All posts by George

I Want My Life Back

This article on life at UPS comes to us compliments of the UPS Stony Brook Center, Local 804, Long Island, NY. Be sure to check out their website a Packagecarunion.com

                                                                                I Want My Life Back

I am a proud UPSer. I am the face of one of the most successful companies in the history of the planet. I am a proud Teamster, working at one of the largest union employers in the world. I have no interest in working for an anti-labor CEO like Fred Smith. I believe strongly in UPS and in unionism. UPS is a top corporate citizen and the “World’s most admired” delivery company. Organized labor and the Teamsters began in order to combat workplace abuses. Workers did excessive overtime and did not get to see their families. There was no safety in the workplace, endangering the workers, and there was favoritism and harassment.
One of the basic tenets for all labor agreements is the principle of “a fair day’s work for a fair day’s pay”. We have strayed too far from that principle, and I want my life back.
Our National Master Agreement contains language that states: “Employer shall make reasonable effort to reduce package car drivers’ workdays below 9.5 hours per day”. It does not say “paid day” or “planned day”. It says “workday”. Punch in to punch out is my work day. When people discuss their typical workday, it’s 9 to 5, not 9 to 2 and 3 to 5. People don’t work 35 hours a week plus 5 hours in breaks, they work a 40 hour week. Paid or not, breaks are part of the workday.
Lunch and breaks are unpaid. Unpaid is not the same as off the job. We are told the parameters in which we are allowed to take our breaks, and there have even been several instances where UPS management tried to instruct employees exactly when to take their break. We are told that we are allowed no more than a mile off-route. We are still representing the company and still accountable for our actions. We can’t fight with or insult the customers simply because we are not being paid. We are still responsible for the vehicle, diad, equipment, and cargo. If we fall down and get hurt during lunch, we are still covered by Worker’s Compensation. When the NY state DOT instituted it’s 14 hour rule, they specifically included break time, punch in to punch out. By law and contract we have to take our breaks.
The 40 hour week is the basis for the contract language contained in Article 3 of our Supplemental Agreement. “The basic workweek should be 40 hours, consisting of 8 hours per day, 5 days per week. Employees may be required to work overtime”. If we work 40 hours in 4 days, we have met our commitment. If that is the case, Friday should be an optional workday. The contract mentions mandatory overtime at times, our building is operating with a plan of 9.2 hours on road. This translates to 1 ½ to 2 hours of mandatory overtime daily. They further exacerbate this by exceeding their own excessive standard, with drivers often punching out after 12 hours.
Our Local Sort starts at 6 o’clock, with a 3 ½ hour guarantee. With the vast majority of drivers returning after 7 o’clock, how can the Local Sort turn the work around for the outbound trailers? Drivers returning at 6:30, which is an actual 9 ½ hour workday, makes more sense and meshes with the Local Sort operation.
Overtime excesses rob the Union of both pension contributions, and jobs. Each center does roughly 100 overtime hours per day, sometimes while laying off drivers. UPS should be honoring their commitments and the Union should be demanding jobs. A “scheduled off” day does not contribute a pension credit. Excessive overtime tires out the drivers and limits the need for a 5th day’s pay. When the guys try to take off to allow the laid off drivers to work, we are trying to help our union brothers, and in fact we are helping to screw them. The Teamsters promote organizing to create more Teamster jobs. These Teamster jobs are right here. The excessive overtime is cutting out at least 8 full-time jobs in each center. As one of America’s top corporate citizens UPS has a responsibility to the public to try and create jobs. During this “global economic meltdown”, UPS made 2 billion dollars profit. Rather than helping to stimulate the economy by creating jobs, UPS chooses to reduce staffing and asks us to contribute more for our medical coverage and take a reduction in pension benefits. I want UPS to be successful, but UPS needs to share the success with the people that helped bring it.
We are not meeting customer expectations or our commitment to our customers. We guarantee the day of delivery and we do a good job of meeting expectations for our commercial stops, delivering by 5 o’clock, which is considered normal business hours. After the majority of workers have headed home, we are delivering our residential stops. People are having dinner, getting the kids ready for bed, winding down their day, and we are leaving boxes at their door. If we don’t make delivery by 6:30, we didn’t really meet our obligation.
Increases in overtime lead to more injuries and accidents. OSHA lists rushing, fatigue, and frustration as the top three causes of injuries and accidents. A typical day for one of my closest friends at work consists of waking at 6, followed by a shower, shave, getting the uniform ready, breakfast, then a 1 ½ hour drive to work. Through the guard booth, inside and upstairs to the locker room, then down to the pcm. Work until 7:30 or 8, back to locker room, then drive home. Dinner at 9:30, not considered healthy dinner time. The kids are in bed and the wife is exhausted from working her job and taking care of everything at home. Bed at 11:00, too late for a healthy 8 hours of sleep, and start all over again the next morning. Doing this for the month of December is understandable. Doing this as a way of life is unconscionable.
The growing frustration can be felt throughout UPS and the Locals. Forums and message boards across the country are full of these stories. Some Locals have even taken to renting planes to carry flyover messages and billboards to promote their mounting displeasure.
When unions began, workplace abuses were rampant. We created safety in the workplace and now it’s been stolen and used as a tool for harassment. I work to live, I don’t live to work. I want a fair day’s pay for a fair day’s work. I don’t want my family life or my health destroyed. I want my life back.

