The OJS Ride Review Meeting

     So, you’ve had your 3 day OJS ride and management wants to see you in the office with your Steward. That means that you probably ran a little better on paper during the observation than you had been doing on your own. Now they are going to wave the numbers in your face and threaten to fire you if you don’t maintain this improved level of production. They want you to sign a commitment.
     What do you do?
     It doesn’t really matter if you sign the commitment or not, management will have your Steward sign that it was reviewed with you. This meeting is meant to make you feel powerless and it does. If you have ever wished that you had a document to lay over theirs to remind them that your commitment is to the contract and reviews what the contract says, then your wish has come true.
     Here is a statement that you can print up, you and your Steward can sign it and you can instruct management to place it in your permanent file. (Remember that you have the right to see your file and check if it’s been placed in there). To print this letter, copy it and paste it onto a Word document, then print it. Print a few and pass them out to your friends. It’s legal, it’s within your rights and it feels good. It comes to us compliments of  Zack Ochs and Tim Barnhart of Local 118, Rochester, NY.

Re: Discipline for failure to meet productions standards

UPS’s measurement of work and how it pertains to productivity is imprecise. Time allowances and their relevance to work performed including, to and from area travel; on area travel and time at stop are highly impressionable based on varying conditions which impede their accuracy. These constantly changing conditions lead to varying times in completing work, therefore making no transparent calculation for time. Varying factors which may include others not mentioned are as follows: Weather, which leads to delays in driving, walking and may also change delivery location. Interruptions in driving due to traffic, construction delays and other safety related issues. Customer service issues which can lengthen time at stop. Excessive AM or PM time based on the ineffectiveness of other UPS operations. Technologies effect compounded by human error. Assistance in completing work from customers, supervisors or other UPS employees. Load conditions due to other operational imbalances. Area knowledge and distortion based on day to day variances. Fluctuating volume levels which effect all operations on a daily basis .These factors along with conditions not mentioned can and will have a profound effect on a driver’s level of productivity on a daily basis.

  According to Article 37 section 1 paragraph A of our contractual agreement “The parties agree that the principle of a fair days work for a fair days pay shall be observed at all times and employees shall perform their duties in a manner that best represents the Employers interest.” The company’s use of “over allowed” to enact discipline is unfair and unjust. “Over allowed” as it pertains to a measurement of work is meant to identify a problem may exist. It does not, under any circumstance, decide who or what may be the cause.  Our labor agreement does not recognize time allowances, or a failure to meet them as being cause for disciplinary action. Future unsubstantiated claims will be considered grounds for grievance submittal under article 37 of the National Master United Parcel Service Agreement.




Employee   ______________________________



Steward      ______________________________



Date            ______________________________


Surviving an OJS Ride

     Have you ever been threatened with a 3 day ride? Of course you have, we all have. It scares the hell out of you. Suddenly, it feels like it’s you against the world and there is just way too much to remember and do. How can you possibly survive??
     Well, help is on the way. It’s not just you against the brown giant this tiime. A couple of guys out of Rochester have put together a list of “How to survive an OJS ride”.
     Read through it, memorize it, do it and everything else will fall into place.



Ask your loader if anyone is was in the car “fluffing” the load.


Perform a full pre-trip.


Maintain speed limit and come to a complete stop at stop signs.


Count 1, 2, 3 before accelerating after red light to maintain space cushion.


Use handrail when exiting and entering vehicle. (set pkg on floor if need be)


Go to rear of car to cross street. (do not go out drivers side door)


Out of weather and out of sight dr’s. (use bags and go around back of house)


Indirect with a goal of 0 send agains. (indirect at neighbors house)


Never run. Walk at a safe, brisk pace.


Use hand cart whenever reasonable.


Get assistance with over 70’s.


Use the diad for all communications, not your cell phone.


Attempt a sales leads. We operate in the real world where customer contact is a necessity.


Drink water to stay hydrated.


Use bathrooms on route, not the back of the vehicle.


Fill delivery notices out completely. (Indirect at neighbors, go back and leave note)


All packages hand to surface. Do not “toss” any.


Containerize all smalls.


Do not drop off COD’s and pick up checks later.


Take your full lunch and break.


Stay on designated walkways. Stay on sidewalks and driveways, do not cut across lawns.


