The System that Keeps on Giving

The End of Over/Under Allowed

I never thought I’d see the day where UPS has thrown the idea of Over/Under Allowed performance in the trash, but it’s happening with Telematics. Telematics is becoming a story of unintended consequences. With the company’s disdain for it’s employees, and their attitude that the drivers are all ripping off the company for time, they have come up with what they thought was a foolproof system to keeping everyone in line, and doing exactly what they are supposed to be doing. What has really happened is they have taken a driver’s You Drivers are Ripping Us Offability to hurry up away. The concept really never came to mind until I received a message the other day from my dispatch supervisor telling me he had dispatched me near an 8 hour day, and that I should, “be in somewhere near 8 hours”. It suddenly dawned on me that with Telematics it would take as long as it took, and that I had no control over time, space, and safety. I began to think about what Telematics doesn’t see. It doesn’t see the bunch of kids riding their bikes in a neighborhood. It doesn’t see the semi blocking the dock you need to get into to make a bulk stop. It doesn’t see the shiny road from an afternoon shower. All it can see is a bunch of numbers, and where you are at any given time. The new response from the driver to management will become
             That’s how long it took!”
There will be no other answer. They will already have any information regarding the delivery. They will know how long you were there, (of course they won’t know why), they will know how fast you were driving, where you were before, where you went after, and how much time elapsed, but they will not know why. They will not know about the customer that is pissed about a mis-delivery, or a missing package. They will not know about the receiving clerk that has disappeared into the bathroom with a comic book while you need a signature for a hundred boxes. They will not know about the driveway you had to walk because the customer always parks in the turnaround. They will not know about the drunk going twenty in a fifty mile an hour zone or the lady on the cell phone blocking the right turn lane talking to her mother about her cheating husband. The fact is all of these things and so many others go on in a driver’s day to day life. Telematics cannot see any of these things. Of course in the “Olden’ Days” a driver could, and usually would, hurry up to make up the time these, and many more issues cost them. No longer! Hurrying up would mean driving faster, (not allowed). Hurrying up would mean running up the sidewalk instead of walking, (not allowed). Hurrying up would mean leaving the bulkhead door open for a few stops, (cardinal sin). Nowadays the driver can never look back. If they lose time, it’s lost forever. Management will see, and discipline, for any infractions that show up on Telematics. There will be no knowledge of why, just that it happened. Therefore there will be only one answer from any driver for anything!
                  “That’s how long it took!”     

You are Under Attack

You are a good union member at UPS. You support your union, and vote the issues important to the union. You pay your dues and feel you have a good living because of your membership in the union. You know that the company would not provide you with the quality of health care, the wage levels, a solid pension, and the job security without specific action from the union. Like it or not, you are one and the same!You watch the news and see what is happening with the Auto Companies, but feel that any of that doesn’t affect you or your union. What you aren’t seeing is the media’s use of this situation to turn public opinion away from the unions. To many people the only information they have about a union is what they see on TV. When they see a UPS guy, they don’t see a Teamster. They know you have a good job, but ever notice that many will ask you, “they’re a good company to work for, aren’t they?”.We all know they’re a good company to work for, because it is a good union job! Unions are something less than 8 percent of the workforce today, so many people never even come in contact with a union. Of course when they look for a job, the union jobs look inviting for obvious reasons, but the union jobs are slowly going away, (not so slowly in the auto industry), with the deliberate push to eliminate people’s perception that our country needs unions. The media is painting the union as some “commy” plot to destroy the country. The reality is of course the unions provide a real middle class. Something the corporatist’s hate. Keep in mind that the corporatists own the media. They hate the unions and what they stand for. They are fighting for the bottom line in their corporations, and they hate the unions there also. If you’ve noticed the muffled cry from the papers, and other media outlets, the unions are systematically being busted and broken. They do it by eliminating the company initially, then bringing it back in some other form, without the union attached. If you think UPS is not looking for the possibility of eliminating the Teamsters, you’re sadly mistaken. The only thing helping us ride out the current financial crisis is the length of our current agreement. My suggestion to you all is first to write your Senators, and Congress people, and demand they support the Employee Free Choice Act. Do not feel afraid to threaten their jobs. By that, I mean, for you to let them know you will support primary challenges against them if the do not back EFCA. Let them know that we took back our government from the right-wing corporatists, and we will take it back from them!
It’s time for a government for the people. Not the corporation!