-Mike Hagenburg

Recess Appointments

     With the recent recess appointments to the Labor Board, President Obama is finally backing the people, (his base) that elected him. Of course the tone of the article is how the world is going to end, but any union person should be glad that the government is finally looking to support labor. The only real way for our economy to recover is to provide quality jobs to Americans. The only quality jobs that exist in this country anymore are the good Union jobs. 
     When you hear someone whine about being out of work, ask them if they support the Unions.
                                                                 Article on the Appointments

Repubs: More Push for More Corporate Money

     The Money, More Money, Wheeeeeeee!quote below is from an MSNBC article about the spending habits of the Republican Party. Of course both parties are guilty of going after “big corporate money”. It shows the Republicans are desperate to keep us in a Corporatist society. We desperately need election reform. Will it ever happen? Not until the revolution.
    “Under Steele’s leadership, the RNC is pressing for more freedom in how it raises money; it is challenging a 2002 law banning it and the Democratic Party from collecting big contributions from corporations and others known as soft money. Steele said last week that the GOP will take the case to the Supreme Court.” (msnbc)


Here’s the whole article

Ex-UPS Worker Wins Case

BOSTON – An Agawam man has been awarded more than $800,000 from his former employer, United Parcel Service, after the Massachusetts Commission Against Discrimination determined the firm engaged in discrimination based on his disability.

The award, which includes back pay and damages for emotional distress, is among the largest the state agency has ever made in a discrimination case, its press liaison Barbara J. Green said on Monday.

UPS has filed a notice of appeal in the case, Green said.

The worker, William Anderson, a 21-year employee of UPS at its West Springfield center, claimed he was the victim of discrimination based on his diagnosis in 2005 with bipolar depression and anxiety disorder, according to Green. He claimed UPS effectively dismissed him when they refused his request to be transferred from a nighttime managerial post to a less stressful day job.

As compensation for the employer’s discrimination, the hearing officer awarded back pay in the amount of $143,970, front pay in the amount of $603,520 and damages for emotional distress in the amount of $125,000. The compensation totals $872,490.

Anderson, who is now a systems manager at a local hardware store, last worked at UPS in the spring of 2007, according to his lawyer, Maurice M. Cahillane, of Egan, Flanagan and Cohen in Springfield. Cahillane said his client is “very happy with the award. I do think we expect to be able to prevail on appeal.”

“I think the award they made is just based on the evidence,” said Cahillane. He described Anderson as a “longtime employee who essentially gave them his whole career and they pretty much ruined his career. His last job there was a preload manager where he was basically in charge of running nighttime operations and making sure all the packages (got) out.”

