Injured Postal Employees Taken Off The Job

     UPS has a long history of targeting injured workers for special treatment.  They rank problem workers by number of injuries. They give these workers special treatment, they follow them around and watch them. They look for ways to get rid of injured workers who they feel aren’t working safely. 
     UPS even makes workers earn their comp. money for the first month with its TAW (Temporary Alternate Work) program. While UPS regards TAW as a benefit, most workers think of it as punishment. They have even gone so far as to try to reduce or eliminate workers comp. payments to workers they felt had caused their own injuries by not following proper work methods. (That idea took advantage of a little known Colorado law, but fortunately didn’t work out for them.)
     The Post Office has a similar problem but has come up with a program that they hope will get rid of their injured workers. They are taking them off the job and sending them home. They used to try to accomodate injured workers, but now they are not  trying so hard. The new approach works like this:

DENVER (CBS4) ―People are sending less mail and that’s left the U.S Postal Service with a huge deficit and now employees are losing their jobs. Some workers injured on the job say they’ve become targets.

It’s the first-ever layoff at the Postal Service. Although they’re technically not calling it a layoff, it’s a work force reduction that specifically targets workers with work-related injuries.

Postal workers say the layoffs will result in longer lines and reduced services.

Bonnie Holloman started as an automation clerk, but after four years of repetitive motion, she got hurt.

“I got tendonitis, I got a sprained back and sprained knee, and this put me into limited duty,” Holloman asid.

So Holloman moved to the manual unit.

“You take the tray of mail, and each tray holds about 600 pieces of mail, you take each letter and you manually throw it,” she said.

She’s done the job nearly seven years and the repetitive motion caused four ruptured disks in her neck. But she still worked up until Feb. 3.

“They called me into the office and they said, ‘Due to your restrictions we have no work available, so get off the clock and go home.'”

Holloman is one of nearly a 100 postal workers in metro Denver being sent home.

“The Postal Service contends they are running out of money, and in 2006 they rolled out this national reassessment program designed to attack permanently injured employees,” said Gary Scott, Denver metro area local American Postal Workers Union President.

The national reassessment program involves limited duty and permanently injured Postal Service workers hurt on the job. Phase 1 of the program started in 2008. It consisted of reviewing medical records of those employees. Phase 2 rolled out this year. The Postal Service identified what jobs were available at each facility. It then attempted to match the employee with the necessary work, and if there was none, the employee was notified that no work was available.

“It’s not a dismissal, you’re basically sent home until your medical restrictions improve,” Scott said. “The Postal Service hopes you go into disability, retirement, or are permanently assigned to the Department of Labor’s workman’s comp program.”

“I was healthy when I got the job. You can’t break me and then show me the door,” Holloman said.

Holloman wants her job back.

“The work is there, even though it’s not an actual job they say, the work is available because they had to pull me out of a job to tell me there’s no work,” she said.

The postal workers union hopes to get the case in front of an arbitrator within the next year or two. Meanwhile an attorney in Texas is working on putting together a class action lawsuit against the post office.


What Is That Stuff That Trickles Down?

Organizing labor has never been easy, And FedEx knows that if it ever gets easy they will be well equal to UPS.  Here is the way the regulations are, UPS is regulated by the National Labor Relations board, and FedEx is regulated under the Railway Labor Act.  The difference is this, Air Lines and Railroads have a de facto protection against union labor,  collective bargaining contracts have to cover all workers nation wide to help prevent paralysis in the industries because of local strikes.   There are more details HERE from National Public Radio.

Congress is considering changing the status of FedEx, putting them in the same regulatory mix with UPS and other trucking and delivery companies, and making it much easier to organize workers in local terminals.  FedEx does not like this idea at all.  They have launched a multimillion dollar ad campaign to get the change in status out of the FAA renewal bill now in the Senate.  It has already passed the house.

Public Relations Week, says, “Earlier this week, FedEx launched a multimillion-dollar campaign, Brown Bailout, directly attacking its competitor United Parcel Service (UPS) for supporting legislation that could make it easier for some of FedEx’s workers to unionize. FedEx argues that the bill, currently making its way through Congress, is tantamount to a government bailout for UPS, because it would stifle competition.”  You can read that story, if you register, HERE.  UPS on the other hand says that FedEx has an unfair competitive advantage.  It seems clear they do, since UPS employees have very widespread collective bargaining agreements, along with the resultant Higher Wages, Better Working Conditions, Better Health Care Coverage, Better, fully funded, Retirement Plans, and all the other benefits that go with Union Representation.

An Article in Business Week echos that, and shows the difference in the profitability of Each company.  FedEx earned 182 million dollars on revenues of 8.14 billion.  UPS earned  718 million on revenues of 10.9 billion.  This is NOT a mistake.  FedEx had a profit of 182 million dollars on 8.14 billion dollars in revenue with a labor force that is non union, earns less than UPS workers, and UPS made 718 Million on 10.9 billion with almost full unionization.  For every 49 dollars FedEx earned on their revenue, UPS earned 59.  And, the Union Company did more business.

