Politics, The Whacky Terbacky Days of Election

      Here it is. The start of the 2010 Political Season. Many states are holding primaries in the months ahead. Usually primaries are just Assume it's lies first!a side note to the political process, but this year will be a year of turnovers, with so many people, so disgruntled with the incumbents, the primaries will be very telling.
     Ironically having the President’s support has become a negative as much as a help. No one seems all that concerned about getting his recommendation after the fiasco in Massachusetts.     
     On the same note is the Republican fear of the Tea Party. While the Repub candidates want the Tea Party support, they fear they will lose the mainstream Republican, and Right Leaning Independent because of the radical appearance of the Tea Party agenda. 
          Where does that leave all of us in the middle? 
     If you are a conscientious voter, that pays attention to the candidates, and educates yourself on the history of the candidate, you should be able to make an educated choice based on the information you have. If you listen to Faux News or depend on some talk show mouth to make your decision for you, you got trouble. 
     So many of the media outlets, and talking heads, are so agenda driven, the facts they put out will be bent, and twisted, worse than a pretzel, to make the case for their boyscout or girlscout. People are becoming totally desensitized by the constant moral, and ethical smashing these people bring to the airwaves. Of course we know how “moral” these people are, yet we let them convince us of our need to follow them.
     Our country is at a crossroads. Our election process is being given to the large corporations. The average Joe has no chance of ever having a voice in this country again. Freedom of speech will be freedom of speech as long as you agree with the Corporate powers that be. Otherwise you can be taken out, both financially, and literally, with ease.
     I intend to look at the candidates where the money is not. Who are the people “not” taking the PAC money. Who are the people talking directly to the people, not schmoozing the Corporations. Who are the people that care about the people of our country first, not the Corporations with all the contribution money. Listen for words like “small business”, “people’s health and welfare”, “the future of the people”, “jobs”. That is where you can at least begin to find the candidates that will work for you. Of course we know that many “politicians” have a propensity to stretch the truth, or even lie outright to attain the office.
     Good luck in making your decisions, but stay involved. It is the time for involvement, not apathy. Apathy has us where we are today.
                                   Involvement will buy us a better tomorrow!     

Pete and Re-Pete

  Keeping You on Edge>>

     Ever wonder why you never seem to be able to fall into a day to day, hum drum life, as a driver? It seems like you are always under pressure from so many angles when trying to do the job. You think you are getting it done to the boss’s satisfaction, then you get hit from some other angle. Not enough lead cards. To many tracers. Production is off by 5 minutes. Driving the vehicle to hard. Not wearing the seatbelt. Not closing the bulkhead door. You’ve certainly heard all of these and many more. 
     The company knows that keeping you on edge and stressed makes you run harder. They know you will hurry up so you can get in and tell them off. They know you go faster to avoid the inevitable tongue lashing, even though you’ll get it anyway. They know you will try harder to please them if they act like the abusive daddy.
     What’s a long time driver to do? Practice stress relief. In your mind separate your actual day to day job of driving from the ass chewing you get in the morning. When you are on the road, perform your job at a steady, even pace. Take time to smile at the customer , and exchange pleasantries. Pet the friendly dog. Notice the beautiful gardens and flowers on your area. Don’t let the job become the high stress, blood pressure raising, mad all of the time, nightmare the company wants it to be. Be sure to request your Union Steward
they want to talk to you.
     Life is to short to live a life of stress. The job can be wonderful. Take pride in what you do. Everyone is glad to see you. You are the answer to many of their problems. The company would have you act as a robot day in and day out. The fact is you are human, and you should treat other people as you would want them to treat you.
     If you’ve ever noticed, the company sells your customer relationships, even if they don’t support it. It’s important to remain professional in what you do, but don’t be afraid to let a little of your personality shine through. Don’t get sucked into the box monster, production whore you see around you. You won’t go the distance. Most of you have long term goals with this job. You are obligated to give a fair days work, for a fair days pay. That fair day does not mean you have to sell your soul to the devil.
     Telematics is designed to steal more of that soul. The whole purpose of the system is to give them something to harass you about, even though you are doing the job. The system allows them to pick any point, and use it against you. The system should be known as Harassamatics. They tell you it’s about safety, and seat belts, and backing. That’s a bunch of crap. It’s all about stealing your break time for their profit, and harassing you into a heightened state of frenzy about your job.
     Run your day like you should. Don’t internalize their harassment. Don’t carry it with you all day.
You will have a long life, and career.