The West Springfield UPS facility, located at 120 Wayside Ave., employs between 200 and 250 people.

The attorney for UPS, Michael C. Harrington, of the law firm Murtha Cullina, said the company was “shocked by the award mainly because the evidence wasn’t disputed.” He added, “I found it very interesting that the hearing officer didn’t specifically identify what job he could do. It was generic in that regard.”

After being granted medical leaves and receiving treatment for his disorder, Anderson had asked UPS to let him relinquish his nighttime managerial position and reassign him to a less stressful supervisory position on the day shift.

His request was supported by medical evidence, a doctor’s recommendation that he be allowed to work as a supervisor during the day, and by evidence that the company frequently reassigns employees from one position to another, the commission said.

The hearing officer in the case concluded Anderson was “constructively discharged” as a result of the company’s failure to participate in a reasonable dialogue with him regarding his job-related limitations and its refusal to grant him a reasonable accommodation, according to Green. Constructive discharge is when an employee is forced to leave employment, she said.

The agency’s hearing officer did not accept the position of UPS that it declined to transfer the employee to a daytime job because his doctor had not filled out required paperwork, Green said. The hearing officer also discredited UPS’ assertion that there were no positions he could perform, she said.

Harrington said most UPS employees work between 50 and 60 hours a week and usually stay until all packages are loaded and delivered. “It’s a great company, and you can make a significant salary on a high school education” with many retiring at 55, he said.

Harrington said if the award prevails on appeal, he plans to further appeal it with legal action in Hampden Superior Court. “We feel there are several pure legal questions. I feel our appeal has a lot of merit,” he said.

Anderson filed his complaint in February 2008, according to Green. It was investigated by staff from the agency’s Springfield office during a three-day hearing.

So-called “front pay” is awarded when a person can no longer work due to no fault of their own, and the amount is what they would have earned had they continued their employment.

The commission has investigated more than 3,000 cases over the last year enforcing anti-discrimination laws in employment, housing, lending and public accommodation, according to Green.

By PAMELA H. METAXAS, Masslive.com

The Death of the Lieing Driver

   We Know What Time It Is, Do You?  With everybody worrying about the implementation of Telematics, the realities create very interesting scenarios. Everybody is worried about being watched. Everybody is worried about wearing their seatbelt, or closing their bulkhead door. Everybody is worried about the length of their lunch break, or being parked to long for any reason. Everybody is worried about not being on trace, or being somewhere they’re not supposed to be.
               Everybody is worried right?
               The trouble is many drivers are not worried about the right things! 

     Even management has forgotten that many drivers have been taught, and pushed, to falsify their records in order to make commitments on Next Day Air. Upper management puts out a report showing Next Day Air discrepancies from 10:15 to 10:30. They then print a correlated report showing what time those Next Day Air discrepancy packages were actually delivered. In addition they will pull up a Telematics map showing whether the driver was actually at that stop when the driver shows the discrepancy.
     The end result in the Englewood building was 5 drivers, to date, that have been Terminated for falsifying their records. They showed Air “send agains”, or “Customer Requests Late Delivery”, on their DIADs only to deliver them at 10:40 or 10:50. All of them admitted they were trying not to show “late air”. 
     Each also contended that they had been taught by management to do this in order for the “late air” not to show up on the center report. These are the real dangers to the drivers. Staying on area is easy. Taking only your hour lunch is easy. Not visiting with the customers is easy. Cheating as management taught you, and suddenly finding out they will fire you for working as directed is not easy.
     The word on the street is that lawsuits have been filed over these cases. Time will tell the end result of that. One of the terminations even involved a 97 scab. One of the companies finest. The company wanted everyone to know they will cut the throat of their own babies if need be.
     So we come back to the usual stand of the Steward. Do not lie on your records. Be where you are supposed to be. Do your job as the company teaches you to do.
                        
