Sweet Surrender

        I remember when UPS focused the spotlight on safet, but still pushed for production numbers, I got called into the office more and more frequently to represent drivers who had clandestinely been observed out on the route not using the methods. I think management has a quota of observations they have to do every month and some of what they see is alarming. Most drivers know what the methods are and they can demonstrate them pretty well on an OJS ride. But when they think no one is looking, they have a different way of doing things. They have what they feel is a better way, at least a better way for them, because it encompasses their own personal needs as well as the company’s needs. It’s often a less rigid version of the company methods, maybe not stopping behind the crosswalk, or not stopping at stop signs on certain streets or not using turn signals when pulling away from the curb. Some drivers don’t honk their horns when they back up unless they think management is listening.
        SurrenderMy methods were pretty good but not perfect, but I think they were better than most for a couple of reasons. One reason is that a steward is a target for some managers and so I tried to not give them reasons to write me up. Another was that I got reminded weekly of the importance of doing the job by the book when I was in the office with somebody else who was getting chewed out for not using all the methods. It was always a wake-up call for me. I’d go out that day and I try to rededicate myself to doing the job right. It would not be fair for me to tell my fellow driver that he has to use the methods if I’m not using them myself.
        Sometimes I ask myself why some drivers find it so hard to use the methods. Why do they fall back into the sloppy, easy ways that they find so comfortable even after being observed and criticized? One reason we all seem to have our own version of the 340 methods is because we are all just a little bull headed. We believe we have a better way, at least a better way for us. And if the company isn’t watching, then we use the better way. I used to be this way and sometimes I still am, but I believe there is a way that is even easier than my way. Some drivers won’t agree with me on this, but the road to true freedom and happiness is to surrender to the company’s wishes.
        Now surrrender is not a word most drivers like to use. Defiance is a better word to use when describing how drivers feel. And the company likes it’s drivers to have defiance. We don’t wait around for a signature, we go and get it. We don’t let a bad load overwhelm us, we conquer it. But when it comes to using our own version of the methods in defiance of what the company wants, we need to surrender.
        My dad used to say that the Russians actually had more freedoms than us because they had no choices and having no choice at all is true freedom. We need to adopt that attitude and apply it to the methods. Don’t think that you have a better way because the only good way is their way. Don’t feel that your way is easier because, when you get caught, then you have to start over and learn to do it the right way and form new habits that you should have been forming a long time ago. Learn to use all the methods for safe driving and all the methods for delivery and know true freedom. Freedom from discipline, freedom from injuries and accidents, and freedom from constantly looking over your shoulder wondering when you’re going to get caught.

It Never Ceases to Amaze Me

     It never ceases to amaze me how our Union membership can sit back, brag about what  they have, and how good they are. Yet when the time comes to back up the organization that sees to it they can live a solid middle class life, they go to their gun cabinet, or Bite the hand that feeds you!their church and defiantly state they can’t support a “liberal group” like the Teamsters Union. They will sit back and suck up every benefit negotiated for them, then bad mouth the very organization that oversees their health, and family life.
     The Teamsters have truly provided the freedom for them to enjoy all of their other activities without fear of job loss, or health coverage, or retirement benefits. They will listen to Glenn Beck, or Rush Limbaugh tell them that the Teamsters are crooked, and corrupt, and that they are being stolen from, and they will believe it. I don’t see these multi-millionaires feeding these Teamster familys, or paying these Teamsters insurance. All I see is their mouth in gear, and our gullible membership, with a blank stare, going “Yup, yup, yup”, or “mega dittos”, thanks for letting me be lazy and not think for myself.
     It’s amazing how people will go against their own self interest in the quest to boost their own ego. 
     Keep in mind that I am a huge supporter of the debate. It takes all sides to keep the world turning. I just find it amazing how keeping the world turning requires turning your back on the people that have your back.
     Just my observation, like it or not. 

Is UPS Going Too Far with ‘Direct to Door’ ?

     UPS has announced that it will begin delivering a little something extra next year. That something will be a packet of advertisements that will accompany some deliveries. So when you buy something online, you may be targeted for the UPS version of junk mail. Junk mail, the UPS way
     According to Marketing Daily, UPS is trying out the idea in select cities this Fall and will go nationwide with the program in 2010. “The offers will be packaged in a custom-designed “UPS Direct-to-Door Pak” — white with an image of a UPS delivery van — and delivered to residents in the test ZIP codes who are receiving a small package shipment that day. Each Direct-to-Door Pak can contain approximately 12 offers and samples from UPS customers. “
     “The samples will come in a separate, uniquely designed pack. The spokesperson says UPS developed the idea after doing focus-group research on direct-mail marketing that suggested people are too inundated with offers to notice them.”
     “The focus group attendees said they would feel differently about it if a sample package were delivered by hand by a familiar person. “They trust a familiar face, the UPS driver, and they are more likely to accept something from them that’s a surprise or gift.”
     What it sounds like to me is that UPS is going to soak the particfipating advertisers for what sounds like the latest greatest marketing idea. UPS customers will get something else to sort through and throw away. There is already skepticism that the offers will not be anything that isn’t available elsewhere, such as a Zappos offer to join their VIP Club. That offer is available to everyone on the Zappos website.
     Is UPS going too far with this new program? I don’t know but I do know I don’t like junk mail and I don’t like spam and this program doesn’t sound all that different.

