Episode 4: Inside the Two-Tier: A Cancer in the Union

0:00 / 37:11
March 16, 2023

Justin Alo looks and sounds like your friendly, everyday UPS delivery driver in San Marcos, California. He drives the brown package truck, he wears the brown uniform, and he delivers, well, packages.

But there are some key differences between him and other drivers. For example, he makes substantially less money per hour, he has fewer job protections, and he has to work on Saturdays. In other words, he's performing equal work but for unequal pay and benefits. That's what they call the "two-tier" at United Parcel Service.

In this episode of The Upsurge, we explore what it's like to be the face of UPS: a package car delivery driver. We cover the highs and lows of the job, including UPS's hyper surveillance of drivers, and the shocking lack of AC in package trucks.

But in particular, we unpack the second tier driver position: the "22.4." We spoke to drivers from California, Illinois, New York, Kentucky and Georgia to learn why the two-tier is so central to this year's contract fight – and why tiered work in general is a cancer for all unions. Hear how Teamsters are organizing their younger members to abolish the two-tier once and for all.


Hosted by Teddy Ostrow

Edited by Teddy Ostrow

Produced by NYGP & Ruby Walsh

Music by Casey Gallagher, Jahzzar & Xylo-Ziko.

Cover art by Devlin Claro Resetar

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The perspectives shared in this episode do not necessarily represent those of the workers' union leaderships. All opinions are the workers' own.

Clip from the "Safety Not Surveillance" rally was courtesy of Alex Moore.