The Spark

“The emancipation of the working class will only be achieved by the working class itself.” — Karl Marx

Peak Season Comes to Shipping

Dec 6, 2021

The holidays are here. For anyone working in shipping and package delivery, the last five or six weeks of the year are “Peak Season”—when a big portion of all packages for the year are shipped. With lots of overtime, many workers count on “Peak” to partly make up for low wages the rest of the year. The 30-hour-a-week “part-time” shifts common to this industry get bumped to 70 hours or more during the holiday rush.

The pandemic has meant people are getting more packages delivered than ever. And it’s also created the notorious “labor shortage” in lower-wage work. UPS drivers, who are union and make higher wages, have been much more inclined to stick around than at FedEx. So, UPS has been much better this year about sticking to its delivery times compared to its rival. Even the stock parasites noticed—UPS stock is up, and FedEx’s is down. It’s like they just noticed that worker pay matters.

At FedEx, a shortage of parts means a lot of trucks down for service stay down. So, the company resorts to renting trucks. Rental trucks present a lot of problems for workers. For one, if there’s a mechanical problem, the company mechanics can’t work on them—so you’re S.O.L. And the cabins on rentals are just empty space—they don’t come with a way to organize the packages for delivery. The drivers have to waste time figuring this out on the fly.

All the delivery companies are raking in money by the billions, particularly in Peak Season. As with all profit in this society, they extract these billions out of the sweat of their package handlers and delivery drivers.