The pilots' union for UPS Worldport in Louisville claims the parcel service offers limited testing for COVID-19 even as a growing number of pilots contract the virus.

Between no more March and late October, UPS union members with the Independent Pilots Association reported 100 installments of COVID-19, however in the final month time has doubled to 200, said Brian Gaudet, public affairs director with the Independent Pilots Association, addressing 3,000 UPS pilots.

Despite an increasing number of transmissions, Louisville's UPS hub is just testing a small number of pilots flying out of Louisville on international flights, not inbound or domestic flights, he explained.

The Independent Pilots Association shared an email with WFPL News from UPS in November that explicitly states the company expanded testing to pilots only for outgoing international flights. To qualify, UPS employees had to be within Twenty four hours of an international trip, according to the email.

Gaudet said Louisville residents should be concerned due to the number of flights coming and going from the city everyday.

“There are 380 flights in and out of Louisville everyday. Now there is testing available just for international pilots, but not inbound pilots who are coming in from flying from all points of America and also the globe,” Gaudet said.

UPS Worldport in Louisville is the largest automated package handling facility in the world, able to handle more than two million packages each day.

Gaudet said the union would like to see UPS pilots tested once they leave their homes and again once they go back to ensure the health and safety of everyone. Additionally, the union want to see UPS offer more consistent contact tracing.

As of now, Gaudet said, if a pilot tests positive, UPS isn't consistently telling another crew on the flight whether or not they should be in quarantine.

In an emailed response from UPS, spokesman Mike Mangeot said the organization discusses “exposure with other employees included in our contact tracing process.”

Mangeot said UPS does provide free, rapid-testing for pilots, but didn't answer multiple follow-up questions about which pilots are tested.

“As a part of UPS's culture of safety, we have gone to tremendous lengths to help keep our pilots safe during the coronavirus pandemic. We have provided our pilots with free, rapid COVID-19 testing and expanded the availability of this testing,” Mangeot said within an email.

UPS declined to verify the amount of positive COVID-19 cases at the Worldport citing medical privacy laws. However, other institutions including businesses and state governments have consistently disclosed similar information without violating medical privacy laws.

In April, KYCIR spoke with UPS employees who said the city's largest private employer violated health guidelines meant to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

The holiday season would normally be the peak season for that parcel service, but Gaudet said pilots have been operating at holiday-peak levels for months due to pandemic-induced demand.

“Our pilots are pleased to do it, they're keeping commerce running for America and also the world, but when they are doing that they are exposed in hotels, dining facilities, airplanes, airports to COVID-19,” he explained.

While UPS does consider its employees “essential workers” it doesn't provide hazard pay, Mangeot said.

The parcel service has paid leave for workers who've been diagnosed as positive with COVID-19 or require quarantine due to an exposure, he said.

The company has also enhanced cleaning measures and provides pilots with facemasks, gloves, hand sanitizer and thermometers, Mangeot said.