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.


KEN HALL
Vice president
International Brotherhood of Teamsters

It’s Simple

It’s simple. Do the job, by the book, or you will be fired. That is the message given to the drivers at our AM meeting yesterday. The last statement is if you are fired the company simply will not want you to work here. We have harped to you all on these pages about doing the job. Don’t falsify your delivery records in any way, shape, or form. Don’t be where you’re not supposed to be.
     You will certainly get into many arguments with management over the nickels, and dimes of time under Telematics. What will cost you your job is playing games with the air commit times. Playing games with saying you are delivering at an address you aren’t at. The company has taken the attitude that you are the highest paid in the small package industry, and you will perform at the highest level.
     I’m not making any comment here about that, it’s just the way things are today. Get used to it. Or as the company so politely says:
                                                                                          Get another Job!

Who Stands Up for You and Me?

    Each year the FBI issues its Crime in the United States Report, which documents murder, robbery, assault and other street crimes. They don’t, however, publish a yearly report of corporate crime committed in the United States. Most corporate crimes and violence go undetected because, unlike other criminal groups in the United States, major corporations have enough power to define the laws under which they are held accountable.
        Shut up and get to workThe casualty rate for working people in the United States is higher than many people realize because the media focuses on interpersonal crime. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration reported that over 11,000 workers die in their workplace each year. Another 50,000 working people die prematurely from occupationally related diseases, in addition to 1.8 million job injuries annually. OSHA cited that most workplace deaths are caused by poor safety standards and lax enforcement of workplace laws. When corporations speed up production or cut back on staff, exhaustion and stress are dangerous threats to working people.
        Despite the relative weakness of OSHA, Washington lobbyists representing the business elite are actually trying to eliminate OSHA. The National Association of Manufacturers and United Parcel Service are the leading corporate lobbyists against job safety standards and enforcement. The right to a safe environment for all workers was won by pressure from consumer advocates like Ralph Nader and unionists. OSHA has only 1,800 inspectors for more than six million workplaces. With roughly 90 million workers nationwide, this averages out to one inspection per workplace every 70 years. Nevertheless, big business vehemently opposes OSHA.
        The public’s perception of crime and criminals is painted by a media controlled by monopoly corporations. Fox News Corporation, owned by wealthy Republican contributor Rupert Murdoch, has nightly features on Fox TV like “America’s Most Wanted” and “Cops” to glorify law enforcement’s targeting of poor and disenfranchised drug users. Most of what people see on corporate-controlled television are dramas about serial killers, hidden video “caught on tape” shows or police busting minorities in the “ghettos.” Never on television or in reality are there law enforcement agents busting down the doors of corporate executives who knowingly violated workplace safety laws, or who robbed their employees of millions of dollars.
        Corporate crime is rampant not only through a lack of enforcement of the law, but also because crime is built into the economic system. Corporate criminal behavior could be looked at as oversocialization of amoral capitalist ideals. The only concern of capitalist America is to squeeze as much profit value out of labor power as possible. Every dollar a company spends on safety for workers and consumers is one dollar less in profits. From a capital accumulation standpoint, it is a rational—although villainous—business decision to skimp on safety.

Sarah Turner

Be Prepared-Start Today

In order to be prepared for Telematics, you need to start today. Practice running your route exactly by the book without a Supervisor on the car. You will then be prepared, ready, and calm when they do ride with you. You will know what is reasonable, and how much you should do in a given day. You will also be able to spot their games, such as a massaged load, areas removed, etc. You will then have a fighting chance when they drag your butt into the office to discipline you for failing to meet their imaginary numbers. If you are prepared, your life at UPS will become easier. You won’t have to sweat their harassment. Do it or else!

Guilty as Sin

      UPS likes to take drivers into the office and tell them that they have vioalted the methods or violated the contract and that they are guilty as sin. Management will use the opportunity to rant and rave about integrity, implying the company has lots and the driver has none. But in reality, the company violates the contract every day. They can’t see their own shortcomings, or they don’t want to, because violating the contract works to their advantage.
        Here are just a few ways that UPS is guilty of violating the contract.
        Art. 17…The Employer will not allow employees to work prior to their start time without appropriate compensation. Every center has drivers who come in early and go through their cars. The company ignores it because it’s cheaper than paying them to go through their cars later or paying the preload to do the job right. Watch out
        Art. 3…..The Employer agrees that the function of supervisors is the supervision of Employees and not the performance of the work of the employees they surpervise. Anybody who doesn’t think the company violates this provision on a daily basis is deaf, dumb and blind. UPS is probably vioating this article somewhere in the world as you read this.
        Art. 37…The Employer shall not in any way intimidate, harass, coerce or overly supervise any employee in the performance of his or her duties. Like this never happens!
        Art. 21…..nor shall there be any discrimination against any employee because of union membership or activities.That means there shall be no retaliation for filing a grievance. If you don’t think the company violates this article, file a grievance tomorrow and watch what happens.
        These are just a few of the areas where the company is guilty of violating the contract. I could list more but my doctor has advised me to avoid thinking about things that make my blood pressure go through the roof. But the next time management gets up on their high horse and talks down to you, point out a few of these things.
         If you read your contract book, I’m sure you will find a few more too.