I am having a REALLY TOUGH TIME BELIEVING THIS. But it was published in Business Week, and they have a better reputation these days than the Wall Street Journal.  The Business Week article is HERE.  It is hard to believe for a very simple reason, I have been told, since I was old enough to read the newspapers, that unions are bad for business.

But that is not the issue here.

The issue here is should FedEx Continue to enjoy a special status designed to avoid disruptions in rail and air travel or should they play on the same field as their competitors, including UPS and other regional, national and international package delivery companies.

The FedEx Ad Campaign is going to tell you NO…they should be treated the same way the airlines are.
Karl Leuba

Does UPS Have a Moral Obligation??

     UPS has a long history of not revealing to future employers the reasons that caused them to terminate an employee. That works to your advantage if you get fired, because all potential employers are in the dark as to why or under what circumstances you left UPS.    
     It’s interesting to note here that when UPS is threatening to fire you they will tell you that they will “tell all” and prevent you from ever getting another good job if you don’t just sign off and quit. But that’s not true. In reality, they only give the dates that you were employed and nothing else. NOTHING.
     While that works to your advantage if you get canned, it works to the disadvantage of the general public, as seen in this case of Johnson VS United Parcel Service. Read the brief analysis of the case and you be the judge.
     Is UPS’s silence a wise policy or are they simply passing their problems on to others?

                                         JOHNSON v. UNITED PARCEL SERVICE, INC

Larry Demond Johnson was employed by Kroger Limited Partnership I at a Kroger Distribution Center. In June of 2005, Kroger hired Raymal Rivers. Rivers and Johnson worked together at the Distribution Center. On May 27, 2006, Rivers and Johnson, accompanied by several other employees, left the Distribution Center during their lunch break to eat at a nearby McDonalds. During the lunch, an argument broke out between Johnson and Rivers. At some point, Rivers left the parking lot of the McDonalds to retrieve a firearm from his vehicle, after which point he returned, shot, and fatally wounded Johnson.

Before working for Kroger, Rivers had been employed by UPS from June 2000 until 2004. While employed by UPS, Rivers displayed aggressive behavior on numerous occasions. On February 27, 2004, Rivers threatened a coworker, James Beasley, who then reported the incident to management. Rivers also engaged in other aggressive behavior, such as making threats to co-workers in the parking lot and waiting in the parking lot for employees to leave. He also reportedly followed female co-workers to their cars. The co-workers reported these incidents to members of management and security at UPS. On March 10, 2004, UPS held a disciplinary hearing regarding these allegations against Rivers. Rivers was reassigned to a new work area and ordered to attend anger management classes. He was later terminated from UPS.

Some time after being fired by UPS, Rivers applied for employment with Kroger. On his application for employment, he listed UPS as a previous employer. Kroger called UPS to obtain verification and for a reference check. The Estate alleges that UPS verified only the dates of employment and the title of the position Rivers held.

Kroger thereafter hired Rivers to work at the Distribution Center where Johnson worked. After Johnson was killed, his Estate brought the present action in Jefferson Circuit Court, claiming, among other things, that UPS was negligent in its referral and failure to warn Kroger and that UPS was negligent in its performance of the duty it undertook and in its misrepresentation of Rivers.

What do you think?
Does UPS have a responsibility to warn a future employer of a potentially violent ex-employee?

UPS Faces Class Action on Fuel Charges

     DENVER (CN) – A federal RICO class action claims that United Parcel Service for years has charged customers a premium to ship packages by air while actually shipping them by truck to save money on fuel and add to its bottom line. The class claims the “Air-In-Ground program” has earned UPS “hundreds of millions of dollars” in ill-gotten gains since 1995. 
Getting loaded     The class claims that UPS charges fuel surcharges for air shipping even if it ships the packages by truck.
     UPS denied the allegations and said the lawsuit is “baseless.”
     “Every package we send is transported in some part by ground,” said Susan Rosenberg, a UPS spokeswoman in Atlanta.
     Rosenberg said the company’s standard service contract states that UPS “reserves the right to use any mode of transportation,” and that pricing for package delivery is based not on mode of delivery but on the “service level.”
     But Arapahoe Hyundai’s complaint states that, compared to air shipment, shipping by ground “constitutes a materially different level of service.” Shipping by air costs two to three times more than shipping by ground, according to the complaint.
     “When a customer selects the level of service (air or ground) for his package, he does not know that UPS has already pre-determined whether his air package will actually be shipped by air or ground,” the complaint states. “UPS does not tell the customer his air package will be shipped by ground or that he will be paying a higher price for a level of service he will not receive.”
     Rosenberg says that the company has been “very openly talking about shifting some packages from air to ground” to minimize its carbon footprint. She said on Thursday that the company had not yet been served with the lawsuit but contests the charges.
     Arapahoe Hyundai seeks damages for breach of contract, fraudulent inducement, fraudulent nondisclosure, intentional misrepresentation and other charges.
     It seeks treble damages, an injunction and restitution.
     It is represented by Kirk Tresemer with Irwin & Boesen in Denver. 
Courthouse News Service

Who Is He Kidding?

