12 Rules of Stewarding

      1. For every asshole there’s two waiting in the wings to take his The Stewards Ruleplace. 
      2. Do something even if it’s wrong. 
      3. For every action there’s an equal and opposite reaction. 
      4. When all else fails; OBJECT LOUDLY! 
      5. If you can’t dazzle them with brilliance, baffle them with bullshit. 
      6. A fight in front of the troops is worth way more than a fight behind closed doors. 
     7. You are always right, even if you are wrong. 
     8. You are the expert on the contract because you are the steward. Got it? 
      9. If they want to get along, get along, if they want to fight, fight! 
     10.Making friends with management is OK as long as you remember they will cut your throat for their own survival. 
    11. Know when to contact the business agent! 
    12. Never let management tell you how to be a steward! (Even if you don’t know how to be one yourself).

Dealing with Harrassment

   I Scream  Every driver that works for UPS will eventually have to deal with harassment from management. No matter how good you run, or how much you promote the company, management will always find a reason to get on your case.
     If you are lucky enough to have a decent sup. or center manager, the level of harassment will be tolerable. If you happen to be unlucky enough to have the Soul selling, go getting, “the world is all about my success”, type of manger, or supervisor, you could be in for the fight of your life.
     Many of the latter type of management cares little for you, your family, or your life. They are all about making themselves look good. They don’t care if the job gets done by cheating, they are all about themselves looking good, and moving themselves ahead.
     These management types do not care if you get hurt, or damage the company’s image with the customer, or even if you sell the company. All they care about is making themselves look good in the eyes of the “Lord and Master”.
     Whatever the situation, they will not be on your side. Given even the smallest situation, they will corner you, write you up, terminate you, scream and yell at you, and basically attack you as if you are a child with an abusive daddy.
     So what’s a self-respecting driver to do?
     The first thing is to remember that you have the Teamsters behind you. Never talk to any manager, particularly this type, without a steward present. These guys function with a, “anything you say will be used against you” attitude. The steward should be able to control the situation, and keep you from being needlessly attacked.
     The second thing to remember is the “Article 37” grievance. While these grievances rarely go very far, it opens the door for you to give it back to the sh-t head manager or supervisor, and also wastes a great deal of their time. I always felt that it also prevented them from harassing someone else, since they had to be in the office meeting with you.
     The third, and most important thing to remember is to communicate what these management types are doing to you, to the drivers around you. Once the rest of the drivers get wind of the type of person they are dealing with, the hammer will come down. Drivers will cease to do any favors for the jerk, and very often they will get moved to another center, or position because the center begins to look bad for whatever reason.
     I have seen many a bad-a– manger change their spots because they just can’t get anything done.
     Many drivers have a very difficult time dealing with the harassment. They get upset. They don’t sleep. They take their anxiety out at home. They start to say, and do stupid things in the hope of getting retaliation on the a–wipe manager. That is when the management JA wins. That is when many drivers get fired for doing something stupid.
     It takes a great deal of mental strength not to let the boss get to you. Remember to do your job as trained. No more, no less. Stick to the methods, be where you are supposed to be, and ride it out. Eventually the a–hole will head off to an easier target. They have a quota of discipline, and harassment that they need to live up to. They cannot afford to be attacking a driver that is doing their job, because they begin to look bad for wasting time in the grievance procedure, only to look bad in the end.
     The last thing to remember is that eventually that manager or supervisor will go away. Each driver needs to remember what it felt like when they were the guy under the gun. Remember how good it felt when the other drivers came to your aid, (and the steward also). When it’s the next guys turn to be singled out, be sure to be there for him or her, as they were for you.
     Oh Yeah, one last thing. If you have a manager or supervisor that treats you well, pay them back. Make it worth their effort to be honest with you, and make your working environment decent. Taking advantage of the guy that treats you decently, only opens the door for the jacka–.


Companies busy selling bonds to plug pension deficits

By John Detrixhe
Bloomberg News

Companies facing the biggest pension deficit since at least 1994 are selling bonds at the fastest pace in more than seven years to plug the hole, betting that future returns will exceed their borrowing costs.

United Parcel Service, Dow Chemical, Northrop Grumman and PPG sold at least $5.25 billion of investment-grade U.S. corporate bonds in November to fund their pensions, making it the busiest month since June 2003, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.

The Federal Reserve’s effort to hold down interest rates to stimulate the economy has caused corporate pension obligations, which are pegged to bond yields, to rise by $105.8 billion this year to $1.44 trillion as of October, according to Milliman. Now, companies are taking advantage of borrowing costs at about the lowest on record as interest rates are expected to rise as the global economy recovers.

