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?

One of the Positives for the Leaner, Meaner UPS

GSA Delivers Federal Shipping Contract to UPSKO'd

Potential Savings to Exceed $1 Billion Over Five Years

GSA # 10629

September 1, 2009
Contact: Judy Boysha, (202) 501-1231

WASHINGTON — The U.S. General Services Administration announced it has awarded a contract for express and ground domestic delivery services to United Parcel Service. The contract aims to save taxpayers more than a billion dollars over the next five years.

“This second-generation Federal Strategic Sourcing Initiative contract offers shipping costs that provide deep discounts for participating agencies off commercial retail rates,” said Commissioner James A. Williams of GSA’s Federal Acquisition Service. “The contract award exemplifies the value of governmentwide strategic sourcing.”

To develop the domestic delivery service contract, a team of government agency representatives developed a consolidated set of requirements and pooled shipping volume in a competitive bid process open to vendors listed on the Federal Supply Schedule. The coordinated effort resulted in a program that eliminates duplicate efforts and provides savings greater than any one agency could achieve on its own.

The previous contract was the first award under the Federal Strategic Sourcing Initiative Program and saved taxpayers $180 million in fiscal year 2008. Additionally, the new award contract costs are projected to be 6 percent lower than costs on the previous contract. The award also enables operating efficiencies for the federal government by collecting and analyzing business intelligence data to identify further savings opportunities.


Founded in 1949, GSA manages more than 11 percent of the government’s total procurement dollars and $24 billion in federal assets, including 8,600 government-owned or leased buildings and 213,000 vehicles.

GSA helps preserve our past and define our future, as a steward of more than 480 historic properties, and as manager of USA.gov, the official portal to federal government information and services.

GSA’s mission to provide superior workplaces, expert technology solutions, acquisition services, purchasing and E-Gov travel solutions and management policies, at best value, allows federal agencies to focus on their core missions.

Did You Know? Although GSA leverages billions of dollars in the marketplace, only 1 percent of the agency’s total budget is provided through direct congressional appropriations.

Have You Seen Any Supes Working?

     Have you seen any supes working lately? Do you know how to file and win a management working grievance? It’s not hard to file a supervisor working grievance and win. But there are some key things you need to know.
     The secret to winning a grievance is documentation. Who, What, When, Where and Why. You can see the who and what, you know when and where, the why part is handled by your steward. A strong grievance is based on good notetaking. Always have paper and pen handy, because you never know when your going to see a violation. Jot down what you see, then go to your steward. The steward will do a little investigating to find out the why part. If you don’t like the answer, if you don’t feel it’s a valid reason for management to violate the contract, then file your grievance. 
     Management will try to talk you out of your grievance, but stand strong. Let the Union handle it. Don’t cave in to management bullying or whining. Why not?

Here is why not…

UPS Part-timer Wins $48,000 In Penalty and Back Pay

Thanks to strong Teamster representation, a UPS part-timer from Local 2785 in San Francisco will receive more than $48,000 in penalty and back pay for supervisors working in violation of the contract.

The union’s grievance on supervisors working was upheld at UPS national grievance panel hearings this week in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. Supervisors were performing bargaining unit work in violation of the contract, and the company was ordered to pay Elaine Donlin, a 32-year UPS employee, more than $48,000.

“This is really a testament to the importance of documentation in building and winning cases,” said Ken Hall, Package Division Director and International Vice President. “We’re pleased that Elaine got the justice she deserved.”

Donlin returned to work at the UPS San Francisco facility in May last year after being out on injury to find that her job was being performed by multiple supervisors.

“Every day I would document which supervisor was doing my job,” said Donlin, who traveled to Florida to testify in her case. “UPS started giving me little pieces of my job back to satisfy me, but it became a matter of principle. I wanted my job back.”

Donlin has been a model UPS employee with a spotless record. That, combined with her detailed records and documentation, made the difference, said Ed Lynch, Business Agent at Local 2785.

“UPS kept fighting us all the way at every level, trying to lowball and refusing to do the right thing,” Lynch said. “But we stuck with it and we had good documentation. That’s what won the case.”

