UPS is forcing injured workers back on the job and threatening workers who complain. We spoke with veteran UPS employees terminated due to a workplace injury. They revealed a culture of abuse and retaliation for workplace injuries.
UPS workers lift heavy packages and enter delivery vans 150 to 200 times each day, leading to rampant workplace injuries. When workers get injured on the job, the company sends them to Concentra, a major occupational health chain that contracts with corporations. Workers say that Concentra helps UPS instead of workers — forcing workers back on the job as quickly as possible, rather than helping them heal.
What happens when workers seek out alternative care? UPS’s insurance provider Liberty Mutual stalks them.
“They had a risk management person call me like every other month to find out if I had appointments scheduled. I would tell them the dates, and then lo and behold, I’d have somebody following me to appointments,” says Demetrios Gonis. Demetrios worked for UPS for over 15 years when his back gave out.
Other workers told us similar stories. Vinnie Perrone had worked at UPS for 23 years when his knee got smashed by a 50-pound package. He reported the injury and was out for nine weeks. UPS refused to pay him worker’s comp. When he got back, they fired him. A judge soon gave him his job back and admonished UPS.
In 2016, UPS worker Tom Schneider herniated a disc. Concentra, the medical center paid by UPS, said he was fine. Liberty Mutual refused to pay for MRIs, painkillers, or care. It took many court orders to get help. Five years and three surgeries later, Tom is permanently disabled.
Robert McNeil injured his elbow while delivering packages last July. He could barely move it, let alone pull his emergency brake. UPS told him to keep working, even after his manager saw the injury. Then Liberty Mutual fought him on prescribed physical therapy for seven months.
The workers are unionized with Teamsters 804 Local.