By Nélida Tello
Tribune of the People spoke to a FedEx package handler who unloads packages, out of trucks that arrive at the distribution center from across the country, and loads them onto trucks to be delivered throughout Austin.
Employees at the Austin FedEx Ground center have not received their peak-season raise despite being weeks into peak season. Management has justified employees not getting the raise due to the company’s investment in the new Kyle, Texas distribution center.
Management has handled the peak-season raise behind closed doors in order to control the anger of employees, and when asked about the raise management simply states they are working on it. However, the worker correspondent told Tribune, instead of giving all the employees the peak-season raise, management is only giving certain employees bonuses.
The worker correspondent also told Tribune that employees are coerced into working full shifts without taking breaks due to fear of packages piling up on their conveyor belts. The only break employees receive during the morning shift is if they clock in before 2 am, when managers stop all conveyor belts for 15 minutes. If employees clock in at 2 am or later, they receive no break during their shift.
On top of not getting regular breaks, employees are also not guarantee a fixed work schedule. The worker correspondent explained to Tribune that employees call in around 4pm to know what time they go in the next day.
Most recently, FedEx opened a large distribution center in Kyle, Texas south of Austin. Before the start of peak season, the company transferred Austin-based employees to Kyle, leaving the Austin FedEx Ground center severely understaffed.
The worker correspondent shared with Tribune that employees were loading 4 to 5 vans to keep up with the volume of packages due to being understaffed. Employees have begun walking off the belts as management fails to listen to their concerns of being overworked and unable to properly complete their tasks. Despite having lax write-up policies during the year, FedEx becomes more strict during peak season. One employee was fired for walking off the job this month, and three employees were written up for being no-call, no-show, something that does not happen outside of peak season.
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