All posts by George

Wal-Mart Saves the World

I’ve never been a big fan of Wal-Mart. I used to have one on my route. I made friends with the back door girls, I got an inside picture of what Wal-Mart is like to work for. I saw one of my friends get injured one day and not report it because their “bonuses” were only awarded if they had no reported workman’s comp injuries. Not only would you lose your own bonus if you reported an injury, but the whole store lost its bonuses. That’s a lot of pressure to not report an injury.

Occasionally I would mention the Union as we unloaded my truck, and I soon learned that Union was a four letter word. It was amazing to hear what their management told the workers about unions. Most of it was outright lies. But effective lies. My associates felt they knew unions and they would never let that kind of scum come into Wal-Mart. Of course they were insanely jealous of my wages and benefits but couldn’t see the difference between a good union job and a lousy non-union job.

Now comes this bit of information from I offer it as another example of why I still refuse to shop at Wal-Mart.

Wal-Mart is, apparently, hankering to launch a big initiative to stamp every product it sells with an eco-friendly rating label, some sort of grand, awareness-raising system to inform all Earth-conscious Wal-Mart customers — I know, I know: oxymoron — where every product falls on the you-are-destroying-the-planet scale. It’s a rather wonderful idea that could radically transform the company’s entire supply chain for the better.

Except for one thing: Wal-Mart has no plans to slap a giant label on its own bloated megastores themselves, no plans to reveal the enormous waste and destruction Wal-Mart itself embodies merely by existing, by shipping a million products over from sweatshops in China and Malaysia and India. Nor does it plan to offer a Smiley-Face Local Economy Decimation rating to all those countless small towns it’s swooped into and gutted. But hey! That giant tub of HFCS-blasted caramel corn? Not all that bad for the planet. Yay!

A Wing and a Prayer

        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 for 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!

Why Women Love UPS Men

This is my favorite blog rant on why women love the UPS man. 

