The new DIAD has a built in camera. What’s that camera for? According to all the scuttlebutt the company is putting the camera in the DIAD for additional proof of delivery. It will allow the driver to photograph the actual delivery point in troublesome areas giving the company more ammunition in the fight over Non-Delivery claims. Of course, who used to go out to analyze deliveries when a claim was made? Supervisors. Again the new technology is about reducing management, not attacking drivers. Although I’m sure managers, and supervisors will attempt to use it to speed up drivers, the reality is, they will be looking for ways to justify their existence since technology will be used to replace them. It really makes the driver worth another plug nickel in my view. The latest fear besides the DIAD camera is the “In-Cab” camera. I have not been able to determine that there is an actual plan to install cameras in the cabs, but all of the drivers are convinced that it’s coming. Of course I have been hearing that kind of speculation for years, and have even had to investigate complaints from drivers that secret cameras have been put in trucks to spy on the drivers. Given todays technology, cameras are a real possibility. Why would the company want them in the cab? Well let’s see, do you pick your nose? Do you scratch your ass while driving? Really an in cab camera could be used to monitor cell phone usage, distracted driver situations, texting, etc. The company already has the driver wired to see if they are using seat belts, and if the bulkhead door is closed. The third thing would be safety procedures such as “three points of contact”. Again monitoring that from afar would be the job of a supervisor that again would be in jeopardy of losing their job because of technology. Any low life can watch a monitor, so why pay supervisors a huge amount of money to watch drivers pick their noses. What should a driver do about cameras? The first thing would be to get informed on the protections provided in the contract regarding new technology and how it can be used in the disciplinary process. The next thing would be to talk to your steward and find out if your paranoia is actually based in fact, and not in fear. Also, get involved in the upcoming contract negotiations to be sure that your rights are addressed in the new contract. Finally, realize that technological changes in the company are less about disciplining drivers, than about getting rid of a top heavy, non-productive, expensive management system. Remember, managers produce nothing of profit to the company. That’s why every manager, or supervisor seems so desperate to survive. It’s all about the bottom line.
Life at UPS is a life under constant scrutiny. Wherever you go you’re being watched. Every move you make is noted in some form or another. The first method the company used, of course, was the stalking supervisor. The driver would be stalked, and snuck up on by the manager, or supervisor in the hopes of catching the driver cheating or stealing from the company. Then along came the days of the DIAD implementation. At first there were no times associated with a delivery stop. Then the company re-programmed the DIAD to show a time on every “stop-complete”, whether delivery or pick-up. (“Oh no, we’re all going to be fired.”) Next came route mapping, where the company could plot on a map the route a driver took, showing the times, and of course any discrepancies in the drivers day. Of course the company only used mapping when they thought a driver was stealing time from them. (Isn’t that every day?) With the implementation of EDD and PAS the driver no longer made the decision as to how they were going to run the route on any given day. A comparison of what EDD said should happen, and what the driver did, could be printed out, and put before the driver with a threat of discipline if the driver did not follow EDD. (Again, all drivers are time thieves, and dishonest, and if they are not following EDD, they are thieving from the company, or so they thought.) The latest technology for driver scrutiny, of course, is Telematics. Telematics gives management all the information possible off of GPS satellites available to the company. Start, stop, speed, location being the information most important in guessing at what the driver is doing, or not doing. Millions of dollars spent because, of course, the drivers cannot be trusted to make those decisions. (Even though the company made billions trusting them for over 100 years.) At this point, any self respecting driver would throw up his/her arms and say, “how can I possibly function under such close watch?” Well here’s even more discouraging news. Many business locations now have video set up to record goings on inside, and outside their businesses. Not only that, many residences also have recorders that are motion activated, and record any movements inside, and outside there homes. One of the most common tools management has in a disciplinary hearing is the video of a particular situation in which a driver may be involved. Many times it takes much of the doubt out of what actually happened in a situation. Click here for just such an example of what can be seen in outside video Never assume you are “not” being watched. Whenever you are in your Brown Suit you are more noticeable and your every move is being watched by someone. Someone whom you have no control over regarding the assumptions made about what you are doing. All of the idea of all the scrutiny is certainly overwhelming to any human, but there’s one thing to keep in mind. Finding trained people that can function under this kind of scrutiny, and remain professional, and do a professional job, are hard to find. While the company will never admit it to you, technology increases your value to the company. The days of using any “Joe Blow” as a driver are over. The cheating, humper dumper, newspaper route type of driver is a thing of the past. Eventually the driver, not doing the job by the “methods”, will be caught. If they are not caught by the company’s technology, they’ll get caught by the customer’s technology. That value is what will keep you with a solid career at UPS. You just have to get used to the idea that you are being watched, every second of every day.