If supervisor opens a door, touches any package, or hurries a customer, note it.


Do not let them ask OJS questions while on lunch or break. Wait until PM time at bldg.


Do not let them ask OJS questions while driving as to focus 100% on methods.


Bottom line, NO SHORT CUTS.


If asked to review your ride, have a steward sit in and listen.


There is no transparent calculation for time.


“A fair days work for a fair days pay” is not a production standard. It is only an obligation.


The labor agreement does not recognize time allowances, or failure to meet them, as being a cause for disciplinary action.


Never sign anything the company hands you with respect to production. Article 6 of the National Master Agreement grants you a right to refuse to sign any agreement or contract whether individually or collectively that is outside the National Master Agreement. A production agreement is outside the National Master Agreement. If asked to sign such agreement, cite this article and base your grievance on this right. 

A big thank you to

Zack Ochs
Tim Barnhart
Local 118 Rochester NY

Next time…………How to survive the OJS ride review harassment.

Don’t Put the Customer in the Middle?

            Misloads are a huge problem in the Commerce City building. Packages with bad spa labels and boxes just loaded into the wrong trucks have been a growing headache since the arrival of PAS. At first the problem was addressed with a shuttle car that ran around all day taking misloads from one car to another. Sometimes the shuttle car was manned by a supervisor and that resulted in a string of supervisor working grievances that padded more than a few drivers’ paychecks for the first year we were on the new system. 
No running!           Then the company started having an hourly run the shuttle car and that resulted in some nutty steward (me) filing a grievance claiming that once that job was in existance for 30 days it became a full time job and needed to be bid. The company’s response to that was to take out the shuttle car and make everyone run their own misloads. That solution has added 30 to 45 minutes to almost everyones paid day. Only if you are sitting on a 9.5 grievance can you hope to be exempted from the misery of being told to run a misload that will turn a 9.2 day into a 10 hour day. 
          The company says that the customer shouldn’t be denied service because the loader made a mistake. “Don’t put the customer in the middle,” they love to say as they send you 50 blocks or more off area to deliver a Home Shopping Club box. “We can’t make the customer pay for our mistakes.” 
          But somebody has to pay. It’s not the loader. He’s home sleeping and the next day he does it again. His start time has probably been moved back and his hours reduced to cut costs on his shift and he’s most likely not long for that job anyway. The manager doesn’t pay, he is keeping his preload costs under control. The investor doesn’t suffer as UPS keeps it’s reputation for service and the profits keep coming. The shipper doesn’t suffer because his shipment was delivered in the guaranteed number of days.
        So who does get put in the middle? Who pays when the loads are so crappy that a driver has to spend an additional half an hour to an hour running misloads? Your family pays. UPS puts your family in the middle. The difference between a 9.2 day and a 10 hour day is huge. It’s the difference between seeing your kids at night or not seeing them. It’s the difference between being there for your family or not. Every misload is a half an hour you won’t spend with one of your kids. It means missed birthday parties, little league games, BBQ’s and more because UPS cannot fix the misload problem.
        So don’t tell me that we can’t put the customer in the middle, because that means your family will have pay the price. And when it comes down to missing a piece or missing the chance to kiss your kids goodnight, my loyalties lie with my family. I strongly resent how UPS screws my family on a daily basis by understaffing and cutting hours and then forcing us to work extra hours to correct the problems that their policies create.

Surreal and Orwellian

My God, what is this country coming to? 
When I was in school, if the President had given a speech directed at all us kids, the teachers would have wheeled the big TV into the room on a cart and we would have all watched it. We had respect for the Office of the President, regardless of his party.  But today……….. 

“Is there no limit to the current right-wing, fear-fed insanity? Now conservatives are freaking out that President Obama is making a back-to-school speech urging children to stay in school, work hard and succeed. In the words of my ancestors: Oy. Where does it end, and who wins?”