Calling All Stewards!

                       Calling all UPS Teamster Stewards!
    
The attack on the hard working people at UPS has begun with Telematics. The first shots have been fired in a number of locations around the country. The intent to eliminate senior drivers is becoming more evident everyday. 
     Calling All Stewards!Telematics is being used by management as a harassment tool. They will soft speak you during implementation, telling you it’s being put in for safety, not to be used for production, or harassment. The fact is it’s only purpose is to eliminate management, and make the surviving sups. more powerful amongst the drivers. Sups. can sit at a desk and monitor 30 or more drivers at a time. They can pick the fly-sh-t out of the pepper of every minute of every day. They will do all of that.
     Every steward out there needs to make a call to his or her Business Agent and tell them they are afraid of what is going to happen with the implementation of Telematics. The Teamsters have been very complacent about the systems implementation, I feel, because they are wrapped up with legislation to organize Fed-Ex and get EFCA passed. While both of those issues are extremely important, the company is letting the dog in the back door. The Teamster officers and BA’s just aren’t up on the new technologies, so their reaction time is very slow.
     You can be terminated and slam dunked through the panel system before you even know what hit you. The Teamsters on the other side of the table at the panel hearings have a “well that’s pretty solid information”, attitude when they hear a case. They think the system is infallible, and they are buying into the, “we are all cheats, and thieves”, mentality of the company. See the company can show them some fancy chart, manipulated to demonstrate whatever point they are trying to make, to show in fact that the driver sitting in front of them is a cheat and a thief. Our Teamsters union is allowing this to go on. Time For the Fight of the New Century
     The first plan of attack is for every one of you Stewards to be squeaky clean in your delivery day. I’m not talking about production. I’m talking about delivery methods, times, and reasons for being where you are. Keep a notebook if you have to unless you have an excuse at the tip of your tongue for everything like some of us. Practice you area as if that sup. is sitting there so you feel you have a grasp of what is a “fair day”. Do that practice, because once Telematics is implemented, that Sup. will be on the car with you,
every minute, of every day!  Next you must begin to train your people the same way. Meet with them as much as you can, whenever you can, to help them understand what is coming.
                          Directing them to Denver Brown.com can be a very big help.
      The final suggestion is to contact your BA’s and let them know you are concerned about what is happening to you at UPS. Quiz them to see if they even understand the level of scrutiny you are going to have to endure. Many of you will find that these people have never even heard of Telematics, or they have some perspective of it that has grown out of the old freight days of the Teamsters. 
     My feeling is, this is the greatest attack on the Teamsters Union membership since replacement workers were allowed during a strike.
                              It allows a company to selectively target Union members. 
     It’s frustrating for me, because as I watch, nothing will happen till many good, caring, senior people, lose their jobs. It’s simply a call to arms. Educate yourself as a steward. Become vocal. You will arm the people around you.


Why Should I Care?

                                              As a long time driver I am a stockholder in UPS. 
                                                                      Why should I care? 
           Legal Insider TradingThe fact is as time goes on I care less and less for this company. The reason for the IPO was for long time management to artificially inflate the value of the stock they had acumulated during the private stock days. They have been cashing it all in and driving down the overall value of owning UPS stock.
      5 years ago my investment people told me I should reinvest my UPS money into something else. 
                                   I should have listened to them.
     The stock has continued to go down in value. Even with a 10 percent purchase price reduction, it’s been a lousy investment. Telematics was introduced to improve profitability, yet the stock continues to dive.
           So I’m supposed to care about this company because I own stock?
      I’m supposed to care about this company enough to let them treat me like crap? Not only do I not care anymore, I plan to let everyone I know that works for this company that they are wasting their time, not only caring, but investing in UPS as well.
                                         It’s a systematic effort to gut the company of all of it’s assets, including you!