Who is UPS CEO Scott Davis kidding?

In this recent video, Mr. Davis claims that the United States leads the world in exports.

Say what?

In this
US government report by the CIA, the European Union was ranked first, China second and Germany third. The US ranked 4th based on 2009 estimates.

And it was
reported earlier this year with some fanfare that China had in fact taken over the number one spot. China is now the world’s leading exporter of manufactured goods.

I don’t think this comes as a surprise to anyone, except maybe Scott Davis.

Fifth-generation Device for UPS Drivers

DIAD VThe handheld device that UPS drivers use as the primary tool of their trade is getting smaller and smarter. It could soon be as small as a fancy remote control.

UPS and Honeywell International announced Wednesday they are creating a new device – called the DIAD V, or Delivery Information Acquisition Device, fifth-generation.

Brown-clad drivers use the DIADs to scan packages on pick-up, track them during transit and confirm delivery. The devices also have route maps and can send messages to redirect drivers. FedEx drivers use a similar device.

Next year, after testing is completed, 100,000 devices will begin to hit the streets worldwide. The primary improvement is a new microprocessor that can support video, a camera and a navigation system. The camera could be used to confirm delivery or the condition of a package, UPS said.

It’s the first time Honeywell, the Morris Township, N.J.-based technology company, will create a DIAD for UPS. Three previous devices were made by Motorola, and the most recent one, the DIAD IV, was made by Symbol Technologies, a company Motorola has since bought, UPS spokeswoman Donna Longino said.

Sandy Springs-based UPS was the first shipping company to give a sophisticated technology to their drivers back in 1991, said Longino. The first devices were the size of a clipboard, she said.

The devices that will be deployed next year will weigh only 1.3 pounds and measure 3.5 inches across, about half the size of what’s in the field now, she said.

UPS spent about $22 million to develop the DIAD IV that is currently in use, Longino said. She would not reveal the cost to develop and deploy the newest version.

Doug Caldwell, a principal with, an Oregon-based small package consultancy, said delivery is where things tend to go wrong in the package delivery business.

So the better the quality of the technology certainly leads to a better delivery which is the make-or-break situation for individual package delivery.”
The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

Pilots Face Concessions or Layoffs

In a move that underlines the company’s need for “belt-tightening” in a gradually-recovering economy, the world’s leading package delivery shipper, the Atlanta-based United Parcel Service Inc. (UPS), intends laying-off as least 300 pilots.

Hard landing The proposed lay-offs – which will comprise nearly 11 percent of UPS’ 2,800 pilots – will take effect in May, in case the company, in consultation with its employees union, fails to work out a way to increase its savings.

Already in the process of slashing 1,800 small-package jobs in US operating districts, UPS averted the pilot layoffs last year, largely because it was working jointly with the Independent Pilots Association to identify ways to reduce its operating costs. An agreement for $131 million in labor concessions over a three-year period had forestalled the layoff situation last year.

If the talks come to a naught, the pilots to be furloughed will be intimated in May, and 170 of them will likely be laid-off this year alone.

Commenting on the company’s need to take the pilot layoff route, UPS Airlines President Bob Lekites said: “Even though the economy has begun to turn around, UPS anticipates a very gradual recovery and a continued need for belt-tightening.” Lekites added that the layoff is “a painful decision for our people, but one that is right for the on-going health of our business.”

UPS Engineer Joins Picketing, Quits

                                         Here is a story from 2008 that just begs to be repeated.