Abby Zimet,
Common Dreams

Company Throws a New Healthcare Plan Out There

     The company has put out information to all drivers at UPS “offering” a change in our health care plan. They call it the UPS Health which one of us do you chose?and Welfare “Package”. They sent out a 16″ by 20″ color glossy brochure so you would be sure not to miss it. It’s amazing how many of you didn’t notice it.
      My goal here is not to discuss the details of the plan changes. They are many, and each of you can make your own choices regarding what you need. The fact you need to know is, thanks to the Teamsters Union, you have a choice. The company just wanted to make wholesale changes in your plan and make you all eat them, like it or not. Please take time to thank the Teamsters for providing you with options on such a major life decision.
     To melt it down the plan is a change to a managed care plan, sort of like Kaiser offers to it’s members. The key to the quality of the plan is the “quality of the Network” you are in. The plan saves enough money to be able to offer you the cost savings by controlling the costs and charges of the care providers you go to. If Doctor Dick, who is a member of the network, charges 180 dollars for a checkup, but the plan only allows for 110 dollars, that is all he can bill to the insurance provider. Pretty simple way to save bucks, and when everything is working, everybody is happy.
     Where the problem comes in is when the doctors suddenly feel the plan is not paying enough. There have been other managed care systems, in the past, where doctors have dropped out of the network because the plan will not pay a reasonable amount. After awhile, no one would accept the plan, forcing the members of that plan to consistently seek care outside of the network and end up paying more for there health care than they would have under the open type of plan. That is the biggest problem with this type of plan. Any of you that have read the prospectus will see that once you make the decision to go into this plan, you cannot get out of it!
Please understand, my goal here is to get you to look closely at the plan, and ask questions. There will be meetings to discuss the plan changes, but my impression is the most common answer will be, “we gotta get back to you”. I simply want you all to read the information, and research the realities of the change. They are giving you a big sell job, and I’m sure it’s because they benefit from the changes. You need to determine if you will benefit! Don’t let someone else make the decision for you.

Job Insecurity Worse For Your Health Than Unemployment

Do you ever worry about losing your job? Do you worry every day that UPS could fire you with or without a good reason? If the answer is yes, you’re not alone.
A new report shows that worrying about losing your job is actually worse than losing it.

Simply worrying about losing your job can cost you your health, a new investigation of data from two long-term studies finds.

Surprisingly, the effect is worse than actually losing your job, the research suggests.

“Based on how participants rated their own physical and mental health, we found that people who were persistently concerned about losing their jobs reported significantly worse overall health in both studies and were more depressed in one of the studies than those who had actually lost and regained their jobs recently,” said Sarah Burgard, a sociologist at the University of Michigan.

“In fact, chronic job insecurity was a stronger predictor of poor health than either smoking or hypertension in one of the groups we studied,” Burgard said.

this job is making me nuts

One simple reason: the stress caused by insecurity. Other research has shown that stress can be deadly, leading to a range of poor health conditions that can shorten one’s life.

Burgard and colleagues examined data from two nationally representative sample surveys of the U.S. population; each survey was based on two interviews with each of the study participants. One of the surveys was conducted between 1986 and 1989, the other between 1995 and 2005.

The results were announced today and published in the journal Social Science & Medicine.

“Dramatic changes in the U.S. labor market have weakened bonds between employers and employees and fueled perceptions of job insecurity,” Burgard argues, citing other studies that support this contention. She admits, though, that the research into this claim could be more robust.

“We need more and better data on this,” she told LiveScience.

Why would insecurity be worse for health than getting fired?

“Ongoing ambiguity about the future, inability to take action unless the feared event actually happens, and the lack of institutionalized supports associated with perceived insecurity are among them,” she said.

The researchers controlled for other factors – race, marital status, neurotic tendencies, education and job characteristics – to make sure the apparent link between insecurity and health was not actually based on something else. For example, they ruled out the possibility that poor health was the cause of insecurity.

When you consider that not only income but so many of the important benefits that give Americans some peace of mind-including health insurance and retirement benefits-are tied to employment for most people, it’s understandable that persistent job insecurity is so stressful,” Burgard said.

The work offers food for thought for employees, employers and policy makers during this time of high unemployment, the researchers note.

“Certainly job insecurity is nothing new, but the numbers experiencing persistent job insecurity could be considerably higher during this global recession, so these findings could apply much more broadly today than they did even a few years ago.”

Burgard and her colleagues, James House at the University of Michigan and Jennie Brand at the University of California, were supported by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development. They drew from the Americans’ Changing Lives Study, supported in part by the National Institute on Aging, and from the Midlife in the United States Study, funded in part by the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation.

