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Union calls for shut down of Tucson UPS facility due to COVID-19 outbreak
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Union calls for shut down of Tucson UPS facility due to COVID-19 outbreak

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An Arizona labor union is calling for United Parcel Service to temporarily close its south-side Tucson facility, citing a coronavirus outbreak impacting dozens of employees, officials said.

Teamster Local Union 104, believes at least 36 employees have tested positive for COVID-19, three of which were admitted to intensive care facilities, the organization said in a news release.

The organization says there about 700 employees from Arizona and beyond working at the facility.

This includes workers from Colorado, New Mexico and Utah brought to the facility to “compensate for disruptions related to the outbreak, raising concerns about the possibility of interstate spread,” the news release said.

“UPS workers at the facility are also concerned that the outbreak has transformed the distribution facility into a hub for spreading the virus through Arizona,” the organization said.

UPS and the Arizona Department of Health Services “refused to disclose the extent of the outbreak,” according to the statement.

“Mail delivery and processing workers are on the frontlines of providing essential services that Tucsonans rely on. They are working around the clock to deliver critical products and supplies. Ensuring the health and safety of these workers must be priority #1,” Tucson Mayor Regina Romero said in a Facebook post.

“I stand with Teamsters Local 104 and applaud their efforts to ensure a safe and healthy workplace for UPS workers.”

According to the UPS website, the company says it’s taking precautionary measures at its facilities during the pandemic. Some of those measures include:

• Enhanced cleaning in all our facilities, especially shared equipment.

• Encouraging employees to follow CDC guidelines for hygiene and social distancing.

• Frequent refilling of automatic hand sanitizing stations.

• Providing sanitizing supplies to drivers to keep electronic signature devices  and vehicles clean.

• Cleaning vehicle exteriors and interiors on frequent schedules.

• Providing an emergency paid leave program to any employee affected by the virus.

“UPS workers at the facility and union representatives believe the outbreak could have been avoided if UPS had not refused to follow best practices recommend by leading public health officials,” the news release said.

Contact Star reporter Shaq Davis at 573-4218 or sdavis@tucson.com

On Twitter: @ShaqDavis1

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