    When employees conduct informational picketing, they hope to raise public awareness of their workplace problems and send a message to the employer.
    But a Thursday march involving about 50 ASTAR Air Cargo pilots outside UPS’s Atlanta headquarters reached different eyes: A UPS software engineer on lunch decided to join the protest and, after leaving the picket line, resigned on the spot when approached back at work by two security workers and two Human Resources staffers.
    Tony Bordoli said by phone Friday he came upon the picketing while walking with a friend, and was touched when he saw a big sign on a vehicle that said the proposed UPS-DHL deal could devastate 10,000 families.
    “It affected me and there was something I knew that I could do about it, so I did. And I took a stance against an unethical action by my company. It’s probably not going to change things. I know I’m one person but it may slow it down,” Bordoli mused.
    Bordoli said his work was not related to the proposed contract, but that as a UPS software engineer in a financial office, he created programs that produced detailed analysis reports regarding which workers should have their hours cut.
    “I just felt I was really being used as a tool to devastate families and communities, and it was just simple. I mean, how could I not put the two together? I’m not going to be used as a tool to devastate families and communities anymore. I can’t conscientiously be a part of that,” said the 36-year-old Bordoli, who had worked at UPS for 10-plus years.
    In a way, the picketing indirectly woke me up,” he feels.
    He had been working on his current project for the past four months, said Bordoli, and had gotten to the “second plot point, if you will.”
    “It’s a big burden off my mind and off my back,” he said Friday concerning his decision to quit UPS. “Because I was feeling very conflicted with this particular project to begin with.”
    On Thursday evening, after joining the ranks of the unemployed, Bordoli did some research on the DHL-UPS deal and about the picketing ASTAR pilots in an attempt “to get more educated in what exactly I had chosen to do,” he chuckled.
    “And that’s when I was reassured that I was making the right decision,” he said.
    “This was by no means premeditated. I just went by my conscience when I saw the picketing, and the information of the families being devastated. It dawned on me that what I was doing by my actions, you know by my involvement, I wasn’t that far from that, you understand.”
    Bordoli said it may sound like a rash act and he admitted he did “get a little harshness this morning from my father.”
    “This time, I’ll pick a better company,” Bordoli said. “One that actually exercises proper social responsibility.”
    When he joined the picketing with the pilots, all in their pilots uniform, the picketers started asking him who he worked for?
    “I said UPS, and everyone, it was like a cheer moment,” he said.
    Later he told Human Resources staff and security in the stairwell that he was tendering his resignation, and let fall his UPS identification badge to the floor in protest.
    “I wish the cause well, because I have a family. You know, my family won’t be devastated from this because in the Atlanta area, I have marketable enough skills to quickly recover. So, I’m not worried about myself in particular. But I know things in our breadbasket up in Ohio, those guys are going through a lot more than I am. I’m actually fortunate,” said Bordoli.
    UPS spokesman Norman Black said Friday it is company policy not to publicly discuss individual personnel matters.

More Brad Brown

[Author’s note: I worked for UPS Corporate for about 2.5 years from 2005 to 2007. I made a lot of observations while working there. I thought I’d share them here in a series of never-ending articles. If I end up being assassinated for writing this article, I’ll leave the evidence in that place I left that thing that time before.

  1. The people who handle your packages are known internally as “throwers.”
  2. A UPS driver makes only left-handed turns, unless he’s stopping by to have sex with your wife – then any turn, left or right, is fair game.
  3. UPS owns the patent to the color Pullman Brown. Any use of this color by anyone else is strictly prohibited.
  4. Jim Casey, the UPS founder, got his start by delivering heroin to drug addicts, and by tailing people. Of course, in those days, it was all perfectly legal. Today, we would frown upon his shady shenanigans.
  5. Each year, UPS displays a United Way fundraising progress meter on the wall of the entrance to corporate. Unfortunately, it resembles a giant, engorged penis.
  6. You are allowed to have a maximum of fifteen items on your desk. In the old days, desk patrol would write tickets for disorderly desks. These days, your boss will indicate violations through passive-aggressive behavior.
  7. Tyler Perry, playwright and creator of the character Madea, is a former UPS employee.
  8. UPS is the largest shipper of pornography in the world.
  9. There is a bell in the UPS lobby. The CEO rings it whenever some major event happens, like a layoff or an acquisition. If you (a non-CEO) ring the bell without a corresponding major event, you’re fired.
  10. I wasn’t kidding about the roaches in the coffee machine.
  11. Brad Brown is not Antony Bordoli, but I am jealous of the publicity Antony has received, just for quitting his job.
  12. The frozen body of founder Jim Casey is in a cryogenic chamber in the documentation archive in the basement at corporate headquarters.
  13. It’s illegal to send non-urgent letters via UPS. This allows the United States Postal Service to maintain their postal monopoly for the good of mankind.
  14. UPS employees don’t get discounts on shipping, which is why the majority of UPS employees ship DHL.
  15. UPS employee badges contain RFID tags, which allow the company to track employee movement throughout every corporate-owned building. If you spend more that five minutes per hour in the bathroom, you are severely penalized.
  16. UPS was approached by the producers of the movie “Castaway.” The producers asked if UPS wanted to be the shipping company that would appear in the movie. UPS said “no.” FedEx said “yes.” The movie grossed 483 million dollars.
  17. Some guy (we’ll call him Dick) retired after 35 years. Dick took a celebratory vacation to Hawaii where he promptly died on the fourth hole of his first round of golf after retirement.
  18. When UPS first opened in Germany, they had a hard time attracting customers due to public perception. They finally determined that they weren’t popular with the Germans because the UPS uniforms looked too much like Hitler’s SS uniforms. Today, German delivery drivers wear red unitards.