Randi Rhode’s Take on Wisconsin

In the battle of Wisconsin, Democrats have beaten a strategic retreat. Democratic legislators have fled to Illinois in order to deny the Wisconsin Senate the necessary quorum to conduct its dirty business. Think of it as a filibuster conducted with your feet. Police in Illinois, or for that matter in Wisconsin, have no authority to bring the fugitive lawmakers in. There is no crime being committed—this is an action intended to prevent a crime from being committed. You know, if these fugitive lawmakers really want to rub Governor Scott Walker’s face in it, they should submit invoices for travel per diems for the time they’re out of state.

Governor Walker says the state of Wisconsin is in a crisis. He should know—he put it there.
Intentionally. Just last month, Walker gave away $140 million in tax breaks—which accounts for all of the budget shortfall Wisconsin is now facing. If Wisconsin has no money, it’s because Walker has been giving it away. Walker created an economic crisis, and now he’s trying to exploit it. It’s a smaller-scale version of what Republicans are doing by using massive tax cuts for the wealthy to say we need to slash entitlements. In reality—not a place a lot of conservatives are familiar with—Wisconsin is in better shape than most states… except for the fact that Scott Walker is the governor.

It could be worse—look at Florida, where Governor Rick Scott has
rejected $2.4 billion in federal money for a high-speed rail line, essentially throwing Florida’s economic recovery off the rails. Now both Republican and Democratic lawmakers are trying to bypass Rick Scott, like they’re laying a railroad line and Rick Scott is some sort of Florida swamp that they have to find a way to cross. Hey, if America could build a Transcontinental Railroad over the Rocky Mountains, we should be able to figure out a way to build a railroad over Rick Scott’s stupid intransigence. There is already talk of a recall swirling around Rick Scott—and Florida doesn’t even have a law for recall elections… yet. Nobody ever envisioned the voters in Florida making a mistake as big as Rick Scott. Yeesh. Wouldn’t it just be easier if progressives bothered to vote in off-year elections? 

Magic Paper Takes Wing

Stewards Alert! 

You have magic paper, (Grievance Forms), in your union folder! 

        Every one of those forms the Local gives you comes with wings attached. All you need to add is a little ink from a pen to make them take off. You will be amazed at how far those little pieces of paper can fly.
        Fly baby, flyGrievances are the cause and effect of all the issues you live by on a day-to-day basis. They are the reason you have an attendance policy. They are the reason you can fight excessive overtime. They are the reason for how you pick floating holidays and vacations. They are the reason you still have a right to strike in Colorado. Somebody somewhere filed a grievance. They took the time to write it down, and send it to the business agent. They took the time to look in the contract book and find an article to file under. (Let us not forget, “and all others that apply.”)
        As a steward you will make many decisions and deals on behalf of your members, but none will have an afterlife unless they are decided through the grievance procedure. That is where the wings are attached. Once things are decided in a grievance hearing, it is a written record. This record that can always be referred to. This record can be researched and rediscovered. People’s memories are short and subject to interpretation. But when it’s written down, it becomes a fact. It becomes a fact that other people can call upon. You will be amazed in your career as a steward which grievance will grow wings and fly.
        They can only fly if you use that magic paper with the wings attached.
        Write it down!
        File it!

Since Everyone Should Read My Mind-

   I can Read Your Mind!  Since everybody is able to read my mind, I don’t have to worry about being treated properly. I don’t have to complain to my Union Steward about my excessive hours. He should already know that I am struggling with my family life at home because I’m always at work. He should understand that I never get to see my kids, and I never get to attend their special events.
     My steward should be way ahead of the game dealing with management, because he can read my mind. He’ll understand that I have the need to feed my ego by being the best driver ever. He’ll understand that I should be entitled to the very best pay, and the very best of all the fringe benefits because in my mind, I know I am the very best of all the drivers. Since he knows what’s in my head, he will understand that I should be first in line for the good jobs, and that the company should be taking care of me ahead of all the rest, because I’m the best, in my head.
     That dogon’ steward “should be” on top of my every move, and ever problem. After all, I would make a better steward than anybody, because I know what’s in my head, and I have the cognitive ability to know what should be done to further my day, and my future. I am, after all, amazingly aware of what everyone else should know. Of course they can all read what’s in my head, so I don’t need to explain any of it to them.
     Wait! What’s happening here? I’ve been fired for an accident! Everyone should know I’m the best driver ever. I also haul ass to get the job done better than any other person at this company. The management, and the steward should understand that it was that kids fault for riding his bike in front of me on that residential street. I am after all the best driver in the world, so it could never have been my fault. Even with that in mind, the company should give me a break knowing what a great driver I am. After all, they can read my mind, and see it.
     They’re trying to say that I just wouldn’t listen about driving safely. Why should I? I know everything, and had they taken the time to read my mind, they would know it. They say I have a long history of accidents, and that I was just “an accident waiting to happen”. How can they come to that conclusion when they can see directly into my head? Wow, have I ever been screwed.
     The Union just simply isn’t needed, because they didn’t take time to read my mind! If they had, they would have found out that I know everything. I never supported them, and now I never will.
      Do you know anyone that thinks like this?