If you’re feeling good about your job’s prospects, here’s one more thing to stress about: Other research has shown that the stress of a tough job – long hours and high pressure to perform – can also ruin your health.

Robert Roy Britt

The Case for Postal-Style Healthcare

Here is a nifty little article suggesting that public healthcare should be run like the Post Office. The idea is that the Post Office serves as a stimulus to private industry to do a better and more efficient job. Hence, the success of United Parcel Service.

You’ve heard the refrain: If the government ran healthcare, it would be just like the U.S. Postal Service. And nobody wants that.

Or do we? The USPS, an independent government agency, is the convenient butt of jokes regarding poor service, rude employees, and occasional government mangling of personal property. It routinely borrows from the government to cover operating losses and endures disruptive political meddling in basic management decisions.

Despite the disparaging clichés, however, the Postal Service has some attributes that might make it a strong model for healthcare. It provides a basic service that’s not available from the private sector. To people without health coverage, postal-style healthcare might be a lot better than none at all. If service in a government healthcare plan turned out to be surly, that might even be a good thing: It would ensure a healthy market for better-run private plans, reducing fears of a government takeover. Oh, yeah, there’s one other thing: In
customer satisfaction surveys, the Postal Service already scores higher than health insurers.

Postal put-downs imply that private-sector businesses are more prompt, courteous, and efficient than anything run by the government. But that’s not always true. Some companies prioritize quality and service, but others have a habit of cutting corners to reduce costs and increase profits. That’s why shoppers struggle at the self-checkout line in grocery and home-improvement stores, and it takes forever to get a live human on the customer-support hotline. Microsoft is one of the most profitable companies in the world, but when was the last time a friendly employee came on the line to help you solve a problem with Windows or Excel? Instead, Microsoft shunts you off to its help and support Web site to hunt around for solutions. (Maybe that’s one reason it’s so profitable.)

Firms like FedEx and UPS compete with some of the services the Postal Service offers. That’s because they’ve targeted parts of the delivery business that can be profitable if run efficiently. But they want nothing to do with universal mail delivery, which would be a guaranteed money-loser. Gee, that sounds a lot like insurance companies that want to cherry-pick the profitable parts of the healthcare business, offering care to healthy people with employers who can help pay the premiums while steering clear of people with costly problems or less money to spend.

In the mail business, the Postal Service is the deliverer of last resort, required by law to provide a “fundamental service” to the American people “at fair and reasonable rates.” But our healthcare system doesn’t have a last-resort provider offering basic service at reasonable rates. As a nation, we support universal mail delivery but not universal healthcare.

Let’s just assume that if there ever is a federal healthcare option, it will be as inefficient as we consider the post office to be. So what? If service were poor, plan participants would have an incentive to look elsewhere for care, the way most businesses requiring quick package delivery choose FedEx or UPS over the Postal Service. Since private plans would presumably be more efficient, they’d have a built-in competitive advantage and would still appeal to employers and individuals who can afford their own coverage. The postal-style plan, meanwhile, would provide basic service to a lot of people who couldn’t get it anywhere else–while providing fresh fodder, valid or not, for the late-night comedians.
Rick Newman

Better Dead Than Fire Engine Red

            Arguing that when you let the fire department put out your flaming house you put your property in the hands of Big Government Fire, the group Million Strong Against our Socialist Fire Departments says there should be no public option for fire care. 

           They also suggest privatizing other public services – police, post office, water, sewer, roads, sewers, busses, subways, parks, libraries, the military – with trusted companies like Halliburton, Wal-Mart and Burger King taking them on, preferably with goody bags with purchase. Abby Zimet, Common Dreams

UPS and Healthcare Reform

Here is an interesting argument taken from The Examiner comparing the current healthcare dilemma to competition between UPS and the US Post Office. It’s worth a read:

“Among other things, these protesters claim that a public option will drive their beloved insurance companies out of business. Before you fall for this argument, consider what happened with mail delivery, but in reverse. It used to be there was only one mail carrier, the U.S. Postal Service. When competition was introduced, companies like Federal Express and United Parcel Service stepped in to offer additional features and benefits, but usually at a higher price.”