Remember when? If your a driver that’s been around a few years, you might remember when the company used to put together soft ball teams on the weekends. They would sponsor weekend tournaments of drivers and their families at local parks. Managers and drivers would participate on the same teams together creating a level of comradery. All to build a feeling of team spirit and loyalty among the workforce. Remember when there used to be a safe driving award program? Drivers were rewarded for the number of years they would go without an avoidable accident. Every driver was given a catalogue to chose a prize depending on the number of years. On the five year accomplishments the prizes were fairly substantial, such as bikes for ten years TV’s for twenty, etc. In the later years they were also given a pin with a diamond, and there was a banquet held for drivers that achieved 25 or more years. Remember when their was also a “Years of Service” award. Drivers were rewarded for their years of service. They were given a plaque honoring the number of years, and they again had a catalogue of prizes to choose from. Remember when there was a magazine published to talk about the people that worked for the company, and their achievements both at work, and off the job? The magazine was called the “Big Idea”. How many of you remember what the “Big Idea” was? Of course the “Big Idea” was “Service”. The idea of the magazine was to honor the employees that worked together to provide service within the company to that customer outside the company. Remember when the TV commercials bragged about the quality of their drivers? The commercials would show the extra length drivers would go to in making their deliveries. They also showed the special relationships drivers would establish with the customers. How the customer could set their watch by the driver, and that if any problem arose, the customer could always turn to that same driver for resolution. These are just examples of what the company, “used to be”. Most of these programs were in the days before the Public Sale of Stock. These programs were in the days of James E. Casey. These programs were in the day when the company cared as much for the people that worked for it, as they did about the customer. The programs were when the company felt that the effort was for all of us, customer and employee alike. Isn’t it a shame that those are the “good ‘ole days”. All of these programs have been replaced with EDD, and PAS, and Telematics, and Production Standards, and Discipline, and Management By Intimidation. Any of you Rank and Filers feel a sense of pride over any of these programs? So the inquiring driver may want to know why the change in mentality towards the employees and their success? After the company went public with it’s stock, it’s all about one thing, and one thing only! It’s the company’s new “Big Idea”! The Bottom Line!