You May Be a UPS Driver If…………

        You watch the clock at work hoping you have more time left to work rather than less.

        You think Christmas is a 4 letter word.

        Putting on a brown shirt makes you feel like Superman.

        You start to yawn when your friends talk about the high cost of their health insurance.

        You can’t talk to anyone for over a minute without turning and starting to walk away.

        You can eat with your fingers no matter how dirty your hands are.

        You drink two gallons of water a day in the summer and never have to go to the bathroom.

        You get off work before 6 o’clock and it feels like you had the afternoon off.

        Your favorite day in the neighborhood is trash day.

        You have more brown pens at home than silverware.

        You take the family on a road trip and make the kids to pee in cups so you don’t have to stop.

        When you see a brown truck on the street you immediately begin to critique the driver’s methods.

It’s All in the Delivery

Great article by a woman who rode along with her UPS man. I like what she says about Telematics.

   Oh, come on, what can be so difficult about delivering a couple of packages?
Boy, was I wrong.
    This whole “Brown” thing started out pretty black and white. I asked Dave Gomez, the United Parcel Service driver whose route includes my Walnut Creek neighborhood, if I could interview him.
Dave was flattered but had to get permission from his higher-ups, who invited me to go on a ride-along with him.
Are you kidding? 
    But before I could hop aboard Dave’s truck, communication supervisor Rhoda Daclison-Dickey told me I would have to agree to two non-negotiable conditions. The first is that I had to undergo safety training because safety is always the company’s No. 1 concern. And the second condition, I asked? I would have to wear the Brown.
Where do I sign up? 
    I thought my uniform would be delivered to my home via—what else?—UPS, but no. Two days before my ride, employment supervisor Dan Hurley came to my home with an array of shirts, trousers, jackets and hats for me—a one-color wardrobe makeover. Although Hurley said regulations required I wear a brown belt and brown shoes, I opted for no belt, pink Timberline boots and a pink silk scarf. After all, the boots were my most durable and comfortable shoes, and it was all about safety – and accessorizing.
    Then, on the day of my ride along, I had to complete a course, under Dan’s guidance, on how to safely enter and exit the truck when stopping to deliver packages. I also had to learn to strap myself in so I wouldn’t fall out of a truck while riding with the doors open. I must have practiced getting on and off that truck at least a dozen times.
    When I passed Dan’s inspection on uniform and safety, we snapped a few photos, hugged goodbye and Dave and I took off. 
    Which brings us back to how hard can this be?
Oh, boy, is it hard.
    Imagine if in the course of two hours you took an advanced level step aerobics class, followed by an hour at the Bar Method and then throw in some weight training for good measure. Let me tell you, that first step up is mighty high for someone who is only 5-foot-1. A week later I am still sore. 
    So let’s put this in some perspective. On an average day, Dave works 10-12  hours, makes 170 stops and delivers 240 packages. Double that at Christmas. I, on the other hand, worked barely two hours, made just 20 stops and delivered a mere 35 packages — and I have been on a heating pad for a week. Hard?  Yeah, it’s unbelievably hard.
    It’s not about carrying the weight of the packages, it was about everything else that goes with being a UPS driver: Getting in and out of the truck safely, opening closing people’s gates, running up and down umpteen stairs  – all while keeping to a very tight schedule.
    Let me enlighten you about the company and your driver. UPS is so technologically savvy and efficiently run that companies all over the world are trying to emulate it. This efficiency starts with the truck itself. You have no idea.   
    The truck is a four-wheel, high-tech warehouse and office made of steel. There isn’t a GPS screen with driving directions anywhere on the truck, but there is navigation software that is something out of 007. This “smart” truck monitors and records whether the driver’s seatbelt is fastened, the speed at which he’s traveling and whether he honked the horn before backing up. Also, it communicates with a command center about whether the driver is on the route to which he’s assigned. Is he exactly where he should be at a certain point in the day given the packages that need to be delivered? You think Big Brother is watching you at work, you ain’t seen nothing.
