On October 5, a UPS worker took her life on the job at a major sorting hub in Louisville, Kentucky. The incident is reported to have taken place immediately after she was fired for allegedly falling asleep on the job. After learning of her termination, she requested to step away to compose herself in the restroom, and then took her life.
To makes this tragedy even worse, the woman was reportedly in her second trimester of pregnancy. We can only imagine the stress that she was under, very likely not being able to see many other avenues to support herself and her future child if she lost her job.
As tragic as the suicide is, the pressures are all too familiar to many workers, especially those who work for companies like UPS, FedEx, Amazon, and others. Many workers do not make enough to survive on and support their families, which pushes them to work insane amounts of overtime in physically demanding conditions, sacrificing their sleep, bodies, lives, and sanity. In addition, the threat of termination is dangled over their heads to enforce strict attendance and punctuality policies. And now as the holiday shopping season approaches – what is called “peak season” for delivery workers – all of the pressures intensify both on and off the job. What’s left is a constant state of exhaustion and insecurity that looms over many workers.
The conditions created by companies like UPS push workers to the edge. We cannot continue to sacrifice our lives for this system.