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UPS workers call for more sanitizing efforts while working through coronavirus pandemic

Posted: 2:59 PM, Mar 24, 2020
Updated: 2020-03-24 20:51:31-04
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TAMPA, Fla. — A handful of people lined up along the road at 50th St. and Acline Dr. Tuesday, demanding more action from UPS to keep workers sanitized while on the job.

Gary Neeld, 66, was among those holding signs for drivers passing by to see just down the road from a UPS facility.

"For my health. I'm the oldest man in the building," he said.

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The group said they're concerned about any possible exposure to the Coronavirus.

"We need to see some action, talk is cheap, we need the product, we need to be safe. We’re one of the businesses that will not be shut down since we ship medication to older people, anybody for that matter, so we’re one of the businesses that will stay open for shipping," Neeld said.

Their requests are for supplies.

"What we’re asking for is really just gloves and hand sanitizer," said Elizabeth Kramer.

"We’re handling these packages next day air often times that are coming from parts of the world parts of the country where this virus exists, and we just don’t have protection to take care of it," said Bill Aiman, also demonstrating.

A spokesperson for UPS said employees have been provided protective equipment in Tampa, and that items are distributed according to employees' needs and assignments. The company is replenish existing inventory.

"UPS fully recognizes the importance of our employees’ health and well-being. The ongoing health of our employees is essential for UPS to play the critical role it must now fulfill to keep the economy moving and our communities served. UPS has provided ongoing support to employees to manage health risks. We have shared hygiene protocols and social distancing information in line with the CDC’s guidance. We have substantially increased cleaning and disinfecting surfaces throughout our facilities. Our vehicles and equipment are cleaned and disinfected daily with an emphasis on the interiors, and frequent exterior touch points. We have distributed protective equipment to employees. We are in the process of distributing an additional 250,000 bottles of hand sanitizer and replenishing our other supplies including gloves and cleaning materials regularly throughout our 2200 facility U.S. network," Steve Gaut, the vice president of public relations for UPS, said in a statement.

They also are recommending everyone follow hand washing protocols and CDC guidelines.

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“We respect our employees’ right to assemble but note that many health officials are encouraging people to maintain social distancing, and ensure they are making healthy choices for themselves, their families and their communities. A group protest is unnecessary. We understand the requests being made and are meeting them," the statement continued.

Kramer said they met with company officials and were told more supplies are on the way, but their concerns were not eased.

"They told us just last week we’d be getting hand sanitizer, and I didn’t see any in that building other than what people brought personally," said Kramer.

"I think it’s a good thing that’s what we need is gloves and hand sanitizers but I guess my issue is one we haven’t gotten it, yet it’s just been talk and in my opinion actions speak louder than words," said Aiman.