    And that clipboard Dave carries?  It’s not your average Magna Doodle or Etch-a-Sketch. It, too, knows everything. It has so much information on it, and everything on it also is being monitored: what is being delivered, whether the package was damaged or opened before it landed in the truck, whether signatures are required. It even signals when it’s time for the driver to take lunch.  Really.  And when drivers are on lunch break they can’t deliver packages even if they want to because the clipboard shuts off. UPS want them to take their lunch.
    As for the drivers themselves, they are smart and extremely well trained. They love what they do and the company seems to have very little turnover.
    Dave drives from his home in Livermore to the UPS distribution center in San Ramon, where he picks up his truck. The loaders at the center arrange all the packages on the shelves in the order in which they need to be delivered. Each package has a bar code that also is being tracked on the clipboard and throughout computer systems worldwide. Having the truck loaded by delivery order on the route means that the driver is not searching through the truck looking for a package. He knows the next package goes with the next stop.
Now comes the fun part. I get to deliver the packages and ask Dave questions along the way. What did I find out? Plenty. And not just about UPS but also about our community—and even about human nature.
    I have never ordered a thing from the Home Shopping Network or QVC but apparently I am in the minority. Every third box we delivered was from there, Zappos or Amazon.  Nordstrom didn’t do too shabbily, either. 
    And you may not have included your UPS driver on your wedding invite list, but who do you think is delivering all those Crate & Barrel boxes?
    They know someone in your family is getting married. They know when it’s your birthday and where the family and friends who are sending gifts live. They know where you bank and where you’re spending your money. It’s all in the delivery, folks.  And that’s just residences. Remember, our route included businesses. I loved that. I felt so officious walking in with the packages and asking recipients to sign the magic clipboard. So cool.
    I also learned that I don’t necessarily like going to strangers’ homes. There are more than a few people in our community who could star in Hoarding: Buried Alive on TLC. I was almost hoping that some people wouldn’t answer their doors when I knocked.
I also found out that your neighborhood UPS driver may be better than Brinks Home Security. Drivers know your neighborhood and are very protective of it and the people who live there. They know who “belongs” on the street and who doesn’t.  And when it comes to being on the lookout, they are all over their rearview and side view mirrors. Don’t even entertain the idea that you can follow the brown truck and steal packages the driver has just left on customers’ porches. One call to 911, and they have it covered. Dave also told me that there have been times when a UPS truck helped the police sandwich in a would-be thief.
    Like most UPS drivers, Dave carries dog biscuits. On my street, when Tyler, the neighbors’ dog, hears Dave’s truck barreling up, he runs out like a kid who hears the ice cream truck. Dave slows down so that Tyler can put his front paws on the second step and get a treat.
    The dog treats are part of customer service and serving the neighborhood. One day Dave saw two young boys being chased by a pit bull. The boys were using their bikes as shields to keep the dog from biting them. Dave very carefully pulled up alongside the boys and threw a handful of biscuits at the dog. While it went after the biscuits, he ushered the boys to the other side of his truck.
    Dave has seen it all. He’s delivered packages to a nudist colony. Along one of his routes he found a body.
Every day is different. He never knows what’s ahead. I didn’t either. For example, I didn’t know there was a cult in Walnut Creek that apparently has a well-established compound. Dave pointed it out to me from the hill high above.
    On the truck, off the truck. Up the stairs, down the stairs. On the truck, off the truck.
    I was exhausted and couldn’t wait until the magic clipboard told us we could stop for lunch. 
Dave has been with UPS since 1992 and has been a driver since 1997. He works hard but loves his job. He is a happily married father of two and said the people on his route are the nicest people in the world and have become part of his extended family.
    “I am here to provide a service and I take that responsibility very seriously,” Dave told me. I have to say I felt it, too. When you put on the Brown, you are representing a good company and you are in good company.
    So, the next time you see your UPS driver, be sure to say thank you. They really do deliver.
Donna Lynn Rhodes  Walnut Creek Patch