The company has taken a new plan to avoid having to pay Unemployment. They are able to combine the new Telematics system with the desire to terminate senior drivers, and the desire to send them down the road with no unemployment benefits. They use Telematics to show when a vehicle stops, and when it starts. They then have claimed that your break starts and stops based on the movement of those wheels. You do not get credit for putting your mirrors in. You do not get credit for entering times in your board. You do not get credit for washing your hands, or going to the bathroom. They claim that if you do claim that time for any of the above listed activities that you are, “stealing time from the company”. Telematics does not show any information about any action that takes place outside of the delivery process. Other than the seat belt, and bulkhead, and backing, it only shows stops, starts, and speed of the vehicle, and the vehicle location, all as a function of time. The system does not show questions from customers. The system does not show the driver dealing with damaged packages, or open packages. The system does not show a driver dealing with rabid animals, or people. Of course the company design is that any action outside of the delivery process is on the driver’s time. So of course the question would be, “Why would the company leap directly to the theft of time when such problems arise?” The answer is of course the quest for super production standards, the attempt to rid themselves of less than desirable drivers, and the desire to terminate for dishonesty. The Unemployment system in most states allows a company to protest an employees right to claim unemployment for theft from the company.There are a number of other reasons, violence, disappearing from the job, etc. The worst part of the whole attack is that the Union has become accepting of the Telematics information. Even though the contract specifically prohibits the information from being used against a driver, the mapping and times are routinely allowed to be presented in a case. The Union has accepted that all of the information is exact, and in fact is a clear reference of the drivers actions, setting the drivers up for failure in any case the company may have brought before them. It would seem to me that the Union has forgotten what it is like to be a driver on a daily basis, and in fact many of the BA’s have never had to survive with the company under the Telematics regime, and probably would be the first ones fired if they did. Of course when you go up the ladder within the Union officer ranks, that mentality becomes even more prevalent, which is unfortunate for the driver, because these are the people that are supposed to be representing the driver’s interests with the Company. The goal here is of course to make the Rank and File aware of the situations that you may face, and to give the Rank and File the ability to anticipate the politics of the Company/Union relationship. Write or call your Business Representative, and let him know that you want to be protected in these situations. A call to your Local Union principle officer would also be a good idea. To find your Local Union go to Teamsters.org. It also wouldn’t hurt to send a note to James Hoffa. Your world within the company is definitely under attack, and any fairness in the decisions that may affect you, are being taken out of the equation. If you don’t believe that, then you have your eyes closed.
I learned quickly that the company is constantly pushing. Constantly demanding. I also learned that they would take me out if I give them the opportunity. I started looking at what my life was like at UPS. I noticed that I was always one of the last trucks in every night. I was tired of only spending the weekend with my family, and even then I am so tired that I am no fun and kind of grouchy because I am worn out from the long week. My wife seems to be getting more distant and my kids seem to always have other stuff to do. I guess that’s because I’m never a part of their life. I decided Monday I would go to management and demand that they reduce my dispatch. Monday rolled around and I talked to my supervisor, telling him of my problems working so many hours, that it was affecting my family. He kind of chuckled, but he said he’d take a look at it and see where he could help me. I had an 11-hour day that day. I was optimistic that they were going to help so I again snuck in early on Tuesday, even though my steward had asked me not to. I had another eleven-hour day. Now I was getting pissed. No one seemed to want to help me. I threw a tantrum in front of the office with everyone around. The manager threatened to fire me if I didn’t knock it off. They told me that if I did the things I said about missing stuff, and going slow etc. that they would fire me again. The steward grabbed me by the arm and led me off into the corner. He told me I wasn’t helping myself by threatening management. All I was doing was opening the door for them to audit my every move through Telematics. He said it just doesn’t pay to make yourself a target, that there are other ways to achieve my goals. I confessed that I was having problems at home because of excessive hours, and that I was worn out from so many long days. He told me that if I listened to him, we would get the problem fixed. I said I’d try anything. The first thing we did was to go to the manager and apologize for my tantrum. I told the manager that I was struggling at home. We left it at that for the day. The steward told me to do a good job today, but to come see him first thing tomorrow. I worked my 11-hour day, and went home burned out again I was unsure what the steward was going to do as nothing had changed yet. I arrived the next morning and the steward met me before I could sort my car. He said the first thing I was to do was stay out of my car until my start time. I didn’t understand but agreed for the time being. We then went to my supervisor and informed him that I had been continually dispatched with over 9.5 hour days. The steward told him that I wanted my dispatch reduced, and that if they didn’t do it immediately he would file a grievance. The supervisor said OK and went to the pre-load manager and had him pull 25 stops. I was astounded. They had never pulled anything from me before. They always added to my day. The steward then instructed me that if I was still going over 9.5 hours, I was to notify the company by 2 o’clock that I needed help. The day went fine with the reduced dispatch and I returned to the building at six. I was home by six thirty. My kids met me at the door with a loud “Daaaaaaddy”. I had dinner with my family for the first time in months. It was great. My wife and I put the kids to bed and had a great evening together. We talked about what I’d been going through, but I told her I was on the right track, that I was going to be a member of the family again. She cried. The next day I asked the steward how he did all of this. He told me it was “tricks of the trade”. He said that if I had an hours problem again to bring it to his attention immediately. I suddenly began to see what the union meant to my family and me. They had control over my working conditions after all. All I had to do was ask for help.