Speculation

     The speculation has begun that Telematics is being used to eliminate many of the highest paid driver jobs within UPS. With a large pool of unemployed people out there the company may have launched into a plan to eliminate the highest paid, and replace them with lower paid new hires.
     With a contract in the near future, the expectation would be a negotiated wage tier within the full time ranks much like the two tiered I Wonder How They will Screw Me Nextsystem implemented in the last decade for the part timers. Telematics allows management to harass everyone over anything. They just keep reducing the search time until they find a driver they can make look like a dirt-bag. They are able to fine tune the system down to “seconds wasted”. They have management people doing nothing but searching the system for someone they can harass.
      With the excessive pressure being brought to bear on the drivers, many will quit, many will retire before they are ready, and many will be fired for performing the job as they were trained by the fireball management types that trained them. Many of the management people would have been terminated themselves had they stayed as drivers.
     Of course Telematics is also designed to eliminate management as well. Upper level managers have the goal of reducing costs by eliminating people. They don’t care about performance, they don’t care about safety. They simply want to get rid of your ass to improve their bottom line, and protect their own asses. The company has become a system of cutthroat hoodlums willing to do anything to protect themselves. God forbid you happen to get in the way of that.
     So my question to the Teamsters is “Where are you?” We, (the rank and file), understand the interest in keeping the company, that employs more Teamster members, healthy. It just seems unusual that the Teamsters would remain so silent in the face of the treatment the rank and file is receiving under Telematics. Has it just not affected enough people yet? Some of the language negotiated in the last contract becomes very suspect in light of the implementation of Telematics.
     Article 6 Section 4 Article 8 says, “No employee shall be discharged on a first offense if such discharge is based solely upon information received from GPS or any successor system unless he/she engages in dishonesty (defined for the purposes of this paragraph as any act or omission by an employee where he/she intends to defraud the Company). The degree of discipline dealing with off-area offenses shall not be changed because of GPS.”
    
We all know they company feels we are all theives and cheaters. The above contract language opens the door to a great deal of abuse. Every infraction will be considered as an intent to defraud the company. Every RJF is trying to cheat the system of production according to management.
     I can tell you from firsthand knowledge that every Teamster Steward is watched every day for any discrepancy. Everyday on the managers desk is a copy of every possible second the steward may have “stolen” from the company. The company surely has a plan to eliminate the workhorses of the Teamster’s. Yet the Teamsters remain quiet. The system proceeds as usual as if nothing has changed. Suddenly we lose a RJF and their job is taken away. No comment from the Teamsters. Two more people are fired for similar actions. Again no comment.
     Telematics will weaken the union simply by allowing management to target the Teamster members. Anyone vocal or outspoken can be taken out for any reason. With the panel system, a weak Teamster panel will lose rank and file members time after time. As an outspoken Steward I am sure my time is coming. Once our Union has been sufficiently weakened the rest of you top scale people will be next.
Contact the Teamsters and Ask Them to Rise to the Occasion Against Telematics!

