Sneaky Company Supporting Websites

     Many drivers turn to the web for help and relief from the pressures this company can put them. Unfortunately there are sites out there that come off as if they are for all employees, when in fact they are just another avenue to keep the rank and file driver in a harassed state of mind. These sites open the doors, offering drivers a place to vent, then suddenly the drivers are attacked by obvious supervisors, calling the drivers names, and ridiculing them for expressing their concerns within the company.
     The main method of management is to maintain the “abusive daddy” mentality amongst the employees. A driver hoping to find some relief will often turn to these type of discussion sites, only to find they are being harassed, and ridiculed again. Of course the idea being drivers will think that is just the normal way.
     These sites hold themselves up to be something they are not. They are not for the average employee. They are not for the rank and file. They are for pushing company abuse and their moderators do nothing about it. Don’t waste your time with another outlet for the “abusive daddy”. Find your information independently. Find the sites you can trust.

FedEx Spends Money on Lobbyists instead of Workers

    FedEx Spent $21.1 Million In 15 Months To Preserve Its Ability To Prevent Drivers From Unionizing

Currently, House and Senate negotiators are trying to work out the differences between each chamber’s respective bill reauthorizing the Federal Aviation Administration. One key difference between the bills is that the House version corrects an inequity in labor law that allows Federal Express to operate under the Railway Labor Act (RLA), which poses higher barriers to union organizing than the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA). FedEx’s competitors, such as the United Parcel Service, are governed by the NLRA. The Senate bill does not contain the change.

FedEx has been waging an intense campaign in order to preserve its special treatment, led by CEO Fred Smith, who was George W. Bush’s fraternity brother and has said that “I don’t intend to recognize any unions at Federal Express.” And according to Roll Call, in 15 months the company spent $21.1 million lobbying Congress:

Last year, it ranked 14th among all groups and companies in lobbying budgets, spending more than oil giant BP and defense contractor Lockheed Martin. The Memphis-based company also has tapped politically connected assistance, contracting with 14 outside lobbying firms that employ a number of former Senators. Not only is the Breaux Lott Leadership Group working for FedEx, but its founders, former Sen. John Breaux (D-La.) and former Senate Majority Leader Trent Lott (R-Miss.), are listed on the lobbying disclosure forms as personally working on the account. FedEx hired the international public relations firm Burson-Marsteller to work specifically on this issue.

FedEx has successfully lobbied multiple times to remain classified as an airline (and thus under the RLA), rather than having its ground operation qualified as such, pulling it under the NLRA. This time around, it has threatened to blunt its own growth and scaremongered about medical supply deliveries being delayed if the change in labor law is made.

Tennessee’s two Republican senators, Lamar Alexander and Bob Corker, have also pledged to defeat the change. But there’s simply no reason for this inequity to remain law. FedEx’s pilots have already unionized, without the dire consequences that Smith warned about. And in the meantime, FedEx’s drivers are subject to a law that makes it all but impossible to organize and collectively bargain, as they would have to unionize literally the entire company (across the entire country), instead of being allowed to organize at the local level.

Last week, the National Mediation Board — which oversees labor-management relations under the RLA — did away with one inequitable aspect of the antiquated RLA, ensuring that uncast votes in union elections no longer count as votes against the union. Congress would do well to keep the ball rolling, enacting the change taking away the unjustified competitive advantage that FedEx now enjoys.
The Wonk Rooom

What is Honesty?