Politics, The Whacky Terbacky Days of Election

      Here it is. The start of the 2010 Political Season. Many states are holding primaries in the months ahead. Usually primaries are just Assume it's lies first!a side note to the political process, but this year will be a year of turnovers, with so many people, so disgruntled with the incumbents, the primaries will be very telling.
     Ironically having the President’s support has become a negative as much as a help. No one seems all that concerned about getting his recommendation after the fiasco in Massachusetts.     
     On the same note is the Republican fear of the Tea Party. While the Repub candidates want the Tea Party support, they fear they will lose the mainstream Republican, and Right Leaning Independent because of the radical appearance of the Tea Party agenda. 
          Where does that leave all of us in the middle? 
     If you are a conscientious voter, that pays attention to the candidates, and educates yourself on the history of the candidate, you should be able to make an educated choice based on the information you have. If you listen to Faux News or depend on some talk show mouth to make your decision for you, you got trouble. 
     So many of the media outlets, and talking heads, are so agenda driven, the facts they put out will be bent, and twisted, worse than a pretzel, to make the case for their boyscout or girlscout. People are becoming totally desensitized by the constant moral, and ethical smashing these people bring to the airwaves. Of course we know how “moral” these people are, yet we let them convince us of our need to follow them.
     Our country is at a crossroads. Our election process is being given to the large corporations. The average Joe has no chance of ever having a voice in this country again. Freedom of speech will be freedom of speech as long as you agree with the Corporate powers that be. Otherwise you can be taken out, both financially, and literally, with ease.
     I intend to look at the candidates where the money is not. Who are the people “not” taking the PAC money. Who are the people talking directly to the people, not schmoozing the Corporations. Who are the people that care about the people of our country first, not the Corporations with all the contribution money. Listen for words like “small business”, “people’s health and welfare”, “the future of the people”, “jobs”. That is where you can at least begin to find the candidates that will work for you. Of course we know that many “politicians” have a propensity to stretch the truth, or even lie outright to attain the office.
     Good luck in making your decisions, but stay involved. It is the time for involvement, not apathy. Apathy has us where we are today.
                                   Involvement will buy us a better tomorrow!     

Pete and Re-Pete

  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. 
     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
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.

Can You Be Buried in Your UPS Uniform?

Making that last delivery     I have to admit that I’ve been enjoying the dickens out of my retirement. I’ve been retired long enough now (18 months) to get real accustomed to not having to go to work and just waiting for the check to come at the end of the month. I’ve gotten so out of the habit of having any sort of time structure in my life that I decided to get a part time job. 
     Although I drove for UPS for 30 years, I always looked back fondly on the job I had before I put on my first pair of browns. I was florist. Now a florist isn’t the greatest job, it has 5 peak seasons. Valentines Day and Mothers Day being the worst. But I loved my job there, I started out as a driver and worked my way up to designer and even shop manager. But the pay was not the best and I was starting a family, so I took a look at Big Brown and decided to make a career there.
     But now that my career is over at UPS, I’ve gone back to the flower shop as my first post retirement employment. And it’s as much fun today as it was 30 years ago. I’m back where I started, delivering bokays. I work maybe 10 hours a week, usually three 3 hour+ days. It’s a rough schedule. And I crank out maybe 4 stops an hour. I’m not hustling. I stop to smell the roses.
     One of the aspects about floral delivery that most folks don’t think about is that we do a lot of funeral work. I’ve got 6 or 8 mortuaries that I go to. There is always a flower door just for people like me. Most times I just drop off the arrangements in the flower room and sign the log  and I’m on my way. But once in a great while, I’ll be asked to place the flowers in the viewing room.
     Well, last week the inevitable happened. I was asked if I could put the casket spray on the casket. An open casket. Well, I mustered up my best delivery man face and I walked right in there and I did it. It was just me and the mortician and the other guy. When I looked down at the other guy, lo and behold, he was wearing a Teamster jacket. My Local. I had to stare for a second. I couldn’t look away. 
     The mortician finally said something, like can you move it a little closer to the body, and it snapped me out of my trance. I hurried on out of there, but it got me thinking. I wonder if I could be buried in my UPS uniform if I wanted to? I mean after all, I spent 30 years in browns. That’s how most people know me. Strangers could walk into my funeral and say, “Oh yeah, I know that guy!”
     But one thing that came to mind is that that other guy owned his Teamster jacket.  We don’t own tour UPS uniforms. In fact, we are supposed to turn them in when we retire.
     Could I wear a UPS coat after I had “punched out” for the last time? I don’t know, it may not be worth the risk. What if I got caught? Would I be disciplined? The Brown Police are everywhere.
      But then again like I always used to say, “what are they gonna do, fire me?” 

Article by Jim Hansen in Colorado Labor Blog

With some Dem friends, who need enemies?

            The Employee Free Choice Act (EFCA), which would have made it easier to organize workers who want to be union members, is fast becoming a dim memory, with little chance of even being considered this year.

            If it isn’t passed this year, odds are that EFCA will never become law, and major labor law revisions, which would add some balance to labor-management relations, will not be achieved in your lifetime.

            Our federal labor laws have been revised only twice since the Wagner Act, the first comprehensive federal labor law, was passed in 1935, as the Great Depression was winding down.  The two revisions since, the Taft-Hartley Act in 1947 and the Landrum-Griffin Act in 1957, gave huge advantages to employers

            Even when Democrats controlled either both the U.S. House and the Senate, or the White House and both houses of Congress, as they do now, they were unable to achieve passage of any major labor law revisions. Defeats always came when key Democrats voted against the best interests of working families.          