Listen to your union steward and you will have a longer career with the company than any human can stand.

TELEMATICS is UPS’ NEW Big Brown “WATCHDOG”………. So DONT let it Bite You!


This article on Telematics comes to us compliments of the UPS Hauppauge Center, Local 804, Long Island, NY. Be sure to check out their website thehauppaugecenter.com.

  Being drivers for Big Brown,We have encountered many obstacles. UPS has rolled out Technological changes year after year that we had to deal with. Telematics Is the next BIG thing….. If you dont have it in your building,Get ready because its coming.


  Telematics gathers data from the Diad,GPS and what many of you see in your trucks now that are called “SENSORS”. Mgmt knows exactly when you turn on the truck,shut it off, Drive without your seatbelt(You should always have It on) or drive with your bulkhead door open. They know what you are doing all day long. The system Spits out a daily report on every single little thing from how many feet you backed up while driving to you using your diad while driving(which you shouldnt be doing)or how many packages you delivered and how long it took you to deliver at that stop.Just like the so called “SPOHR” Telematics basically gives them an “over allowed” for the day.Telematics wont take into consideration,that you are waiting for a delivery or pick-up or problems with customers wordlship and they cannot print “end of day” or you having to clean out your truck or having to use the bathroom.


  You are now being OJS’ every single minute of every single day….. so as Big Brown puts it…….FOLLOW YOUR METHODS!!!!As usual,You must do your job.Dont do anything stupid! Dont sign for packages… Dont scan or complete pickups if you are not at the location.If there are pickups in your board that mgmt has placed in there that you DONOT go to…Have them removed .Another problem is NDA.If you cant make it…..Let Mgmt know. DONOT take it upon yourself to sheet them as “NR”and deliver later.This is Falsification of documents.AND>>>>>>>>>>>>Most Importantly you Lunch hour….Dont go off/rte and dont drive 10 minutes to lunch and take your hour break than take 10 minutes to drive back to your route. If you dont understand this……Let me know and I will explain it to you! 

When Conservatives Are Right…

Pat Buchanan had a column March 12 on manufacturing, The Disemboweling of America, that hits the nail on the head. In fact, if I fairly excerpt enough of the column and send you over to read it, my work here is done. For today.


Buchanan begins by outlining just how much our country has lost by allowing others, particularly China, to take over manufacturing.



Though Bush 41 and Bush 43 often disagreed, one issue did unite them both with Bill Clinton: protectionism.


Globalists all, they rejected any federal measure to protect America’s industrial base, economic independence or the wages of U.S. workers.


. . . From 2000 to 2009, industrial production declined here for the first time since the 1930s. Gross domestic product also fell, and we actually lost jobs.


In traded goods alone, we ran up $6.2 trillion in deficits — $3.8 trillion of that in manufactured goods.


And what are the implication of this loss of manufacturing?



. . . for every dollar we send abroad for oil or gas, we send $4.20 abroad for manufactured goods. Why is a dependency on the Persian Gulf for a fraction of the oil we consume more of a danger than a huge growing dependency on China for the necessities of our national life?


… How many know that every modern nation that rose to world power did so by sheltering and nurturing its manufacturing and industrial base…


. . . No nation rose to world power on free trade. …


Nations rise on economic nationalism; they descend on free trade.
[emphasis added]


Buchanan wrote an excellent, important column and I encourage readers to click through and read the whole thing.


So, this “free trade” stuff has worked out for us about as well as the “free market” stuff worked out for the economy. Free market and deregulation ideology destroyed the economy. Free trade has destroyed our ability to earn money and recover from the destruction of the economy.


It is time to formulate a national industrial policy/economic strategy, impose tariffs as necessary to balance trade – especially in the case of Chinese currency manipulation – and set up taxes and penalties to stop companies from moving any more manufacturing out of the country.
Dave Johnson, Campaign for America’s Future

How Important is Your Union to You Now?