Can You Be Buried in Your UPS Uniform?

Making that last delivery     I have to admit that I’ve been enjoying the dickens out of my retirement. I’ve been retired long enough now (18 months) to get real accustomed to not having to go to work and just waiting for the check to come at the end of the month. I’ve gotten so out of the habit of having any sort of time structure in my life that I decided to get a part time job. 
     Although I drove for UPS for 30 years, I always looked back fondly on the job I had before I put on my first pair of browns. I was florist. Now a florist isn’t the greatest job, it has 5 peak seasons. Valentines Day and Mothers Day being the worst. But I loved my job there, I started out as a driver and worked my way up to designer and even shop manager. But the pay was not the best and I was starting a family, so I took a look at Big Brown and decided to make a career there.
     But now that my career is over at UPS, I’ve gone back to the flower shop as my first post retirement employment. And it’s as much fun today as it was 30 years ago. I’m back where I started, delivering bokays. I work maybe 10 hours a week, usually three 3 hour+ days. It’s a rough schedule. And I crank out maybe 4 stops an hour. I’m not hustling. I stop to smell the roses.
     One of the aspects about floral delivery that most folks don’t think about is that we do a lot of funeral work. I’ve got 6 or 8 mortuaries that I go to. There is always a flower door just for people like me. Most times I just drop off the arrangements in the flower room and sign the log  and I’m on my way. But once in a great while, I’ll be asked to place the flowers in the viewing room.
     Well, last week the inevitable happened. I was asked if I could put the casket spray on the casket. An open casket. Well, I mustered up my best delivery man face and I walked right in there and I did it. It was just me and the mortician and the other guy. When I looked down at the other guy, lo and behold, he was wearing a Teamster jacket. My Local. I had to stare for a second. I couldn’t look away. 
     The mortician finally said something, like can you move it a little closer to the body, and it snapped me out of my trance. I hurried on out of there, but it got me thinking. I wonder if I could be buried in my UPS uniform if I wanted to? I mean after all, I spent 30 years in browns. That’s how most people know me. Strangers could walk into my funeral and say, “Oh yeah, I know that guy!”
     But one thing that came to mind is that that other guy owned his Teamster jacket.  We don’t own tour UPS uniforms. In fact, we are supposed to turn them in when we retire.
     Could I wear a UPS coat after I had “punched out” for the last time? I don’t know, it may not be worth the risk. What if I got caught? Would I be disciplined? The Brown Police are everywhere.
      But then again like I always used to say, “what are they gonna do, fire me?” 

Article by Jim Hansen in Colorado Labor Blog

With some Dem friends, who need enemies?

            The Employee Free Choice Act (EFCA), which would have made it easier to organize workers who want to be union members, is fast becoming a dim memory, with little chance of even being considered this year.

            If it isn’t passed this year, odds are that EFCA will never become law, and major labor law revisions, which would add some balance to labor-management relations, will not be achieved in your lifetime.

            Our federal labor laws have been revised only twice since the Wagner Act, the first comprehensive federal labor law, was passed in 1935, as the Great Depression was winding down.  The two revisions since, the Taft-Hartley Act in 1947 and the Landrum-Griffin Act in 1957, gave huge advantages to employers

            Even when Democrats controlled either both the U.S. House and the Senate, or the White House and both houses of Congress, as they do now, they were unable to achieve passage of any major labor law revisions. Defeats always came when key Democrats voted against the best interests of working families.          

            During the administrations of Presidents Kennedy and Johnson in the 1960s, labor worked diligently to repeal Section 14b of the Taft-Hartley Law.  Section 14b allows states to pass right-to-work laws, onerous measures that prohibit labor and management from negotiating an all-union shop.  Such laws exert downward pressure on workers’ wages and benefits.  Wage earners in right-to-work states earn $5,333 less per year than workers in other states, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

            The U.S. House of Representatives finally passed a bill in 1965 by a vote of 283 to 221 to repeal 14b.  Unfortunately, supporters in the Senate couldn’t break a Republican-sponsored filibuster, which would not have succeeded without the votes of 22 Democratic senators, and the issue was lost.

            In 1976, President Jerry Ford vetoed a “common situs picketing bill” that would have lowered the barriers for unionization of construction workers. The bill was introduced again in 1977, but was voted down in the House 217 to 205 with many Democratic representatives voting against the proposal.