     Every person on earth has a general idea of what they think is honest. To some people, honesty is a hard and fast set of rules a person lives by without ever stretching or straining the rules. The rules of honesty are absolute, and are never a line that can be crossedI'm an Honest Guy.
     To other people, honesty is just sort of a guideline to follow. How closely that person follows the rules of honesty is directly related to how dangerous it is that they will be caught, and what the cost to them would be if they are caught.
     For most people there are levels of honesty, and dishonesty. Something slightly dishonest to one person, may be a cardinal sin to another.
     The interesting discussion comes when we talk about what is cardinal dishonesty within the company. Each of us first must understand the goal of this company is the “bottom line”. If something  makes the company more profitable, it is good. Anything that costs the company money, such as return trips, extra handling, lost revenue, public perception, is bad.
     From within the company comes another decision of the “Lord and Master” about what “honesty” is. Most drivers are under the misconception that the Teamsters/UPS contract in some way dictates all of these issues. The reality is, it only dictates the discipline the company can take if an act is deemed dishonest. There is no hard and fast language to say what would be considered a dishonest act.     
     Usually the decision over a driver committing a dishonest act comes after an evaluation in the mind of the company about the past history of the driver. Many times dishonest acts go unpunished because a driver runs under allowed, or is a swing driver, or has buttered up management somewhere along the line. Let the staunch union driver get caught in anything considered dishonest and out comes the righteous indignation from them about how any person could be so dishonest, and so dirty and cheap, that they could perform such a hideous act. Right away, they will leap to the language in the contract that allows them to terminate a driver for dishonesty. They will fly the flag of righteousness, about how every driver is expected to be held to a higher standard, and that no one is above reproach for committing a dishonest act.
     As we all understand, that flag only comes out when the “Lord and Master” says it needs to be waved. Usually an act has been committed millions of times prior to a termination, and very often has been encouraged  before a termination occurs.
     We saw that occasion recently with the terminations over late air. Most of the drivers involved were taught  to sheet potential late air as a delivery discrepancy, then make what looks like a second attempt after the air commit times. It was a practice that went on for many years. 
     Suddenly, with the advent of Telematics, the act of cheating on air commit times became obvious. People were terminated for dishonesty on a number of occasions. Several were unable to get their jobs back because the company said their dishonesty was “so blatant”. The fact is, until recent time, the act was promoted by the company because it saved money, and prevented the company from having to reimburse the customers for air delivered after the commit times. Something they promoted and guaranteed in their advertising. 
     The occasion above is just one example. I would call it “Corporate Honesty”. Again our lives are dictated by the “bottom line”.
      Real honesty is really only a function of money according to them. Real morals are decided by their profitability, not their effect on society. The decisions that are made, regarding honesty and morals, have little to do with people in our corporate society. They are made according to the ability of a corporation to make money.
                  If cheating is profitable, it is good. If cheating costs money, it is bad.
               Isn’t it still cheating? I guess only God, and the “Lord and Master” know!


Nothing Wrong With Protest

     There’s nothing wrong with protest and expression of ones views. Let’s please be honest about our motivations. The Young Turks video talks about the Tea Party and it’s real motivations. The attack should be on our government that won’t represent the interests of the people. The problem is about corporatism. Listen, and shake your head, as I did.

What’s Wrong with the Tea Party??

                                       ‘Tea party’ activists: Do they hate liberals more than they love liberty?

Rockville, Md.
Many “tea party” activists staunchly oppose big government, except when it is warring, wiretapping, or waterboarding. A movement that started out denouncing government power apparently has no beef with some of the worst abuses of modern times.

Unfortunately, there is scant evidence that most tea partyers have studied the copies of the Constitution they generously hand out to bystanders.

At a Tax Day tea party in Rockville, Md., the speaking venue was draped with a huge banner: “Tired of Big Government?” Members of the “Tyranny Response Team” stood near the front of the rally with their official blue T-shirts. Giant American flags and ones with “Don’t Tread on Me” (with a coiled rattlesnake) were carried around by men with tri-corn hats. Political campaigns busily sold “9/11 Remembrance” bracelets.

And yet, the crowd of 300 seemed most outraged that the US government is not being sufficiently aggressive in using its power.

Ken Timmerman, the author of “Preachers of Hate: Islam and the War on America” and other hawkish books, declaimed that the US government must take every step to stop Iran from getting nuclear weapons. Mr. Timmerman denounced the Obama administration for being soft on Tehran and urged support for legislation to impose harsh sanctions on Iran. Timmerman previously advocated a US naval blockade of Iran, which he claimed was planning a nuclear attack on the United States.

Running through a litany of President Obama’s greatest failings, Timmerman denounced him for forcing US agents to “stop using enhanced interrogation methods. Has that made us safer?”

“No!” the crowd hollered indignantly.

Jeffrey Kuhner, a local talk-show host, sneered that Obama “has found his inner Muslim” and raged against his bowing to foreign leaders and kings. He complained that Obama has “taken over college loans,” and warned that illegal immigrants could be “the shock troops of Obama’s socialist revolution.” The crowd ate it up.

One of the MCs gushed about how he and everyone else in the crowd loved the police. There was not a word spoken about the video released earlier that week showing a nearby horrendous police beating of an innocent University of Maryland college student.