A Tale of Two Cities

     This is a tale of two union organizing campaigns. 

     The first is at an AT&T facility in Burlington, VT.. AT&T does not interfere when it’s workers choose to talk to a union. The workers are allowed to choose whether they want to ignore the union, vote by secret ballot or just sign cards. It’s a lot like how life would be under the Employee Free Choice Act. This is a quick and easy read, check it out. It will make you feel good.

     The second story is not pretty. A WalMart tire facility in Kingman, AZ tried to unionize and learned a lesson in how life is without the Employee Free Choice Act. The mere mention of the word ‘Union’ at a WalMart store will get you fired. The kneejerk reaction from the corporate office is swift and brutal. This is an ugly story, but it shows why current labor laws need to be reformed. 

     The Employee Free Choice Act may be the next big act to take the stage in Washington. We all know what the stakes are in this fight. Will we rebuild the middle class with strong unions or will we condemn our children to low pay service industry jobs?

     This is a tale of two cities, but it’s also a tale of the Employee Free Choice Act.

Keeping You on Edge

     Ever wonder why you never seem to be able to fall into a day to day, hum drum life, as a driver? It seems like you are always under pressure from so many angles when trying to do the job. You think you are getting it done to the boss’s satisfaction, then you get hit from some other angle. Not enough lead cards. To many tracers. Production is off by 5 minutes. Driving the vehicle to hard. Not wearing the seatbelt. Not closing the bulkhead door. You’ve certainly heard all of these and many more.AAAAAAAAHHHHHHHHHHH 
     The company knows that keeping you on edge and stressed makes you run harder. They know you will hurry up so you can get in and tell them off. They know you go faster to avoid the inevitable tongue lashing, even though you’ll get it anyway. They know you will try harder to please them if they act like the abusive daddy.
     What’s a long time driver to do? Practice stress relief. In your mind separate your actual day to day job of driving from the ass chewing you get in the morning. When you are on the road, perform your job at a steady, even pace. Take time to smile at the customer , and exchange pleasantries. Pet the friendly dog. Notice the beautiful gardens and flowers on your area. Don’t let the job become the high stress, blood pressure raising, mad all of the time, nightmare the company wants it to be. Be sure to request your Union Steward whenever they want to talk to you.
     Life is to short to live a life of stress. The job can be wonderful. Take pride in what you do. Everyone is glad to see you. You are the answer to many of their problems. The company would have you act as a robot day in and day out. The fact is you are human, and you should treat other people as you would want them to treat you.
     If you’ve ever noticed, the company sells your customer relationships, even if they don’t support it. It’s important to remain professional in what you do, but don’t be afraid to let a little of your personality shine through. Don’t get sucked into the box monster, production whore you see around you. You won’t go the distance. Most of you have long term goals with this job. You are obligated to give a fair days work, for a fair days pay. That fair day does not mean you have to sell your soul to the devil.
     Telematics is designed to steal more of that soul. The whole purpose of the system is to give them something to harass you about, even though you are doing the job. The system allows them to pick any point, and use it against you. The system should be known as Harassamatics. They tell you it’s about safety, and seat belts, and backing. That’s a bunch of crap. It’s all about stealing your break time for their profit, and harassing you into a heightened state of frenzy about your job.
     Run your day like you should. Don’t internalize their harassment. Don’t carry it with you all day.
                                       You will have a long life, and career.

We Need Your Help

     Need to decide which way to go!Anyone that has had experience with Aetna, (or any other), HMO, or PPO plan, please let us know your experiences. We want to hear your experiences both good and bad.
     That seems to be the key to the new UPS Health Care “Package”. We need to know if we are in for a big battle, or will the changes be noticeable in any way. Please write to George at george@denverbrown.com
or post a reply to this post. Thanks, you can help us all.

Things That Don’t Make Sense

        There are some things about UPS that just don’t make sense. I try not to let these things bother me, but since PAS has made our jobs so easy, we have nothing else to do but drive around all day thinking about some of these things.
       One thing that has really got me to thinking lately is the way UPS attacks the 9.5 issue. A driver with a 9.5 problem usually has a variety of things that need to be addressed such as start time, load quality, looping, add/cuts and performance. But the company only addresses one of these; performance. We recently had every manager and the division manager out on car on the same day with drivers who had complained about their hours.
The perfect load       When drivers show an improvement in their numbers on the day of an OJS ride, UPS wants to write those numbers on a stone tablet and hold them up in front of the driver forever. Usually these numbers are somewhat skewed as in our case last month when the preload had been tipped off and the load quality was well above par. The drivers received no OCA’s during the day, they had no meet points, they didn’t have a last minute add/cut. They weren’t held in the building waiting for late air or any of the things that happen to us on a daily basis that have a negative effect on our on-road-stops-per-hour.
       Many times the manager riding along will make a promise to work on the load or the looping or anything else that the driver says he is having problems with. But unfortunately that promise is not written on the stone tablet and is soon forgotten. The driver comes away feeling threatened and somewhat cheated. Management gloats about the improved numbers. I heard that one manager in our building has even been ridiculed because he didn’t get improved numbers. Makes you wonder what the real purpose of the ride was.
       When management does performance rides like this, they always seem to pick a pretty good day when there are a lot of stops but not a lot of bulk. I’ve brought this up to management and they always act innocent saying they can’t predict a good day to ride. I wonder is that’s true. With all their technology, they should be able to predict what’s coming down the pike. If they can’t, then either the technology isn’t as good as they say it is or they aren’t smart enough to use it to their advantage. I don’t that either of those statements are true. That only leaves one other reason they would say they can’t predict the volume.
You lie!