       You saw her in the movie Legally Blonde, right? The manicurist with the crush on the UPS man. Millions of American women can relate: we have a secret, shameful, UPS man fetish. Now, granted, none of us have ever had a UPS man that looked like that one in Legally Blonde. But even though UPS men on film are exaggerated in the looks department, is there any class of male in the whole world with more allure than the brown-Bermuda-shorted, brown-socked, occasionally hatted, UPS delivery man? My heart begins to pound whenever I see that brown truck coming up the driveway, being driven by him. And I pity European women who have no UPS men.
        Or do they? This is a disturbing thought, because Frenchwomen might woo the UPS man with wine, the Italian women might ply him with panetta and prosciutto. The UPS man won’t stop for my warmed-over pinto beans and flat Coke from a 2-liter bottle that the kids didn’t screw closed all the way.
Sexxy        So let us hope that UPS has not gone global. Not that it matters. Even without competition from foreign women, my love for UPS men will be forever unrequited, and I know it. There is a sort of distancing manuever, a guarded friendliness, in my personal UPS men (I have three) that suggests they have seen every pathetic overture a lonely woman might make, and some from the men too. And every damn UPS man in the friggin’ force is married, unless they issue those gold bands standard with the uniform.
        This, however, does not put me off. I adore UPS men. I worship UPS men. I’m divorced now, but I felt the same way about the brown-suited darlings when I was married. I would jump into the truck with the UPS man in a hot second and be whisked away to deliver packages in romantic Flatshrub, Kentucky. Kevin James in TV’s King of Queens can carry an extra 40 pounds around, be married to a hot babe way out of his league, and female viewers never even notice. You can get away with a belly if you’re a UPS man, or baldness, or, very likely, leprosy. Women find you scrum-tiddly-umptious.
        I have some theories as to why UPS men are so sexy. As previously lamented, they are all married, and married men, as a class, have it all over the life-forms that you can find clinging to the fronts of singles bars, like fungi, from sea to shining sea. So, number one sexy secret of the UPS man? That oh-so-irresistible unavailability factor. Your UPS man’s been road-tested, in more ways than one, and some dame, somewhere, awaits his safe return. Prays for it, fervently, at her church prayer group every Wednesday night: “Lord, I pray for the safety of my sweet Robert as he does his rounds.” You also know–sight unseen–that sweet Robert has a picture of various and sundry rugrats taped to his dashboard, of whom he is the devoted father. He will not even look at you; he’s such a single-minded Provider. He will simply drop off your package, bask in your lustful admiration and thanks for 10 seconds, and be on his way.
        But here is the second secret of his sex appeal: He is providing for the praying wife and the dashboard rugrats, yes, but in your deep subconscious left-over from the cavewoman days, he’s providing for you, too. Never mind that you paid for the merchandise he’s delivering. You even paid for the shipping, and through the nose at that. Some part of you believes, on a very primal level, that the UPS man is hauling life-saving provisions (okay, it’s ankle boots and a funky belt that you don’t really need, but that’s not the point) to the mouth of the cave, and setting them down in a muscular fashion. This triggers, in you, a response that dates from at least the Paleolithic, i.e., gratitude, and an intense desire to drag his brown-clad booty into the “cave” to show him just how grateful you are.
Sexxy        This begs a question, however: why do only UPS men affect women in this way? Why not male letter carriers? Why not the Fed-Ex guys? They’re always married, and they bring stuff to your door, right?
        Well, I’ll admit that the United States Postal Service does have that old rep that neither snow, nor sleet, nor slush, nor sandstorm, nor simultaneous smiting by all of the above, shall divert them from their appointed rounds. That’s impressive. And Fed-Ex has much cooler trucks than UPS, with a blue and green on white color scheme, instead of yellow on brown. But a man from USPS or Fed-Ex would have to look like Brad Pitt to outdo sexy secret of UPS men number three: those brown shorts and brown knee socks. They are hotter than hot. They are reminiscent of Angus Young of AC/DC with his Aussie schoolboy stage duds. They make us feel all tender toward the UPS man; make us want to cook him a nice big pot of soup. Those darling shorts and socks make the UPS man appeal to women simultaneously in our desire to be pampered (with packages) and our maternal instincts. It’s a double whammy.
        He’s a good, good boy, the UPS man, and you wish you could take care of him for just a little while, and/or be the one woman in the tri-state delivery area who is womanly enough to make him break bad for, say, half an hour. But he is always in a hurry, and perhaps this is his greatest attraction. He is a will-o-the-wisp, ephemeral as a butterfly. You get just a glimpse of those socks and shorts, just enough to drive you wild–and he is gone.
        What about when UPS men switch to long pants in the winter? It doesn’t matter. We are still picturing them in those adorable shorts and socks. Which are–not to put too fine a point on it–the exact color of chocolate.
        The UPS man: I could just eat him up.

the_Old_Woman_in_a_Shoe blogger

Contract Defiance

     TScrew You, Love us corporate a--holes!he company has taken a stance of total defiance to the Teamster-UPS contract. They blatantly attack anyone that files a nine-five grievance, and the Union stands by. They blatantly ignore the grievance and continue forcing excessive overtime, and the Union stands by. They name call, harass drivers, using their own cell phones, and threaten, up to and including violence, and the Union stands by. They terminate without compassion for otherwise encouraged behavior, and the Union stands by.
     In what should be a very exciting time for the Teamsters Union, the rank and file membership that has been the base for the Teamsters is being deliberately attacked, and the Union stands by.  
                                     What are they waiting for?
     They are waiting for you to say something. If you, (the rank-and-file), do not speak up, they will do nothing. Sometimes the Teamsters can be their own worst enemy. Of  course your complacency contributes to the problem. 
                    Get off your dead ass and complain!