In the 30’s people died to bring the Power of the Unions into existence. Massive physical, and financial abuse by the Companies of the time, motivated people to rise up and demand they be represented by Unions. These workers were not interested in getting something for nothing. They simply wanted to be treated fairly in the workplace. They simply wanted to be compensated at a fair rate for the work that they did. The corporate abuses of the day were so bad that many workers banded together to create what have become today’s Unions. Unfortunately many of our own Union members have listened to the media lies about our Union’s motivations in the workplace. People have been led to believe that the Unions are simply there to protect the lazy worker. The Unions are there for workers to get “something for nothing”. With the gradual weakening of the Unions the Corporations are again rearing their ugly heads. Politically the Corporate “powers that be” continue to attack the existence of the NLRB, (National Labor Relations Board), and also attack worker protections such as Unemployment, Workers Compensation, and OSHA. The continued weakening of these organizations is systematically putting workers at greater risk in their jobs, and causing the wage levels in this country to decrease. To their defense, the Corporations, have convinced many of the average Union workers, that they are going to somehow improve the life of that worker when the regulatory agencies are gone. The Corporations didn’t do that before, and they are making it clear that they are not going to do that now. Look at your life within Big Brown. Are they treating you better today? Are they more concerned about your safety on the job? Do they act appreciative of your efforts to move, and improve the company? Keep in mind that you are all looking at it from within a solid Union company. Can you imagine what it looks like inside the non-union companies? The day is here for the working people of this country to step up. A solid workforce cannot be defeated, or ignored. How much abuse will you endure before you will say something. No one is going to do it for you. Our Unions have been so successful, that they have created a “lazy, complacent” membership. The facts of today are, our Unions will not survive if we don’t stand up along with them. Our next contract negotiation begins in 2013. Prior to that will be International Officer elections, and many Locals will elect their officers also. Many people do not even vote in those elections. They have the complacent attitude that their vote doesn’t mean anything. The fact is they simply are too lazy to educate themselves, and formulate an opinion. It takes a certain amount of effort to formulate an opinion, and many simply find it hard to do. Some of the things you can expect to see in the negotiations are listed below. These are the speculations I have come up with based on many different sites, and discussions.
1. Two Tiered wage scales for newly hired drivers. (What that means is that any new driver hired after a certain date will be payed at a lower wage level, and will have a lower maximum wage. What it can do is give the company the incentive to attack, and drive out the older drivers working under the old wage rate.)
2. Forcing drivers to pay all, or a portion of their benefit package. (What this does is effectively reduce the current benefit package, and put a financial hardship on the worker to keep his or her healthcare and pension paid. Many workers will simply opt out for financial reasons, and the costs to the workers still paying will increase. )
3. Wage reductions, and/or raise freezes. (The consequences are obvious. No keeping up with inflation. Increasing company profits at the expense of the worker. Reducing the future ability to stay with the costs of goods and services.)
4. Reduction in Contractual Language to reduce the power of the employee to work within a safe, non-harassing environment. (Basically the company will attempt to take away the workers ability to grieve an unsafe, or an intimidating situation. Basically the company wants a “Like it, or Lump it” contract.)
5. Attacks on seniority. (When all else fails, that is what you have. It is what keeps you on the route you like. It’s what keeps you working ahead of the junior guy. It’s what prevents you from being laid off, when the business drops off. Without seniority the choices are made at the whim of the company.)
6. Pension benefit reductions. (In this day and age, the company controls the pension. Without contractual agreement, the company will be able to do as they please up to and including dissolving the pension. The pension has remained the “light at the end of the tunnel” for so many. As the time passes, it becomes the only hope for life outside of the Company.)
The obvious conclusion is that you, and your co-workers had better get involved. The Union functions because of you, not in spite of you. Today’ politics make it clear that you are under attack. If you don’t fight back, you will lose what you have.
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!