“They’re fighting fire with fire,” John Lonski, chief economist at Moody’s Capital Markets Group in New York, said in a telephone interview. “They’re being victimized by low bond yields, so why not go ahead and use them as an offset?”

Investment-grade corporate bond yields, used as a benchmark to determine future corporate liabilities to retirees, fell to 3.53 percent on Nov. 4, the lowest ever, Bank of America Merrill Lynch index data show.

Corporate pensions in the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index with about $1 trillion in assets are 77 percent funded this year, down from 82 percent at the end of 2009, Bank of America Merrill Lynch said in an Oct. 29 report.

Read more: Companies busy selling bonds to plug pension deficits – The Denver Post http://www.denverpost.com/business/ci_16719482#ixzz16UyGLgxh
Read The Denver Post’s Terms of Use of its content: www.denverpost.com/termsofuse

Excuses I’ve Heard

 My Dog Ate My Ballot    I thought I’d throw out some of the excuses I’ve heard over the years for why people don’t vote. The conversation is usually initiated by the driver approaching me to complain about some decision made by a Union officer, or some contractual issue they think is B.S. They will bad mouth the Union or the Contract or the Politician, or the amendment as if something has been forced down their throat.
     My first question has always been, “so how did you vote on the (fill in the blank)”?
Here is a list of some of the excuses I often would get:

     My wife threw the ballot away! (Doesn’t this sound the same as the old homework excuse, “my dog ate it”?)

     I never received my ballot! Of course they receive everything else the Union, or the County sends out, but damn if those ballots don’t get lost in the mail more than any other item.

     I moved and didn’t get re-registered! Of course they moved 13 years ago, and dogoneit it takes awhile to get everything done after you move.

     I just didn’t have enough information to make an educated decision! They never took time to read the 100 different items sent to them, or even think about the issue. They just assumed someone else would worry about it.

     It just wasn’t important enough to worry about! So why are you worrying about it now? Because it was important enough to worry about. Your apathy just gave away your own rights!

     You Union guys/politicians/negotiators are dishonest, and I’m not taking responsibility for anything you do! We union guys can’t do anything without your permission, and your vote. When you let someone else vote for you, they make the decision for you. Of course making a decision means pulling your head out of your ass.
     These are just a few of the excuses I’ve heard. I’m sure there are many more. Voter apathy is the real reason our country and our economy is in the shape it is in. 
     If you don’t vote, you do not have the right to bitch! It’s your fault!


2013 Contract Armageddon

     Time is screaming by towards the 2013 contract negotiations. The time to take control of the political scene, that will directly affect the negotiations is screaming by. The time to take control of the Union political scene is also on the near horizon with the election of Teamster National officers.
     The scary part is the apathy most UPS people have towards the upcoming contract. Many simply do not vote. Many of the regular voters do not take the time to educate themselves on the issues, or they put other issues ahead of their own livelihood. It is a common theme we play over and over again here on Denver Brown. “Get involved!” “Pay attention!” “Learn the issues!” “Educate yourselves!”
     Many drivers just continue to put their heads down, and pretend there is nothing they can do.The End of Your Future It will be interesting to see how they will suddenly become militant when they lose their healthcare, or their pension, or their wages, or their job security. All of these issues will be on the line in 2013.
     The question for many is, “why is 2013 so different?” The difference is a combination of the political climate of the U.S, the economic climate of the U.S., and the competitive climate at UPS. The attempt to regulate Fed Ex the same as UPS is a perfect example of how the competitive climate has changed. Fed Ex’s republican buddies hate the unions, and feel that Fed Ex should be given a leg up in keeping the Unions from getting a foothold. That causes the pressure on UPS to either negotiate away employee benefits in order to control costs at a level comparable to Fed Ex, and also creates the possibility of total Union busting to level the playing field in the small package trades.
     What does this mean to you? Give backs during negotiations. Fed Ex drivers function on a much lower wage level than the average UPS driver. Fed Ex employees work with much less job security than the average UPS driver. Fed Ex drivers are forced to contribute on a much higher level for their benefit packages. All of this comes out to the cost of doing business on the bottom line. Do you think it all goes unnoticed by UPS?
     Many of you continue to believe the Faux News mentality that the world will be better without the unions. Many of you believe you would do better on your own without the pensions. Many of you believe you will continue to receive your healthcare at the same levels of benefit and cost without someone to negotiate on your behalf. Many of you believe everything you see in the news. 
                         Many of you are in for a rude awakening!
     We will go through another major election cycle in 2012. That election cycle will be the indicator of what you can expect in 2013 during negotiations. Many drivers plan to leave prior to those negotiations because they know that costs are in the targets of UPS corporate management. Also with the declining ranks of the Unions, the Teamsters will be less inclined to put their largest dues paying workgroup at risk to striking. Many of you will recall that Bill Clinton was the president during the last strike. Had it been a republican president, we would have been forced to work without a contract, severely weakening the pressure that we brought to bare to save our pensions.
     The political climate of the time will have a huge bearing on the outcomes of the negotiations. The outcome of the Union elections will also have a huge effect. Every driver must involve themselves in the process of those elections to get the best, most qualified people in office. Just a side note, the average percentage for voting in the Union elections is 27%. One quarter of you decides for all of the rest. That is apathy at it’s best.
             Now is the time, for all good Teamsters, to come to the aid of their own life!

