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For nearly 100 years drivers at UPS Inc. have been known around the world by their brown uniforms. Now comes a newly designed uniform, and, yes, the iconic brown remains.
UPS said Sept. 18 the biggest change is the fabric the uniforms are made of in order to keep drivers comfortable. The uniforms will offer improved stretch to improve drivers’ range of motion and include a reflective logo to improve their safety.
The last major change came nearly 30 years ago when UPS added the option of drivers wearing shorts.
The Atlanta-based company said its drivers have long been considered “industrial athletes” and these new uniforms will complement the men and women who drive the delivery trucks.
“UPS is in the midst of a companywide transformation, and a significant part of that effort involves a cultural and brand shift that embraces innovation, speed and relevance,” Chief Marketing Officer Kevin Warren said. “Our new uniforms have a more contemporary look consistent with the company’s ongoing transformation efforts.”
Among the changes for the garments worn by the 125,000 drivers around the globe:
• A new pullover polo-style shirt with a three-button collar, made from a performance micro pique fabric that wicks moisture, is breathable and enhances employee comfort in warm temperatures. “This shirt will be available in a short-sleeved version, and for the first time, includes color blocking on the sides,” the company said.
• UPS brand marks on the front and back of the shirt will be embedded with reflective technology to make drivers significantly more visible in poor light conditions. The reflective stripes are being added to the shirt sleeves as well as the winter cap.
• The new pants are made with stretch twill fabric, along with a lower waist and more modern fit.
• A baseball-style hat is also made of moisture-wicking, heat-regulating mesh material, as opposed to plastic. Also, a wide-brimmed hat for additional protection from the sun is available.
“This is a big improvement,” said 29-year Hialeah, Fla., delivery driver Mark Monroe. He was one of about 100 drivers in 30 locations who participated in months of testing of the new uniform options. “I’d give it a 10-plus, plus!”
Monroe said the comfortable fabric makes a “huge difference compared to the old uniform.”
The new shirts and hats will continue to include UPS’ Circle of Honor patch, first added to uniforms a decade ago. It honors drivers who have reached the milestone of 25 years of safe driving.
Juan Constante, another Hialeah-based driver who has been with UPS for 31 years, added: “There’s nothing wrong with going out there, doing a good job and looking good while you’re doing it. Two thumbs up!”
UPS said creating the new uniforms will take nearly 4 million yards of material and 2 million yards of thread — brown, of course — for the 375,000 hats, 405,000 shirts, 375,000 pairs of trousers and 290,000 pairs of shorts issued to UPS drivers.
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As drivers begin getting the new uniforms, UPS said the old uniform pieces will be recycled, keeping that fabric out of landfills.
Also, if drivers want to keep wearing the older shirt, known as the “shirt-jack” with a squared off bottom, worn untucked, they can.
UPS ranks No. 1 on the Transport Topics Top 100 list of the largest for-hire carriers in North America.