Antonio Santana, UPS Driver & Frontline Hero

Antonio Santana has worked for UPS for 20 years and is a proud member of Teamsters Local 25. During the COVID19 crisis, Antonio and his teammates have been working unprecedented schedules and have been fighting for their safety and rights. Antonio shares his story with us as part of the Greater Boston Labor Council's #FrontlineHeroes series. Our series profiles the work of union members and everyday heroes who are working throughout this global pandemic. To read other Frontline Hero stories, click here: https://gblc.us/tag/frontline-heroes.

Antonio has been a driver for UPS and member of Teamsters Local 25 for 20 years. He likens driving during the COVID-19 pandemic to an endless Christmas season rush because he’s now driving 12-13 hours a day, sometimes 6 days per week. “ It's been rough,” Antonio reflects. “We're risking our lives working right now. But when I'm out there bringing medicine to older people, it makes me feel good because I’m doing something to help.”

After an initial panic about safety and work hours when three members tested positive for COVID-19, Teamsters Local 25 shop stewards helped Antonio and his unit get the masks, gloves and truck sanitation they desperately need. When the management tried to force one of Antonio’s coworkers to work with COVID symptoms, the union spoke up and said no and then made sure that anyone in quarantine was still receiving full pay and benefits. “The union has our back 24/7.”

Antonio knows that his wife, 7 year old daughter and 3 and 5 year old sons are scared for his safety. “My daughter is old enough to be worried. She says, ‘I hope papi is ok.’” But Antonio feels much more safe at work now and is thankful for the protections he and his coworkers fought for at the beginning of the pandemic. Even though his wife might still sometimes cry when she worries about Antonio at work, he reminds her that, “We are essential workers and we need to make this sacrifice.”