Tech Workers React to $170k UPS Deal With Anger, Admiration
August 9, 2023
The average UPS driver could get $170,000 in pay and benefits in five years’ time in a new contract.
Tech workers said the boost could make UPS driver pay competitive with tech salaries.
Some tech workers said they feel “underpaid” in comparison and others pointed out UPS drivers have difficult jobs.
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The average UPS driver could get six-figure pay under a new contract, and tech workers have mixed feelings about it.
During an earnings call on Tuesday, UPS CEO Carol Tomé said that by the end of its five-year contract with the Teamsters union, the average full-time UPS driver would make about $170,000 in annual pay and benefits, such as healthcare and pension benefits. The comments were made after UPS came to a tentative agreement to head off a potential strike last month with the Teamsters, the union that represents around 340,000 UPS delivery drivers and package handlers. The agreement has yet to be officially approved by union members, but the results of a vote on the issue will be announced later this month.
Some tech workers on social media pointed out the salary boost could make the drivers’ salaries more competitive with white collar employees — and big tech workers responded with a mix of ire and appreciation for the union.
“This is disappointing, how is possible that a driver makes much more than average Engineer in R&D?” a worker at the autonomous trucking company TuSimple wrote on Blind, an anonymous jop-posting site that verifies users’ employment using their company email. “To get a base salary of $170k you know you need to work hard as an Engineer, this sucks.”
It is important to note that the $170,000 figure represents the entire value of the UPS package, including benefits and does not represent the base salary. Currently, UPS drivers make an average of around $95,000 per year with an additional $50,000 in benefits, according to the company. The average median salary for an engineer in the US is $103,845 with a base pay of about $91,958, according to Glassdoor. And TuSimple research engineers can make between $161,000 to $250,000 in compensation, Glassdoor data shows.
Other tech workers on Blind expressed a similar level of discontent. Insider did not independently verify the users’ identities.
“I’m not demeaning other people but putting into perspective how much it takes for a swe or finance person to make that kind of money!!” a worker at the healthcare services company Centene wrote in a separate Blind thread.
Meanwhile, several workers, including a Meta worker, argued that software engineers are “underpaid.” The TuSimple worker said “the engineers that created that truck he drives are more important because the impact to society is higher, including providing a tool for work.”
“$300k in the bay is like $90k in most of the country tho,” a Microsoft worker said on Blind. “The drivers are making it in LCOL,” they said referring to “low cost of living” areas.
While some workers on Blind argued that UPS will pay its drivers more than its software engineers, data from Glassdoor indicates software engineers at the company make between $111,000 and $168,000 — a figure that is likely to increase in five years time when the average UPS driver package hits $170,000.
‘What they do is important work’
Despite some tech workers’ resentment, many workers pointed out UPS drivers work under difficult conditions.
“Stop behaving like an elitist!” an Amazon worker wrote on Blind. “Why do you [think] someone driving long haul should make less than an engineer? What they do is important work. How do you think the grocery stores get stocked or your favorite stores? It’s these long haul drivers risking their lives driving 12 hour days sometimes in harsh weather.”
Other people in tech challenged workers to consider what it would be like to take on the demanding role of a driver at UPS. Insider previously reported that UPS drivers are required to be extremely active on the job, lift and organize heavy packages, and have faced issues with working in extreme heat. UPS workers often must work holiday shifts, which are known for being grueling as package volume increases.
“I’d love for you to meet my dad who has delivered for UPS for over 35 years, hauls 100s of packages in the 105+ degree Texas heat, is literally Santa Claus in Dec, and does it for 9+ hours a day at 67 yo,” Claire Vo, the chief product officer at Color, wrote on X, the platform formerly known as Twitter.
“Have fun not being allowed to take any PTO between the week of thanksgiving and new years,” another worker wrote on Fishbowl.
On Tuesday, Bloomberg reported that the company had an over 50% uptick in the number of people searching for jobs at UPS after the tentative agreement was announced. Though, the publication noted new employees would have to work their way up to the role of UPS driver as the company requires its workers to first put in time working inside its warehouses.