                  Don’t become your own worst enemy!
                                                Get involved, and vote for your life!

Is it Time to Resign?

       Are you worried about Peak? Are you stressing about the combination of bad weather, high stop counts, a worthless helper and running in the dark? 
       Well….. maybe it’s time to resign. I know it’s crossed your mind. It always does at this time of year. Go ahead, do it.
It’s time to resign yourself to doing it their way.
       It’s time to resign yourself to doing the job exactly the way UPS wants it done. It’s time to stop working off the clock and start taking your full lunch between the third and sixth hours. resign yourself
       It’s time to resign yourself to cut out this crap of parking on the wrong side of the street and sheeting in the car and leaving your DIAD in the holder and running up to the house and back.
       It’s time to realize that by not using the methods you are risking your job. The company doesn’t feel they have an understaffing problem. They believe they have a lot of drivers who are doing their own thing and not using the methods and wasting a lot of time in the process. Then these drivers complain about over dispatching and long hours.
       It’s time to realize that the company is going to come after you to get you to run better numbers and they are going to attack your methods. If your methods are sloppy and they improve your stops per hour with a simple ride along, then you are going to have a lot more problems in the future than you have now. You are going to have the same dispatch but increased pressure to go faster because you demostrated that you could do more using the methods. 
        Use the methods.
The methods will set you free.

Quote of the Day

     Quote of the day from Calvin and Hobbes by Bill Watterson

A Letter to Denverbrown

Dear Denverbrown:
        My name is H…. W……… I am looking for a little help. I have been a driver for eight years. I had fallen into a comfortable routine delivering my route. I never had an absentee problem, and I got along with my supervisors OK. That is until we got this new guy.
        He started out riding me pretty hard. He upped my dispatch and when I complained he told me to blow it out my you-know-what. I felt that he was very disrespectful to me. I let the whole thing blow over, but now he treats me badly on a regular basis. One day I finally had enough and I yelled back at him in front of everybody. I used the same language to him that he regularly used to me, but the company fired me for creating a hostile work environment. I don’t think this is fair.
        Their policy is supposed to be for everyone yet that supervisor is still here, and I’m not. My feeling is that the company and their policies are hypocritical. My union steward told me I should have filed a grievance under (I think) Article 37 for harassment the very first time I felt threatened by this supervisor. Now I’m the man out and I hear he is still treating people like this.
        The thing I don’t get is why the company just lets him go on the way he is. I guess he gets them good numbers because they just let him treat everyone with an iron fist. I always assumed we were in this battle together to make the company successful. Now I find out that the management is only there to make themselves successful at my expense. They just don’t really care about my family, my health, my safety, my future, or me.
        After eight years I now see that I should have been more aware of the Union’s function. Unfortunately I had to be terminated to see it. I could have saved myself a bunch of trouble if I had not been afraid to raise this issue with my steward, but he always seemed like a troublemaker and I didn’t want to get that reputation myself. I thought the company liked me.
        Now the company has thrown me to the wolves. I’m still hopeful I will get my job back, but I am suffering financially while the decision is made. I see how people become the Union badasses that they become. They are always covering their rear, leaving no stone for the company to turn. Never allowing the company to get anything on them. I always thought these people were just trying to cost the company money, and just had a bad attitude. Now I find out they are truly trying to protect themselves from a monster.
        Thanks for listening. I will continue to read Denver Brown so I can stay ahead of the monster.
         H… W………

UPS driver information