The rally featured a string of Republican candidates praising fiscal responsibility and denouncing the national debt. One would have thought that it had been 50 years, rather than 15 months, since the Republicans controlled the White House.

There was almost no dissent from any of the 300 attendees. One 50-something man in a faded green T-shirt walked around with a handmade sign declaring, “Stop the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan – Bring Our Troops Home Now!” He told me that almost no one he’d talked agreed with his message.

Much more in tune with the crowd was the 20-something woman carrying a sign: “PROUD to be the Military Super Power.”

The fact that the cost of the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq thus far roughly equals the projected cost of the first decade of Obama’s health-care program is irrelevant. Military spending is viewed as holy water by many activists who otherwise despise Washington. While tea party activists rage over Obama’s alleged lies, they ignore the Bush administration’s deceptive justification to attack Iraq.

None of the speakers criticized the warrantless wiretaps that the National Security Agency began during the Bush administration. The feds’ vacuuming up thousands of Americans’ phone calls and e-mails without a warrant seems to be a nonissue for these folks. Perhaps some tea party leaders hope that Republicans will soon be in position to use such powers to surveil the left.

There are many decent Americans who understandably feel that the government has become too powerful and oppressive. Yet, seeking enlightenment from most tea party speakers is like searching in a dark room for a black cat that isn’t there.

Many of the attendees seemed to hate liberals far more than they loved liberty. A CBS/New York Times poll conducted in April showed that two-thirds of tea party members have a favorable opinion of Sarah Palin, and 57 percent have a favorable opinion of George W. Bush. Denouncing big government while approving of President Bush is like denouncing immodesty while sunning oneself on a nude beach. After all, it was Bush who championed the prescription drug benefit for seniors that adds $7 trillion to Washington’s unfunded liabilities.

Some of the Republican incumbents endorsed by tea party organizations have been champions of “enhanced interrogation.” As long as the feds don’t announce specific plans to begin torturing card-carrying conservative activists, why worry?

If tea party activists cannot vigorously oppose torture and other high crimes, then counting on them to stalwartly resist any government policy that doesn’t mulct their paycheck is folly.

America needs real champions of freedom – not poorly informed Republican accomplices. Either tea partyers should become more principled or they should ditch their Gadsden flags and wear T-shirts of the lobbying group that organizes the rally they attend.

James Bovard

If you are an avid Tea Partier and the above article doesn’t give you pause for thought, then try this one on the founder of the tea party  and his other job, corporate lobbiest. 

Becoming a Steward?