Zooming In- The New Harrassment Tool

Here is a typical map of a drivers delivery day. The driver reportedly was on Parker Rd. making a delivery. When you look at this scene nothing seems out of the ordinary. The indicator is on Parker Rd. and that is where the driver recorded a stop. No sweat? Just wait.
The ever sharp I.E. guy decides the driver is a dirtbag, and/or the driver runs over on a regular basis, so the I.E. guy decides he is going to take a closer look at D.B. driver so he Zooms in. On the first Zoom the I.E. dude thinks he has found pay dirt. Look for yourself.
In fact Telematics has shown that the driver left his trace for some reason. The I.E. guy thinks he has found another lieing, cheating, thief, not doing what the company is paying him big money to do. The I.E. guy is going to nail this jerk for stealing time, and fuel from the company, so he decides to look even closer.
The I.E. guy really thinks he’s got the driver nailed. The map really shows what a time thief the driver is. He said he was at Wal Mart making a delivery, when in fact the map shows he is on Dransfeldt Ave, not at Wal Mart which has a Parker Rd. address. What a dirtbag this driver is. The driver is called into the managers office where he is confronted for stealing time, and  from the company and falsifying his records. The Steward is present, and the Division Manager is present. The driver has been called every kind of thief, and cheat for being off area, and not following his trace, and not recording any break, and altering his records. What a dirtbag he is.
                                                                                               But wait!
It turns out the driver was at Wal Mart. The shopping center is big, and when the Zoom key is used, it looks like the driver is way off area. The store has a Parker Road address, even though it sits off of that street. The fact is, the company is letting him know they think he is a dirtbag for doing his job. How proud is this driver to be a UPSer now! Why would he come to work with a good atitude, and care about the future of the company when they go out of their way to make him out to be a lieing, cheating, thief.
Welcome to the wonderful world of Telematics!
(images by Mapquest)

Charges Dropped Against Alleged Weed Whacker

Calling In Sick

   A new survey shows 80 percent of employees frequently show up to work while sick. Meghan McNeeley, Division Director for Office Team in Colorado, sorted through the results for us. She says a mere eight percent of respondents said they never come into the office when feeling under the weather.

        Survey respondents were asked: “How frequently do you go into work when youre feeling sick?” 
  Their responses:
  Very frequently: 49 percent
  Somewhat frequently: 31 percent
  Somewhat infrequently: 12 percent
  Not at all: 8 percent
        McNelley says managers acknowledge that ailing employees often come into work, but the practice may be more common than many realize.

        In a separate poll of 150 senior executives — including those from human resources, finance and marketing departments — just 21 percent of respondents said they thought sick employees came into work very frequently when ill.

        Executives were asked: “How often do you think employees come to work when they feel sick?” 
  Their responses:
  Very frequently: 21 percent
  Somewhat frequently: 51 percent
  Somewhat infrequently: 25 percent
  Dont know/no answer: 3 percent
        Many employees fear they’ll be disciplined if they stay at home when they’re not feeling well, according to McNeeley. However, she says its preferable to take a day or two to recuperate rather than risk exacerbating a condition or passing an illness on to coworkers. 
        With greater flu concerns this year, many companies are actively encouraging sick employees to stay home. McNelley believes managers should let employees know that staying away from the office is the right thing to do when they are ill. Actions often speak louder than words — if supervisors show up when they’re feeling poorly, employees may feel pressure to do the same.


UPS Makes $445 Million in 2nd Quarter


UPS announced after-tax profits of $445 million for the second quarter of 2009, up from $401 million in the first quarter.


In the worst economy in our lifetimes, UPS made $846 million in after-tax profits in the first six months of the year. By comparison, FedEx lost $779 million from December 1, 2008 to May 31, 2009–the most recent six months for which the company’s earnings info is available.
Remember this report is provided to you to let you know this company is making this kind of money even though you are all lieing, cheating, theiving, time stealing, dishonest drivers. At least that is what they think of you. Yes they say it all of the time.

Don’t You Miss It?

