UPS opens huge automated warehouse, where robots outnumber people 15 to 1

UPS Velocity warehouse in Louisville, Kentucky. [Photo: UPS Media]

United Parcel Service opened a new, technologically advanced warehouse last week. The 900,000 square foot facility, the company’s largest, will operate with over 3,000 robots doing the heavy lifting. The warehouse will initially employ 200 workers, but that number may eventually grow to 500. All of them are non-union jobs.

The warehouse is located on the outskirts of Louisville, Kentucky, the location of the company’s all-points international air hub Worldport, which employs roughly 12,500 workers. All told, UPS employs about 25,000 people in the Louisville area.

The opening of the new warehouse, called UPS Velocity, comes on the heels of the sellout contract passed last August. Hailed as “the most lucrative agreement” ever negotiated by the Teamsters at UPS, the contract contains no protections against jobs lost to robots and AI.

As reported by the World Socialist Web Site, UPS plans to reduce its 140,000 part-time employees in sortation centers through automation. Experts estimate this will save UPS $3 billion a year in labor costs.