            Organized labor was KO’d again during the administration of Jimmy Carter when a labor law reform bill, which would have leveled the playing field between labor and management during union organizing campaigns, was defeated.  It failed to survive another Republican filibuster, which was bolstered when 17 Democrats vote with the Republican against cloture.

            During Bill Clinton’s first term, an “anti-scab bill” was introduced that would have made it illegal for strikebound employers to permanently replace striking workers.   It passed in the House but was blocked in the Senate by the usual Republican filibuster, in which six Democrats voted with the GOP to ensure defeat of the bill.

            So while Democrats, for the most part, have been passively supportive of labor’s issues, they have refused over the years to provide enough votes to pass legislation that would have been the most meaningful to working families. 

            Instead, they have provided Republicans with key votes to pass tax breaks for corporations and millionaires. They have helped the GOP give tax incentives and loopholes to all manner of businesses, even those, in some cases, that move manufacturing plants out of the country. Democrats have voted for  huge government contracts with corrupt military contractors, such as Blackwater and Haliburton.  Over the years they have cast many votes that have helped Republicans pass legislation that has hurt working men and women.

            Moreover, Democrats have often aided and abetted GOP union busters. Two Democratic votes recently prevented the confirmation of labor lawyer Craig Becker to the National Labor Relations Board.  When George Bush was president, he loaded up the NLRB with corporate types who seldom, if ever, sided with labor in disputes before the board.  In addition, political apathy has allowed employers to circumvent out-of-date federal labor laws for at least 30 years.


            Meanwhile, the wages and benefits of most workers have not kept pace with the growth of their productivity since 1980. For the first time on record, the real incomes of middle-class families actually declined from 2001 to 2007. More than one-third of all income growth since 1989 has gone to the top one-tenth of one percent of all earners, according to the Economic Policy Institute.

              Workers are not getting a fair share of the wealth they helped create.

            And, they’ll never get a fair share as long as Congress refuses to deal with issues like the Employee Free Choice Act, which would be the first revision ever of our nation’s labor laws to right a longstanding wrong.

You can read more at   www.coloradolaborblog.org

TeaBaggers Hope Your Pension Collapses

     I’ve been led by the media to believe that the teabaggers are just common folks like you and me. I thought they were regular joes, blue collar workers who were fed up with big government and big spending. If that’s true, then why wouldn’t they want me to have a pension? Why would they revel in the dream that the Union pensions could go bankrupt in this economy and leave us all without our hard earned retirement funds?
Our new leaders?     In a recent article entitled The Coming Union Pension Plan Collapse  on 73Wire, a teabagger website, the author has no sympathy for the struggles of Union members and their pension plans in the current economy. He blames a lazy Union membership for our own sad state of affairs. He even gives a list of pension plan that are in trouble. But don’t get the rope out yet, the list is skewered to make things look a lot worse than they really are. If you are in any of the listed pension funds, do a little research of your own, write them and ask them if the figures given for your plan are correct. 
     It’s interesting that the article doesn’t vilify corporate backed 401(k) retirement accounts (that also tanked in recent years) but only harpoons defined benefit Union plans. And if you check out the 73Wire teabagger site a little bit more, you will see that they attack Unions in every labor article that they write.        
     That’ s a real shame, because the teabaggers, the common folk , could really benefit from the rewards of strong Unions.  If they really want to grab back the power from the elitist class, be it government or corporations, they would rally behind Union involvement as an avenue to grassroots power. 
     But unfortunately, the teabaggers appear to spew the same rhetoric as the right-wing powermongers. They hate Unions, they don’t want any kind of universal healthcare and they want to see the President fail. These are the same people that could most benefit  from collective bargaining , cheaper healthcare and a strong America.  
     It’s sad, isn’t it.