     Are you thinking of becoming a Union Steward? Does the idea of making the company listen to you, and maybe some of your gripes about the way they treat people, appeal to you? Do you carry the ‘secret wish” to make them sorry they ever messed with you in the first place? Do you want to pay them back for the warning letter they tried to give you over production last year?
                            Maybe you’re a candidate to become a steward!Me! Me! Pick me!
     By the time most drivers reach their two year anniversary with the company, they suddenly decide they do not care for the treatment they get on a day to day basis. They get tired of the excessive hours. They get tired of the ridiculous splits. They get tired of busting their ass only to have management claim they didn’t do it fast enough, or they got a customer complaint, or whatever dozen reasons the company can give for badgering, and harassing them. What’s a good driver to do?
                                                        Become the steward, and pay them back!
Of course that idea is usually easier said, than done. Most drivers have little contact with the Local Union, (that’s a discussion for another day!). they also probably are relatively unknown to the Business Agent for the Local. Given all that, how does a potential steward get noticed enough to actually become the steward?
     The easiest way is to attend some of the Local general membership meetings. The dates, and times should be posted on the Union bulletin board somewhere in your center, or building. You will become familiar with the Local officers, and you will also learn a great deal about where your dues money goes. Of course the  officers will also become familiar with you, and so will your B.A. Don’t be shy about raising your hand, and asking questions. Many Union members do not realize that these officers work for the dues paying members of that Local Union. (Sometimes the officers forget that also.) 
     Once you have familiarized yourself with the Local Union, the next step would be to get involved with any steward training seminars offered by the Local, or Locals in your area. Even though you may not be a steward at the time, most Locals will allow you to attend in the hope that you will be easy to slip in as a trained steward should the occasion arise. 
The seminars will give you a basic knowledge of the Union contract, and the applicable supplement for your region. They will also discuss your rights as a steward in many situations that arise daily. That information is probably more important even than specific contractual language. You need to know what you have the right to do, and what you better not do.
     All of the contractual stuff can be fixed tomorrow, if you make a mistake. If you call for a walkout, or a sickout, etc. you can be terminated on the spot, so it’s important to know your rights as a steward.
     Often becoming a steward is just being in the right place, at the right time. At the risk of telling an “old guy” story I can tell you how I became a steward 30 years ago. I started as a loader part time when I was going to school. In my desire to move ahead I took a position as a part-time supervisor for a couple of years. In those days you could move from management back into driving, so I became a driver at the first opportunity. The company gives management “labor relations” training, so that management knows how to get around the contract, and how to use and abuse their employees. I was well trained by the company. After learning that I needed to sell my soul to stay in management, I decided that staying a driver was the place for me.
     After hitting the proverbial two years, an opening came for an alternate steward. My having a good background on the contract already made me an instant candidate. I thought being an alternate steward was no big deal, so I said OK. Little did I know that the current steward of the time, was closely involved with the Local politics, and when the “wrong people” were elected into power, he up and quit. Suddenly I was the heir apparent, and was thrust into being the steward after only 2 months as alternate. I finally had to retire 31 years later to stop being the steward. (The one thing I hated to leave).
     My point to you is to pay attention to the situation in your center. If there is an alternate position empty and available, fill it. There is no better way to learn than by doing. Do not fear doing anything wrong. You will gain huge respect from your cohorts for trying.  My first rule of being a steward is, “do something, even if it’s wrong”. 
oming forward as a steward can be one of the most rewarding things you will do. It also gives you a sense of purpose in what can otherwise be a demeaning, degrading job situation. Other people’s future can come to be placed in your hands. You will be able to take pride in helping your fellow drivers get through their careers, even if no one ever says thank you.
     I was nuts, and did it for 30 years, and enjoyed every minute, (OK every other minute), of it. I encourage you to do the same.

Two Questions

      First this from Tips-Q:  Today, President Obama nominated Solicitor General Elena Kagan for the Supreme Court. Since she happens to be an unmarried woman who has not publicly commented on her sexuality and supports LGBT rights, many on the right are making assumptions about her personal life — and therefore her fitness to serve as a justice. Last month, CBS News published an online column by GOP operative Ben Domenech, which called Kagan the “first openly gay justice.”

     My first question is: Does the above statement make a fair assumption?

     My second question involves UPS founder Jim Casey. We all know he never married. I cannot say unequivocally that he ever had a girlfriend. He happened to be an unmarried man who did not publicly comment on his sexuality and he supported LGBT workers by hiring them into his company. So the question is:

     Was Jim Casey gay?

     Using good old Republican logic, I would have to say he was.

Illegal Immigrant Issue Inside the Company

     The risThe Corporate Judgee in interest over illegal immigration brings to mind an experience I had while attending the panels. While there, I was able to observe a case where an employee had provided the company with false I.D., and a false Social Security number. The employee worked a number of years for the company under the cover of the false information provided. He also was a college student, and was married during his time with the company. 
     The issue arose when he was able to go through the citizenship process and obtain a valid Social Security number, and documents giving him real citizenship. He then had to reveal to the company that he had provided false information on his initial application.
     The story that never gets told is the personal side. The employee had proven himself a hard worker, and also was a union steward. He had a new baby, and was very dependant on his job.
     Telling this story is not about defending illegal immigration. Employers would love to bring illegals into the workforce to reduce wages and the cost of benefits. The right wings attack on the left is that they gain voters. The reality is, the real citizens, of this country, are under attack by the multi-national corporations. The problem is not about illegal imigrants, it’s about illegal employers. Until the people take back the government from the corporations, the danger of being replaced by slave labor is ever present. 
     The end of the story was, “claim of the union upheld”.
      Due to a technicality, and the company’s reluctance to take out a decent employee, the worker was put back to work. The compassion on the company’s side was very obvious, and thanks to a loophole, they were able to save face without relenting from their “we control our world”, mentality. Sometimes there is still just a little of James E. Casey’s compassion for the workers left in the company. It is quickly disappearing sadly.
     The story shows even illegals need the Teamsters.