5 UPS Workers Shared the Toughest Parts of Their Jobs: 'Sleeping on a Truck Four Nights a Week Is Rough' When word spread that UPS drivers could earn $170,000 a year in wages and benefits, interest in the role skyrocketed. Here's what it's really like.

By Manseen Logan

Key Takeaways

  • Business Insider talked to five UPS workers about the most difficult parts of their job.
  • The difficulties varied by role and included hot warehouses and multi-day road trips.
  • All five workers agreed that UPS offered great pay and benefits.
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Spencer Platt/Getty Images via Business Insider

This article originally appeared on Business Insider.

In early August, when the word spread that UPS drivers could earn $170,000 a year in wages and benefits, it seemed as though everyone wanted to work for the company. Online searches for UPS delivery-driver jobs soared, and people got into heated internet debates about whether UPS employees deserved the new deal.

While some folks argued the amount seemed too high, many UPS workers and supporters considered the increase to be well-deserved based on the difficulties of the job.

Business Insider spoke with five UPS employees who held a variety of roles, including in warehouses and on trucks, about the worst and best parts of their jobs. They all agreed the pay and benefits were great, but they shared a range of things they didn't like about their work.

These accounts spanned from February 2022 to this past March and most of the drivers requested anonymity to protect their jobs.

Learning new routes every day, as a swing driver, was hard

A UPS delivery driver from Arizona told BI they went from earning $9.50 an hour as a warehouse worker to making $30 an hour as a delivery driver within three years.

This year, the driver's salary rose to almost $100,000 a year — after working for UPS for 21 years. They said the job required lots of physical labor and that their most difficult role was working as a swing driver.

"I was a swing driver for 13 years," they said, "This meant I was placed on a different route each day." The driver mentioned that it was stressful to learn a new route every day but said the good pay and benefits made the job worth it.

The inconsistent work schedule for delivery drivers can make it hard to have a life

Another longtime UPS delivery driver told BI having a dedicated route makes a major difference, as far as quality of life goes.

"My route involves a lot more driving than actual delivering, which suits me just fine because I enjoy driving," the worker said. But they added that even with a regular route, there's no telling when your workday will end.

"Some days you can get everything done in nine hours; other times it can take 14 hours," they said. "That kind of inconsistency makes it difficult to have a life outside of work, especially when you have a family like I do."

The tension between UPS and the union was not favorable

"I really like driving for UPS," said another delivery driver. "Even though I don't have a college degree, I make good money — $40 an hour."

The driver told BI their favorite part of the job was their independence and the fact no one was breathing over their shoulder when they worked. The driver also shared that the constant tension between the union and the corporate side of UPS, leading up to the new deal, was their least favorite part of the job.

Sleeping on a truck 4 nights a week is rough for a UPS feeder driver

When Graham Jones spoke to BI in August, he said he had already been working with UPS for 10 years and added that he earned about $4,000 weekly as a feeder driver. Jones also shared that UPS feeder drivers deliver packages from major delivery hubs to other warehouses.

"On my route, I'm paired with another driver and we leave on Sunday mornings," Jones said. "We drive from Albuquerque to Louisville, Kentucky; Chicago; Los Angeles; Dallas; and back."

Even though Jones said he was grateful for his job and enjoys being a feeder driver, he said being on the road for five days at a time and driving for 11 to 12 hours a day is tough.

"Sleeping on a truck four nights a week is rough, but I wanted to try it out because it's lucrative," Jones said. "After starting this route in April, I decided I'd rather make $40,000 or $50,000 less yearly and be home more."

Summers in the UPS warehouse can be really difficult

A UPS part-time warehouse worker, who is based in the Southeastern US, said summers in the warehouse could be really difficult.

"It really wears on you to be spending an entire workday in heat like that," the employee, who's been with UPS for 20 years, told BI.

The warehouse worker also said UPS offered heat training, fans, and ice machines, but that workers still needed to look out for one another and watch for signs of danger. In response to this statement, a UPS spokesperson said, "The safety and well-being of every UPSer is our top priority." The spokesperson also said, "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."

Despite the summer difficulties, the warehouse worker said their job was one of the physically easier roles and they made pretty good money.

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