     How important is the Teamsters Union to the average UPS driver today? Well, let’s look at the wonderful world we live in at Big Brown. With the implementation of PAS the company has tighter control of your dispatch, and your load. They feel you can do more in less time. Of course we know how they love to push production to the N’th degree.
      The Teamsters, fortunately for us all, has maintained limitations on overtime hours. The vast majority of drivers give 100% everyday to the company. Yet the company continues to demand those drivers give up their family lives for the bottom line. Fortunately for those drivers, the Teamsters Union has given them a voice in spending time with their families.
     The Teamsters negotiated the Nine-Five restriction on hours. The company continues to fight and push to work drivers ten and eleven hours a day, but you will notice that the drivers that turn to the Teamsters are usually in by 6, while the wimpy guys, afraid to say anything, are in at 8 or 9 even on a daily basis.
      The check in area has two busy times. The first busy time is when the Teamsters get in at 6, the next is 8:30 when the guys, without lives, get in.
     The implementation of Telematics will bring a huge need to the drivers for representation by the Teamsters. A key note is that the Who's got your back?Teamsters negotiated language that prevents the company from taking discipline based solely on technological information. The company must “directly” observe a behaviour in order to write discipline. Thanks for that!
     Telematics is a highly technical system that provides a great deal of information to the company about a drivers day. The problem is all of the information is subject to management’s interpretation. Many of you know that when you get along with a manager, life is good. With Telematics, when a manager hates you, Telematics arms them with a great deal of subjective information they can use to harass you. I have called it Harassamatics in the past. Again the Teamsters have built protections into the contract which give you power through the grievance process to stop unfounded harassment.
     So where would you be without the Teamsters to get your back? Working twelve hour days, or more. No family life, or any family at all. Relentless, brow beating management, and you with no voice. Of course none of this even addresses the fact that you are the highest paid employees in the small package trades. You have become the rare employee with good healthcare that is paid for, and you still have a pension waiting for you at the end of the line.
     Many people continue to bash the union as if it’s a horrible entity.
      My question to you is, “Where would you be, without the Teamsters?”

Tutoring Telematics

   Are you where you're supposed to be?  With the implementation of Telematics across the country, many drivers, and Union Stewards are at a loss about how to deal with the new system. Of course the company loves to let every driver know that they can use the system to brow beat, badger, and even fire drivers that vary from their assigned tasks of the day. They love to put the fear of “god” into all of the drivers that they can watch their every movement.
     First lets talk about the realities of Telematics. The system is set up to monitor a few functions. Seat belt usage, bulk head door closure, and vehicle position. Those are the keys for the driver. There are a few other functions such as vehicle condition monitoring to help the mechanics determine service needs for the vehicles.
     First seat belts. Wear them. Every stop, every time the vehicle is put into motion. If you’re not, you know you are doing wrong. Make a conscious effort to have them on all day. If the management comes to you about not wearing them, you will be able to argue the function of the sensors in the system. We have found a number of issues with the seatbelt sensors. If you wear your seat belts and you show up on the reports, raise hell. Remember, they must physically observe you not wearing the seatbelt to take discipline.
     Second is your bulkhead door sensor. Same deal as with the seatbelt sensor. Close it. Every time, every place you go. Simple. Again they must physically observe you leaving it open, but if you do, they will be out to look. If you’re closing it, great. If not you could be subject to discipline.
    Third and the most complicated is the vehicle position. Basically the vehicle transmits all movement functions to the satellite through GPS, and a few sensors such as the reverse sensor. The computer puts together all of this information to create reports for management. They have a hundred different ways to print out the information depending on what they want to harass you about. They can print a report about where you backed, and when you backed. Did you back first? Did you pass a stop and back up to it? How far did you back? They can print a report that shows your entire day of backing, and how far at each incident. In conjunction with the backing monitor, they can also tell how far you drove without your seatbelt on.
     They can tell basically how fast you were going in a particular situation. The GPS sends speed data to the computer also.
     The GPS also is combined with a time function. They will know how long the vehicle is stopped. How long it is between stops. Is the vehicle on trace. Were there any excessive gaps of time between stops.
     Here is what Telematics cannot tell them. The “Big T” can’t tell them about customer problems. The “Big T”  cannot tell them about customer needs and problems, or COD’s or missing packages that are in EDD. T can’t tell them about traffic problems, construction, road blocks, full parking areas, etc.The “Big T” cannot know what your bodily needs are either. The biggest complaint from management will be about your potty breaks. I call management the “Poop monitors” with the implementation of Telematics. The other failure of Telematics is driver meets. The system cannot “see” so driver meets totally look screwed up on the reports.
     So what is the bottom line? It’s the same song you all have heard from your Union Stewards for years. Do your job as you have been trained. You’re job is not a social event. You are making delivery stops, not “visits”. You are not required to be rude to the customers. In fact you can be disciplined for rude complaints. Telematics will really only serve to keep people on their area which is what they should be doing anyway. Report any reason to be off area such as driver meets, misloads, customer concerns or OMS srew-ups. Report discrepancies and the problem becomes management’s, not yours. Take the monkey off your back.
     Work to the rules. You will have a peaceful life. Always take your Union steward with you to talk to management. The job hasn’t changed much, as long as you are doing the job.
     If you are screwing around, the “Lord and Master” is watching.