Stewarding — Representing a Terminated Driver

        One of my least pleasant but certainly most important roles as a steward was to represent a fellow employee who was going through the process of being terminated. I was in a lot of termination hearings over the years and I never saw two alike. But my duties as the Steward were always the same. My most last one was no exception. 
        This driver had been involved in an intersection accident, a tier 3 accident which fit the criteria of a “serious accident” for which you can be discharged without going through the 3 step disciplinary process of warning, suspension and then termination. This driver wasn’t in my center but I was leaving the building late one morning when the shit hit the fan and I was called in to represent him. I grabbed my union book, told my center manager I was going to need help with my air stops and put on my game face. I met my newest friend and we went into the office.
        A Steward has to remember that he is on equal footing with management in any office situation. You have some things that you can do to control the meeting. The first thing I always do is get out my notebook and start writing. I make sure I’ve got a clean sheet of paper, I take names and I note the time and place. If management is being bullish, you can knock them down a peg before they even get started by asking something they don’t expect. “Are you still in this office, I heard you were going to the midnight hub?” That takes the point off their arrow for a minute and gives you a chance to settle in. shock and awe
        The company has to lay out their case first. If the company just lays out their case then, without hesitation, I take the driver outside and ask him what happened. If management starts right off fishing, asking the driver what happened yesterday, I object. I ask point blank, “Why are we here?” The Steward has the right to know the purpose of the meeting and if that means you and the manager have to step outside and talk first, then that’s what must happen. Then, when the questioning begins again, I call a halt and take the member outside. I tell him what they suspect and get his side of the story. Then I can advise him on what to say and sometimes, on what not to say.
        In this case of the driver involved in the tier 3 accident, I told him up front that this was going to end in his termination. He looked scared. I put my hand on his shoulder and told him it wasn’t over by any means, that we would fight to get him reinstated and that the most important thing for him to do was to take responsibility for his role in the accident. It wasn’t the fault of the setting sun in his eyes, it wasn’t the fault of the 20 year old truck with no power. It wasn’t the other driver’s fault even though they could have stopped but didn’t. Be factual, keep it simple. If the driver is in the meeting and gets a bad case of motor mouth, I take him outside again and tell him that a pause in the conversation does not mean it’s his turn to talk. Look at your hands, look at the walls, look at me, I don’t care what, but don’t feel the need to fill every pause with another explaination. You can say too much. It’s hard to take back something you said, it’s easy to add more later if you didn’t say enough. 
        Meanwhile, I’m taking notes. Lots of notes. That serves two purposes. It slows the meeting down and it gives me a good picture later of exactly what was said. As soon as possible, certainly within 24 hours, I wll go back over my notes and if necessary, write up a summary in a more clear, concise form. That way I can give it to the BA when I turn in my grievance. Note taking is vital to good representation.
        Once all the facts are on the table and it’s obvious the company is going to terminate the driver, I again step outside with my driver and explain what is going to happen. They are going to take your ID. They may escort you off the property and if they do, go quietly, don’t talk about the case, not now, not later. No phone calls to the manager, I don’t care what your wife says, don’t call anyone but me or the Business Agent. I fill out the grievance and I get his signature on it. I leave the “contract article violated” section blank until the company announces what article they are using and then I can take out the grievance and fill it in. Before going back in I punch the grievance in the time clock. I give the grievant my phone number and the phone number of the business agent and tell him to write up a statement. Don’t wait a week, write it up today. You can go over it with the BA and fine tune it later, but write it up while the details of the accident are fresh in your mind. If the termination is for an accident, I urge the driver to take home a copy of the 5 seeing habits and the 10 point commentary. Study them, be able to recite them if called upon to do so at the termination hearing. Don’t talk to anyone about the accident. Don’t call the other driver and try to get them on your side or ask them to write a statement. Be positive.
        The next step is the termination hearing and while this is basicly handled by the BA, the Steward’s role is important here also. I call my grievant every week to make sure he is doing OK. I urge them to file for unemployment. It gives him something to do and a way to maybe get some money. I tell him to wear something nice to the meeting. Keep it simple, no gaudy jewelry, no wild clothes. Look like a driver, not like a person enjoying a vacation. Be polite, not combative. It’s OK to be nervous, this is an important meeting. On the day of the meeting, when my driver shows up, I try to hang with him. Make him feel that he has a friend. It’s not just him against UPS, it’s us. The BA is usually busy and I try to dance between the BA and the driver. Every fired employee will ask you what his chances are. I try to be honest but not overly optimistic. It’s better that he be pleasantly surprised than cruelly disappointed. The hardest part of the job sometimes in being honest.
        In the termination hearing with the business agent, I like to have the member sit between us. I again take notes, I listen, I let the BA do his job. I’m always asked by the BA if I have anything to add and I always do. Sometimes, it’s to remind the company of the hard work the driver has put in over the years and of the cost of training new drivers. I say something positive about the driver sitting so nervously beside me. I try not to be confrontational or cut down the company’s case. I’m not trying to change the company, that battle can be fought later. Then we step outside and we wait. 
        I always feel that the longer the company takes to reach a decision the better. If they are hard set against bringing this guy back, then there isn’t much to talk about. But if we’ve done a good job on the Union side, then they have some fat to chew and the longer they chew the better I feel. It’s a nervous time for the terminated employee. He will always ask how he did. I always say he did real good unless it’s obvious he wasn’t prepared. If he was asked to recite the 5 seeing habits and didn’t know them, then I tell him to get to studying because we will probably be going to panels and he will have another chance. If he recited them but was so nervous he got the order wrong, that’s OK. He did good. We have a chance.
        During this process you learn alot about a driver, his home life, hi
s personality, his feelings about the job. I’ve seen guys who I felt needed professional help and I’ve told them so. I’ve seen guys that loved their families so much and felt so bad about letting them down that it made my heart ache. I’ve seen guys cry and I’ve felt like crying a few times myself. The waiting for a decision is the hardest part because there isn’t anything else you can do. It’s up to the company.
        When we go back in the company may have another question. This is not a time to present new evidence or start an argument. But most often, they begin to present their decision. Within a few sentences you can tell what they have decided. The waiting is over. They announce their decision. If they can’t reinstate the guy, then we are going to panels and the meeting is over. We pick up our stuff and leave. I tell the member what the panel is like, how the tables are set up, to expect a court reporter, what the consequences if we lose. But if they take the guy back, then it’s a happy day. We go outside and enjoy some nervous laughter, we shake hands all around, maybe even hug. I urge him to call home and let his family know. I look outside and the sun is shining and the world is bright. It’s a good day to be a Steward.

UPS driver information