     I had someone ask me the other day if I missed UPS. I retired last Fall and I walked away and haven’t looked back. Do I miss it? I didn’t have to think too long before I said emphatically, “NO! I don’t miss it.”
     But the question made me think. What would I miss about it? Would I miss the long hours? I don’t think so. I’ve been working a couple of days a week for a local florist. It’s about 3 hours as day and it pays $6 a stop delivering bouquets. I can take home about $100 a week and that pays for my health insurance that I get through my pension. I’ve gotten used to the hours, going in at 10 and getting home by 2. I don’t miss the hours at UPS.
     Maybe I should be missing the heat of driving a brown solar oven all day long. And that light-weight, cool summer uniform. My floral delivery truck is air conditioned.  I don’t know how I lived through so many summers at UPS. A summer in a UPS truck is cruel and unusual punishment. People get arrested when they leave their dog in their car in the summer, we should have the same concern for the UPS man.
     Or what about that warm fuzzy feeling that comes from working for a boss that respects and appreciates you? Oh wait…that’s not how it is at UPS. It’s more like crazed fear. It’s an angry feeling that never seems to go away. No, I don’t miss that either.
     So what do I miss about UPS?
      I miss a feeling that we used to have when the job of driving was a thinking man’s game. We left the building entrusted with $10.000 worth of boxes that had to be delivered the fastest way possible within a defined area.  We juggled time commitments with the customer’s needs and the company’s demands and we made it happen. We set it up and we ran it off. Everyday. We would look through the truck, set ‘em up, and we could remember what stops we had as we drove down the street. We knew our next 5 stops. We were constantly fine tuning our daily plan to find the quickest and best way to get things done.
     And the company knew we were the best drivers on the street and they respected us. Our own company respected us. Imagine that. And our customers loved us. The company was profitable, the stock was private and the value was stable. It was a good time to be a UPS driver. I had pride in my job, in my company and in myself. It was a great feeling. That’s what I miss.
     But I’ve missed that for a long time, not just since my retirement. That feeling has been gone from UPS almost since the strike in ’97. That’s when the camaraderie between management and the workers went south. Then the stock went public in ’99 and the corporate focus turned away from the workers and the stockholders became the most important people outside Atlanta. Then PAS came along and the company told us to stop thinking. Telematics makes us into robots.
     There is nothing about the job today to miss. The money is good while you are working but you pay a price for it. A big price. It’s called “a life.” I haven ‘t looked back since my retirement because I’m too busy with life. It’s a good feeling, I highly recommend it.

Ken Hall’s Letter to the Washington Times: Rules apply to FedEx

Your editorial “The fate of FedEx” (Opinion, Thursday) mischaracterizes a House amendment to Federal Aviation Administration reauthorization. The bill is now before the Senate.

You describe the House amendment as a measure that would apply “only to FedEx Express.” This suggests that the House singled out FedEx Express for unfair treatment — an interpretation that is exactly backward.

FedEx Express has for years taken advantage of a loophole sneaked into legislation at the 11th hour. The loophole lets FedEx Express evade the labor law that its 46 competitors must follow. FedEx Express is the only company in the freight and package-delivery industry that is given such a preference. Congress is set to restore fairness even as the company resorts to threats and intimidation to keep its special status.

FedEx has a long history as a bad corporate actor. The company is fighting efforts by Congress to make it play by the same rules as its competitors. Meanwhile, it also misclassifies thousands of drivers in its Ground Division as independent contractors, forcing taxpayers to pick up the costs for their unemployment and health care. Last month, eight state attorneys general sent a letter to FedEx questioning the way it classifies its Ground Division drivers.

Now FedEx is leveraging American jobs and threatening to cancel a $7.7 billion contract with the Boeing Co. if Congress forces it to operate under the same rules as every other package-delivery company in the country.

FedEx undoubtedly will try again to win favored treatment by making lavish campaign contributions to lawmakers and touting its track record of appointing them to its board when they retire.

The Teamsters have seen firsthand how a company can be profitable and live up to its corporate obligations to take care of its workers. Many UPS employees are represented by unions and are earning good wages and benefits. UPS still delivers packages on time.

Frankly, I’m a little surprised that such an outspoken advocate of free-market economics as The Washington Times would side with FedEx on this issue. FedEx has long enjoyed the advantages of an uneven playing field. Now the Senate is considering a bill that could remove government interference from the freight and package-delivery industry and put all 47 competitors on an equal footing.

It’s time for Congress to restore fairness to the overnight package delivery industry and make sure that all competitors play by the same set of rules.

Vice president
International Brotherhood of Teamsters