Telematics, Unintended Consequences 101

    Here is another addition in the long list of unintended consequences of Telematics. Drivers are now bidding routes with the crappy, old vehicles The Most Desired Vehicle in the Fleetbecause they are not equipped with the Telematics transmitters. Any vehicle on the ADA list has not been retrofitted with the Telematics equipment, so the drivers are wanting routes to stay out of “Gods” eye.
     The P-32 is on the short list to be smashed, but the company has been slow to replace them. The company has had a problem finding a direct replacement vehicle the size of a P-32, and therefore has chosen to fix them rather than replace them.
     Of course the idea that the drivers will remain “out of sight” is ridiculous. The sooner a driver gets under Telematics, and trains themselves in the function of the system, the sooner the driver will be at peace with the “Brown World”.
     The days of the “Lord and Master” are here. The dispatch functions are being systematically centralized. Soon the only function of the management people will be “bed check”. In other words, management’s function will be simply to make sure the drivers show up, and deal with the day to day issues of the drivers. One or two sups. can certainly handle those issues in a 60 driver center. That goal is why we are seeing the layoff of management in the current economic times. The overhead of so much management just isn’t needed any longer.
     The driver simply cannot be “replaced” by technology yet!  The driver can be controlled, and managed by technology. Management, on the other hand, can be replaced by technology.
     Over the years I have watched the technological changes, from pen and paper, to the Diad, PAS, and now Telematics. With each change the driver’s fear of company reprisal has increased. Yet the value of a good, solid, day to day driver has quintupled within the company. Until robotics, or virtual delivery can be achieved, that value will continue to rise.
      Keep those ideas in the back of your mind as you go through the day. Listen to your fellow drivers, and do not let the company “fear mongers” scare you. They need you more everyday.
                 By the way, have you put in your management letter yet?
                                                             That’s the quickest way to promote yourself out of a job.

                                   You’re not “just a truckdriver” anymore!
            The Teamsters are more important in your life today, than ever before. Get involved, or get fired.

Why Do Conseratives Hate UPS?

Exports heading overseas      The right-wing think tank, the Heritage Foundation, has found a way to criticize government efforts to increase US exports. Now I would think that exporting more manufactured goods could only be a move in the right direction to get our economy back on track and put people back to work.
     More exports, more manufacturing, more jobs. Sounds good to me and it sounds good for UPS because we fly those goods to other countries. So what could be so bad about increasing exports?

Well, the brainiacs at the Heritage Foundation think it’s too much government. “President Obama’s “Export Cabinet” wants to hire more U.S. Government (USG) bureaucrats “to advocate for U.S. business” and channel more taxpayer dollars into “export promotion activities” at the U.S. Departments of Commerce and Agriculture.” Man, that sounds nasty!

     And they go on to complain that ““improved access to credit” through increasing U.S. Export-Import Bank lending to small- and medium-size businesses from $4 billion to $6 billion through FY 2011 budget increases” would only hurt everyone in the long run, because….the lenders could play favorites with the loans.

     The bottom line they say is, “The National Export Initiative (NEI) relies on too much government interference and too many USG bureaucrats shilling for politically well-connected companies.” And to prove their point, they attack that liberal, socialist Commie company, UPS. “Another little sign—a pro-NEI press release from the United Parcel Service (UPS) was distributed at the luncheon.  Non-unionized FedEx has alleged in full-page advertisements in the Washington Post and elsewhere in recent months that the Obama Administration has
tilted USG policy in favor of UPS and their 35,000 Teamster Union drivers.”  

     So the right-wing Heritage Foundation has found a reason to hate UPS. And I thought UPS was pretty far to the right. How far to the right of UPS must The Heritage Foundation be? Apparantly they are too far out there to see that this country isn’t going to last much longer if we don’t start creating some jobs. 

Will Your Manager Get a Raise?

United Parcel Service Inc. (UPS) said the total compensation paid to Chief Executive Scott Davis fell about 0.6% last year, to $6.24 million.

Davis’s 2009 base salary was flat at $1 million, in keeping with the package delivery giant’s move to freeze management salaries amid the economic downturn.

In addition, the value of stock awards included in the calculation of his total compensation slipped to $3.89 million, from about $3.97 million in 2008, according to the company’s proxy statement filed late Monday.

UPS pegged Davis’s 2008 total compensation at $5.6 million in its proxy statement last year. But Norman Black, a UPS spokesman, said a subsequent change in accounting standards for stock awards resulted in a restatement of his 2008 total compensation to $6.28 million.

Last month, UPS announced a thaw in its policy on management salary freezes for this year, citing signs of a nascent economic recovery. Black said managers will have to achieve various performance benchmarks to get them.

The company will hold its annual meeting May 6 in Wilmington, Del. No proposals from shareholders are up for consideration.

- By Bob Sechler; Dow Jones Newswires
Will your manager make his “benchmarks” and get his raise?
I wonder what that benchmark will be?
Could it be improved performance numbers for his group?
Does that mean you need to do a little more and do it faster??

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