want people to think about why they believe UPS workers don’t deserve to be fairly compensated
It seems like a lot of it has to do with the snobbery white-collar workers feel toward blue-collar workers. I’m a hairdresser so I see it in my work, too. Some people just feel like they’re better than us and that we don’t deserve nice things or stability.
I feel like college-educated white-collar workers don’t believe blue-collar workers deserve to live a comfortable life — even though service workers are the backbone of society. They’re the most physically skilled ones and they’re the ones performing jobs nobody else wants to do. Despite that, they’re constantly taken for granted.
If you’re upset about my husband’s salary, you should be looking at the CEO of your company. The truth is, the CEO of your company makes, on average, 272 times more than the average worker. This is the design of capitalism. It pits workers against each other.
I wish people could see how hard my husband’s UPS job is
Every morning, he leaves the house before our kids are awake and comes home each night after they’re asleep. When he returns, he’s covered in dirt from head to toe. There isn’t air conditioning in his truck and he sends me photos of the infrared thermometer reading 115 degrees. I worry so much about him in those physically demanding conditions that I track his location just to make sure he’s always moving.
This is an incredibly difficult job. Even driving a truck of that size requires specific skill, but people just think “oh, I could be a delivery driver” and they have no idea what it actually takes.
All these delivery drivers just want to live a comfortable life
They’re not asking to be millionaires. They just want to be able to provide for their families and enjoy their lives on the weekends after working hard all week. It’s not a crime to want a comfortable life.
It’s normal to want to be able to go on vacation and have a nice car and be able to enjoy your life. I’ve seen, firsthand, how hard these drivers work. I know how important they are to the economy and to our country — and obviously UPS does too, as evidenced by the tentative agreement with the union.
If UPS believes these workers should be paid more, that’s none of your business
Workers are the ones that make the corporation profitable and that’s what makes shareholders happy. They deserve to be compensated for that. We all deserve to be fairly compensated for our labor.
I don’t think the people who are complaining have any idea what it’s like to be a UPS driver, but I do because I see it every day.
Editor’s note: A UPS spokesperson sent the following statement to Insider:
“The safety and well-being of every UPSer is our top priority. We have been steadily building on our efforts to protect our people in the face of increasingly hot temperatures, provide a safe work environment, and make working at UPS a great experience for employees as they serve our customers and strengthen our communities. “We have worked with top experts in heat safety to study our working conditions and further improve our trainings and protocols to help our employees work safely — especially on hot days. Improvements include:
Are you a UPS driver with an interesting story? Contact Manseen Logan at [email protected].
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