“What happened?  Well, we now have choices.  If you want a “Cadillac system” (i.e. overnight delivery) you can choose Fed-Ex.  If you want reliable 2-day delivery, choose UPS. The U.S. Postal Service is arguably more efficient than before, and most of our regular mail is still delivered on time.  Recently, the U.S. Postal Service has even been advertising for fixed price parcel shipments of multiple weights and sizes, anywhere in America.”

“The key thing to remember is if you don’t want to use the proposed public (government) option then you won’t be required to, any more than you are required to use the Post Office for package delivery.  Isn’t this what private enterprise is all about? Personally, I don’t think it will be difficult for private insurance companies to compete with a new public option, especially after they cut the fat salaries of unnecessary middle men, streamline bureaucratic procedures, and implement much needed electronic medical record keeping, privacy scares aside.”

Meanwhile, UPS remains publicly silent on the issue of healthcare reform. The Atlantic-Journal Constitution has this to say on UPS and the currrent battle before Congress:

Atlanta’s biggest businesses have some very big concerns about the proposed reform of health care.

Marquee companies like Delta Air Lines, Coca-Cola, United Parcel Service and Home Depot aren’t endorsing any of the current plans. Some won’t even discuss the issue publicly.

Most support the general idea of reforming the current system in an effort to stem the soaring cost of providing health care to employees, which by some measures has more than doubled during this decade.

Norman Black, a spokesman for UPS, headquartered in Sandy Springs, said that “as a general rule” the shipping giant supports health care reform. The company has 345,000 U.S. employees and spent $3 billion on health care premiums last year. It provides health care to all employees, even part-timers, many of whom are covered under union contracts.

Ralph J. Neas, CEO of National Coalition on Health Care, said that over the last decade health care costs shot up 120 percent while wages increased only 34 percent.

“We can’t face these kinds of increasing costs forever,” UPS’ Black said. “Eventually it impacts our competitiveness in the global marketplace.”

However, UPS has not taken a position on proposals floating around Congress. And Black said the company is adamant about what should not be in the bill: No new mandates or taxes that would increase costs for employers.

“That’s a non-starter for us,” he said. “ We don’t think any additional costs should be placed on an employer who is already providing comprehensive care.”

Common Sense 2009

The American government — which we once called our government — has been taken over by Wall Street, the mega-corporations and the super-rich. They are the ones who decide our fate. It is this group of powerful elites, the people President Franklin D. Roosevelt called “economic royalists,” who choose our elected officials — indeed, our very form of government. Both Democrats and Republicans dance to the tune of their corporate masters. In America, corporations do not control the government. In America, corporations are the government.

This was never more obvious than with the Wall Street bailout, whereby the very corporations that caused the collapse of our economy were rewarded with taxpayer dollars. So arrogant, so smug were they that, without a moment’s hesitation, they took our money — yours and mine — to pay their executives multimillion-dollar bonuses, something they continue doing to this very day. They have no shame. They don’t care what you and I think about them. Henry Kissinger refers to us as “useless eaters.”

The reason Wall Street was able to game the system the way it did — knowing that they would become rich at the expense of the American people (oh, yes, they most certainly knew that) — was because the financial elite had bribed our legislators to roll back the protections enacted after the Stock Market Crash of 1929.

Congress gutted the Glass-Steagall Act, which separated commercial lending banks from investment banks, and passed the Commodity Futures Modernization Act, which allowed for self-regulation with no oversight. The Securities and Exchange Commission subsequently revised its rules to allow for even less oversight — and we’ve all seen how well that worked out. To date, no serious legislation has been offered by the Obama administration to correct these problems.

I’m calling for a national strike, one designed to close the country down for a day. The intent? Real campaign-finance reform and strong restrictions on lobbying. Because nothing will change until we take corporate money out of politics. Nothing will improve until our politicians are once again answerable to their constituents, not the rich and powerful.

Let’s set a date. No one goes to work. No one buys anything. And if that isn’t effective — if the politicians ignore us — we do it again. And again. And again.

The real war is not between the left and the right. It is between the average American and the ruling class. If we come together on this single issue, everything else will resolve itself. It’s time we took back our government from those who would make us their slaves.
Larry Flynt

UPS driver information