The UPS aircraft mechanics union, Teamsters Local 2727, has filed for injunctive relief, alleging that the company has repeatedly “failed to protect workers’ safety on the job,” according to a Teamsters notice. The request is under review at the U.S. District Court’s Western District of Kentucky.
The request calls on UPS to immediately halt the use of more than 100 lifts that are reported to have collapsed on multiple occasions. The lifts in question rise 25 feet from the ground, and are manufactured by Phoenix. The Teamster’s complaint states: “All employees who work on the damaged lifts face an imminent risk of severe injury or death.”
UPS denied the accusation, and in turn accused the Local 2727 of “grossly exaggerated claims.” UPS spokesman Mike Mangeot told the media that the U.S.-based integrator places, “the highest emphasis on the safety of our people, equipment and facilities. Our operations meet, and often exceed federal safety standards.” UPS also accused the union of misrepresenting reality in order to influence contract negotiations.
Earlier this month, a 19-foot lift collapsed while a member of Local 2727 was working on a 767. According to Courier Journal, the union responded to the lift failure by demanding that all lifts of the model in question be removed from service, pending inspection. Of the inspected lifts, 13 had cracked scissor frames, and six were removed from service, according to Local 2727 president Tim Boyle. “It’s evident these lifts have inherent design flaws, and the company is placing operational needs over the safety of our members,” he added.
Faulty lifts aren’t the only complaint raised by the union, which also filed complaints with OSHA.
The union’s notice also criticized working conditions, which they said “include moldy, rotten floors, exposed wiring, a leaking roof and raccoons that have fallen through the ceiling.” The complaint states that mechanical staff is “entitled to working conditions that do not pose a risk of harm.”