See the two articles in the Blog below on how to survive an OJS ride.

Senator Mark Udall Replies to My Support of the Public Option


September 15, 2009

Dear Robert,

Thank you for contacting me regarding health insurance reform.  I appreciate your taking the time to express your specific views on this important topic facing our nation.

As you know, many proposals have been put on the table for reforming our health care system to make it work for all Americans.  I recognize there are many, often competing, philosophies and ideas on the best way to move forward.  As your Senator, it is my job to listen closely to the various stakeholders involved in this process as well as actively seek out input from across the state to help inform my understanding of what is best for Colorado.  One thing I firmly believe, however, is that the status quo is unacceptable and unsustainable.  

While we move forward in this debate, there are a number of key requirements which will guide my consideration. Any health reform must: 1) allow people who like the coverage they currently have to keep it; 2) bring costs down so that all Coloradans are able to cover their families while staying within their means; 3) preserve the critical doctor-patient relationship, ensuring that decisions about treatment are made by those who know the patient the best; 4) call for insurers to provide coverage regardless of pre-existing conditions or medical history; and 5) be fiscally responsible.  By ensuring that these pieces are part of reform, we can provide the stability in health care that is currently lacking for hard working Coloradans – stable costs, stable coverage, and stable quality.  Cost-effective ideas to improve health like emphasizing prevention and wellness programs, early screening and diagnosis, and chronic disease management are just a few pieces of the puzzle that I think can help us get there. 

Another important piece to the puzzle is ensuring that health reform expands access to care for those living in rural communities, which is why I recently introduced legislation known as the Rural Physician Pipeline Act of 2009 (S.1628).  This bill is designed to improve health care in rural communities by helping medical schools establish programs to recruit and train medical students who want to practice in rural areas.  The provisions in this legislation are based on a successful program at the University of Colorado School of Medicine, and there is evidence to suggest that, if similar programs are expanded, as called for in my bill, we can dramatically increase the number of rural doctors nationwide.

Additionally, health reform must include provisions aimed at helping to alleviate the financial burden placed on small business owners who struggle to provide health coverage to their employees.  This is especially true for those small businesses that have seen the cost of coverage grow at such an alarming rate that they are unable to stay competitive in maintaining a talented pool of workers.  Small businesses are the driving force of our economy and we must pass health insurance reform which provides them a pooled marketplace from which to purchase coverage and offers credits to make plans affordable.

Reforming our health care system will not be easy, but it is imperative.  As Congress continues looking for the best ways to meet our nation’s health care challenges, please know that I will always keep the best interests of Coloradans in mind.  Along the way, I will certainly remember your particular thoughts and concerns.

I will continue to listen closely to what you and other Coloradans have to say about matters before Congress, the concerns of our communities, and the issues facing Colorado and the nation.  My job is not about merely supporting or opposing legislation; it is also about bridging the divide that has paralyzed our nation’s politics.  For more information about my positions and to learn how my office can assist you, please visit my website at www.markudall.senate.gov

Warm Regards,

Mark Udall
United States Senator, Colorado


New Info on New Healthcare Package

     Need to decide which way to go!In my desire to retire I have obtained new information on the UPS health care package being offered by the company pretty much nationwide. If you intend to retire any time before January 1st, 2010 you will not be eligible to change to the new retiree package being offered. You must be an active employee on January 1st, 2010 in order to qualify for the new changes. For those of you that may not know it, under the new retiree plan you will have Dental, and Vision coverage at no additional cost. Something you wouldn’t have had under the old plan.
     Of course you need to read the rest of the changes that go with the plan change. Things like being in “Networked Care”. Buying your prescriptions from Medco, and being forced to buy Generics first. There are a number of changes over the current plan, and it is very obvious that the providers save a great deal of money with a networked plan. Enough that they can offer you all of these additional benefits, and still come out ahead.
     Again my point is not to persuade you one way or the other. My point is to get you to look closely to see which of the plans meet your needs. The company is holding regular meetings to discuss the overall changes, and I highly recommend you attend one of these meetings.
     As for speculating about the future, I think, come the next contract negotiation, you will all end up under the new plan, like it or not. Just something to keep in mind.
     Remember, once you decide to take the new plan, you cannot go back, like it or not!

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