            During the administrations of Presidents Kennedy and Johnson in the 1960s, labor worked diligently to repeal Section 14b of the Taft-Hartley Law.  Section 14b allows states to pass right-to-work laws, onerous measures that prohibit labor and management from negotiating an all-union shop.  Such laws exert downward pressure on workers’ wages and benefits.  Wage earners in right-to-work states earn $5,333 less per year than workers in other states, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

            The U.S. House of Representatives finally passed a bill in 1965 by a vote of 283 to 221 to repeal 14b.  Unfortunately, supporters in the Senate couldn’t break a Republican-sponsored filibuster, which would not have succeeded without the votes of 22 Democratic senators, and the issue was lost.

            In 1976, President Jerry Ford vetoed a “common situs picketing bill” that would have lowered the barriers for unionization of construction workers. The bill was introduced again in 1977, but was voted down in the House 217 to 205 with many Democratic representatives voting against the proposal.

            Organized labor was KO’d again during the administration of Jimmy Carter when a labor law reform bill, which would have leveled the playing field between labor and management during union organizing campaigns, was defeated.  It failed to survive another Republican filibuster, which was bolstered when 17 Democrats vote with the Republican against cloture.

            During Bill Clinton’s first term, an “anti-scab bill” was introduced that would have made it illegal for strikebound employers to permanently replace striking workers.   It passed in the House but was blocked in the Senate by the usual Republican filibuster, in which six Democrats voted with the GOP to ensure defeat of the bill.

            So while Democrats, for the most part, have been passively supportive of labor’s issues, they have refused over the years to provide enough votes to pass legislation that would have been the most meaningful to working families. 

            Instead, they have provided Republicans with key votes to pass tax breaks for corporations and millionaires. They have helped the GOP give tax incentives and loopholes to all manner of businesses, even those, in some cases, that move manufacturing plants out of the country. Democrats have voted for  huge government contracts with corrupt military contractors, such as Blackwater and Haliburton.  Over the years they have cast many votes that have helped Republicans pass legislation that has hurt working men and women.

            Moreover, Democrats have often aided and abetted GOP union busters. Two Democratic votes recently prevented the confirmation of labor lawyer Craig Becker to the National Labor Relations Board.  When George Bush was president, he loaded up the NLRB with corporate types who seldom, if ever, sided with labor in disputes before the board.  In addition, political apathy has allowed employers to circumvent out-of-date federal labor laws for at least 30 years.


            Meanwhile, the wages and benefits of most workers have not kept pace with the growth of their productivity since 1980. For the first time on record, the real incomes of middle-class families actually declined from 2001 to 2007. More than one-third of all income growth since 1989 has gone to the top one-tenth of one percent of all earners, according to the Economic Policy Institute.

              Workers are not getting a fair share of the wealth they helped create.

            And, they’ll never get a fair share as long as Congress refuses to deal with issues like the Employee Free Choice Act, which would be the first revision ever of our nation’s labor laws to right a longstanding wrong.

You can read more at   www.coloradolaborblog.org

TeaBaggers Hope Your Pension Collapses

     I’ve been led by the media to believe that the teabaggers are just common folks like you and me. I thought they were regular joes, blue collar workers who were fed up with big government and big spending. If that’s true, then why wouldn’t they want me to have a pension? Why would they revel in the dream that the Union pensions could go bankrupt in this economy and leave us all without our hard earned retirement funds?
Our new leaders?     In a recent article entitled The Coming Union Pension Plan Collapse  on 73Wire, a teabagger website, the author has no sympathy for the struggles of Union members and their pension plans in the current economy. He blames a lazy Union membership for our own sad state of affairs. He even gives a list of pension plan that are in trouble. But don’t get the rope out yet, the list is skewered to make things look a lot worse than they really are. If you are in any of the listed pension funds, do a little research of your own, write them and ask them if the figures given for your plan are correct. 
     It’s interesting that the article doesn’t vilify corporate backed 401(k) retirement accounts (that also tanked in recent years) but only harpoons defined benefit Union plans. And if you check out the 73Wire teabagger site a little bit more, you will see that they attack Unions in every labor article that they write.        
     That’ s a real shame, because the teabaggers, the common folk , could really benefit from the rewards of strong Unions.  If they really want to grab back the power from the elitist class, be it government or corporations, they would rally behind Union involvement as an avenue to grassroots power. 
     But unfortunately, the teabaggers appear to spew the same rhetoric as the right-wing powermongers. They hate Unions, they don’t want any kind of universal healthcare and they want to see the President fail. These are the same people that could most benefit  from collective bargaining , cheaper healthcare and a strong America.  
     It’s sad, isn’t it.

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