Can you make $170,000/yr as a UPS driver?
And you get to wear shorts to work and a cool brown outfit!
Everyone wants to be a UPS driver now
$170,000 a year sounds pretty good—and it's motivating other delivery workers, too
By Gabriela Riccardi, Quartz Media
Aug 13, 2023
The United Parcel Service (UPS) may be seeing a whole new rush of job applications, thanks to the new contract its union secured last month. Represented by the Teamsters, UPS workers bargained over better pay, narrowly skirted a mass-scale strike, and reached a five-year deal—one that secured $30 billion in new money for workers. And it’s got a lot of people asking: Wait, should I work for UPS, too?
Online job site Indeed reported that it saw a 50% spike in searches for UPS jobs in the week after the Teamsters touted the “historic” deal. Part of that deal announcement: Full-time UPS drivers will now make $170,000 in pay and benefits. Google searches for “UPS driver jobs near me” trended. Meanwhile, general searches for “delivery driver” didn’t see similar spikes on Indeed, according to the company, indicating it’s a UPS-specific phenomenon.
Over on Brown Cafe, a forum for UPS drivers, current employees are remarking that people are coming up to them asking how to become one. “Any of you guys getting people coming out of the woodwork now that ‘$49 an hour’ has been plastered all over the media?” one user writes. “This is the third person that’s come up to me about our wages.”
That surge in interest is also reaching the delivery service. “We have seen strong interest in UPS jobs as a result of media coverage of the tentative agreement with the Teamsters,” Jim Mayer, a spokesperson at UPS, told Bloomberg News in a statement.
There are some misconceptions about the $170,000 paycheck, though: Drivers don’t actually make that full salary right away. They first have to work in package loading, which is often a part-time gig; once they move up into driving, they’ll start at the bottom, with routes that include more stops and heavier packages.
Meanwhile, truck drivers are out of work at Yellow
There’s another factor in the heightened interest over UPS jobs, too: the shutdown of one of America’s largest trucking companies, Tennessee-based Yellow, which ceased operations on July 30 and filed for bankruptcy over the weekend.
As recently as last year, the nearly century-old trucker was a $5.2 billion business delivering 50,000 packages a day. With its collapse, about 30,000 jobs have been eliminated, culminating in the largest mass layoff by a single employer since Boeing made similar cuts in late 2020. Many of those jobs include truck drivers now in need of a new gig.
UPS’s contract deal is inspiring other delivery workers, too
Even though new workers need to rise through the ranks to reach it, UPS’s pay is far better than that of its counterparts at FedEx and Amazon, which aren’t represented by unions—yet. But the victory is inspiring organizing there, too.
At Amazon, at least, UPS workers’ wins have warehouse workers demanding more. “Everybody’s jaw dropped” when they heard that UPS night shift employees in Philadelphia won an immediate raise to $24.75 per hour, Amazon warehouse worker Paul Blundell told Labor Notes. With the company expected to make pay adjustments in the fall, employees are hoping to use UPS’s gains to make the case that they’re comparatively underpaid.