Here are some news shorts from the world of UPS.

With more airlines imposing checked bag fees and with security being a burden for travelers, United Parcel Service of America Inc.’s UPS Stores are expanding luggage shipping solutions. The company has introduced three luggage shipping alternatives, including a new luggage box that takes the place of a suitcase, to help reduce the hassles of long lines, security searches and increasing baggage fees. When shipped through UPS Ground service, the luggage box is competitively priced with the airlines’ baggage fees, especially when compared with the major airlines, many of which are charging well over $100 for comparable baggage. Available at select UPS Store locations only, the luggage box comes in two sizes, large and small, has a handle for easy carrying and is made of recyclable corrugate. Because it weighs less than an empty suitcase, packing directly into the box can help lower shipping costs. Travelers also can include packaging tape and a return UPS shipping label for use when returning home. Portland Business Journal

Westmoreland County jurors set free a United Parcel Service deliveryman on Monday, finding him not guilty of the murder of his wife last year in Arnold. The jury deliberated more than 3 hours last night before acquitting David Eugene Clarke, who was on trial for the Jan. 17, 2009, death of his 40-year-old wife, Doreena. The 42-year-old Clarke, who had been in jail since his arrest just three days after his wife’s death, was to be released from jail last night, according to defense attorney Dan Joseph. Had he been found guilty of first-degree murder, Clarke would have faced a mandatory sentence of life in prison without the possibility of parole. Pittsburgh Tribune-Review

Atlanta, Georgia-based package delivery company United Parcel Service, Inc.  Monday said it appointed George Brooks as president of the company’s new and expanded Central Region, directing small package operations in an area that covers all or parts of eighteen states. Brooks most recently served as president of UPS’s North Central Region. RTT News  (Most Denver drivers remember George Brooks, a former Distr. Mgr based at the Denver Commerce City building)

OAKLAND — A man who first asked about missing keys robbed the Lucky supermarket in Montclair on Monday night of an undisclosed amount of cash, police said. Police said a man wearing brown clothing similar to that of a United Parcel Service deliveryman first asked a clerk about some keys he claimed to have lost at the store. Another employee brought some keys to the checkout stand, and the man said they were not his. He then followed the other employee back to an office, pointed a gun at her and demanded money, police said. He fled with an undetermined amount of cash.

The conflict between state and federal laws over the legality of medical marijuana is forcing some law enforcement officers to take on the unwelcome duty of delivering pot that caregivers attempt to ship through a parcel service. Over the past year, the Billings Police Department has received an increasing number of calls from FedEx and UPS workers who discover packages containing what appears to be legal medical marijuana. A police investigator must then pick up the package, make phone calls to determine whether it is a Montana-legal product produced by a “caregiver” who is registered with the state and notify the distributor to retrieve the pot. All that can add up to several hours of police time. Then, the caregiver may not pick up their product, saddling the cops with returning the marijuana to them personally. Billings Gazette

FedEx Corp. won partial dismissal of a class-action lawsuit brought by contract drivers who contend they are entitled to full benefits because the company treats them as employees. A federal judge in South Bend, Indiana, threw out some claims in the suit, saying the workers failed to exhaust out-of- court, administrative procedures that might help them get the medical, dental and retirement benefits they seek. FedEx saves money by using contractors because it doesn’t offer them the same benefits and vacation time as it does for employees. The contractor model gives FedEx’s Ground unit a cost advantage of as much as 30 percent over rival United Parcel Service Inc., University of Pittsburgh business professor Marick Masters has estimated. Bloomberg Businessweek

OSHA has ordered United Parcel Service to pay an Earth City, Mo., truck driver $111,008 in back wages, benefits, compensatory damages, punitive damages, and attorney’s fees, following an investigation conducted under the whistleblower provisions of the Surface Transportation Assistance Act . OSHA’s investigation found the driver had been terminated, by the Atlanta, Ga.-based UPS, after raising safety concerns, and refusing to drive a vehicle, because the lights on its trailer and tractor did not work. The evidence showed the driver had a reasonable apprehension of serious injury to himself and the public. Although the driver notified UPS management of the unsafe conditions, the employer continued to order the unsafe operation of the vehicle. CCH