How Safe is Your Job?

     How secure is your job in today’s new world economy? A lot of us feel that with UPS being the big winner by carrying all the free trade goods between nations, that our future looks pretty bright. But will the US be able to compete in the drastically altered world marketplace and if we can’t, how safe will our jobs be?
     I think we all agree that the recovery we are supposedly experiencing isn’t producing any real jobs here at home. How many drivers are seeing new manufacturing starting up on their routes? Are there any jobs coming back to America that were off-shored in the past 10 years? UPS is doing a great job of streamlining its operation to compete in the scaled down US economy. But the success of our economy in the past decade was fueled by consumer spending and without good jobs, spending can’t go on forever. Free trade?
     Until American workers can compete in the world market, the captains of industry will continue to overlook us. The problems that Toyota is having has shed some light on just what American workers are up against in this new world competition. Toyota has always kept its operations pretty secret and most of us assumed that Japanese workers were just like us. We always thought it was the low wage Chinese workers that we had to worry about.
     But check this out.
     In an article entitled “Toyota workers raised safety concerns with bosses in 2006 memo“, in the LA Times, the plight of Japanese car workers was exposed. In an effort to kill Detroit carmakers as its main US rivals, Toyota quietly took the hammer to its workforce. “Over the years, even before the recent worldwide recalls, Toyota was warned about declining product quality and worsening working conditions at its Japanese plants.”
      When Japanese Unions reported the abuses, they were ignored at home and abroad. “The report linked Toyota to human trafficking and sweatshop abuse in connection with its importing of foreign guest workers from China and Vietnam to work in its Japanese factories.” “Many are pressured to work overtime without pay, the report claimed, adding that there were signs similar practices were emerging in the United States.” 
    
This is the new world economy that US workers are supposed to compete in. Not only are wages and working conditions in the third world countries intolerable by our standards, but even in places like Japan we are competing against practices like free overtime. How many hours of free overtime would you work this month to compete in the free trade world economy? 
     “In 2002, at age 30, the father of two collapsed at his desk of sudden heart failure. It was 4:30 a.m. and Kenichi Uchino had finished his assembly line shift hours earlier. But as a team leader, he was responsible for completing his paperwork on his own time.” “The pattern had long concerned Uchino, who routinely worked 14 hours a day. In his final month, his wife says, he worked 144 hours of unpaid overtime, a common practice known as “service to the company.””
    
So this is what we are up against when we talk about competing in the world market and bringing jobs back to America. This is what free trade has brought and our corporate leaders want us to compete for these new jobs. As the US manufacturing base continues to shrivel, how many drivers will UPS need and what will be expected of us?
     How safe is your job?