End the Corporate Rule

Fight the Union Busting

Strengthen Your Union

When Driving is Like Sex

    Isn’t it strange how whenever anyone thinks of a learner driver in the process of undertaking a driving lesson, the mental image that immediately comes to mind is of the driving school car doing what we the more senior members of society call a three-point-turn and how part of that image is that of the learner shuffling the steering wheel left and right with a kind of shy awkwardness?
        Too busy to driveIs it because we associate the ‘feeding’ of the wheel with a learner driver that we almost immediately after passing our driving test re-invent the method of steering? Whatever the reason it seems that nearly every driver drops what is given to be the ‘correct’ steering method very shortly after passing their test and very soon are crossing their arms, steering one-handed and indeed, since the advent of cell phones, steering with their knees!
        Image wise, driving has always had a certain roughy-toughy kind of decadence attached to it, and if we have a slightly rebellious attitude towards what we do on the road it somehow makes us feel proud of ourselves. It is that pride that helps us to justify what we do as being something that is harmless. This is where the perceived ability comes in, which, as the rest of us know, is considerably higher up the ladder than reality. You see, we all can think we are good drivers while we are getting away with our poor ways. “I’ve never had an accident in 15 years!” is a common one, but it usually just means that the driver has been lucky enough to have got away with it for so long, but will have had countless ‘moments’ along the way.
        Every time you have to brake suddenly, swerve to avoid someone or something, or had to take some form of avoiding action your bad habits have been exposed, and you only get exposed when you make a mistake.
        The trouble is that when we get away with mistakes for long enough they cease to be mistakes and then become ‘normal’ occurrences. When that happens, and we do have a collision because of the way we drive, we cannot always accept that we are at fault and that we may be lacking somewhere in the driving skills department.
        It’s a bit like sex really.
        We can get a real kick out of it in terms of enjoyment, and unless our partner says otherwise we all think we are doing it rather well. What if our partner does tell us that we are doing it wrong…..? Wow, that opens up a big old can of worms doesn’t it? We have to deal with all the hurt and damaged pride and probably, unless several partners tell us the same, we go into self-denial thinking “I am right and everyone else is wrong.” The same with driving, “How can I possible be wrong? I have always been a safe driver!”
Julian Smith

What a joke !!

Senator Jim DeMint (R-SC) made an announcement last week that the reason the Republicans are losing so badly these days is because of “forced unionism”. He said that especially in the Northeast, good Republican voters are leaving the area to migrate South to avoid labor unions and “forced unionism”. So now Dems outnumber Republicans in these non right to work states.
Is this guy a joke or what??
He doesn’t explain why the Democrats carried North Carolina or Virginia, both considered Southern right-to-work states, in 2008. Nor why other right to work states abandoned the Republican party that year, like Florida, Nevada, Utah and Arizona.
The Republicans really need to put a clamp on who’s allowed to speak publicly for the party and who’s not. Statements like this only make the Republicans look stupid.

Democrats and ‘The Magic Bullet’

As counsel for the Warren Commission, Arlen Specter described a “magic bullet” that changed America. Four decades later as a U.S. senator, Specter is providing another history-altering magic bullet – one Democrats will either fire off in a starting gun, or use in their suicide.

By leaving the Republican Party this week, the five-term Pennsylvania lawmaker eliminated the last Democratic rationale for inaction: the Senate filibuster. With Minnesota Democrat Al Franken expected to be seated soon, and now with Specter, Democrats will have the 60 Senate votes needed to overcome all parliamentary obstructions.

This legislative magic bullet will force Democrats to fulfill their policy promises and commence an era of dominance, or fail and get annihilated at the polls.

No longer can they blame Republicans for stopping bills to reform health care, tax, defense and trade policy. In command of the White House, the autocratic House of Representatives, and soon a filibuster-proof Senate, Democrats will have total authority to do whatever they want, and no scapegoat to fault. That means, as ABC News’ Rick Klein said, “This is Democrats’ turn to govern, no excuses” – and it means we’re about to find out whether their pledges were genuine.

David Sirota, Common Dreams

The Use and Abuse of Telematics

I had and interesting new experience with Telematics. The managers posted a bunch of Google Earth pictures showing the driver routes superimposed over the aerial picture from Google earth. They then put comments above the pictures about what they felt the We deserve betterdriver was doing wrong. On one picture they were commenting how the driver had not stop completed any packages at the location, and had a hundred foot backing episode. Their last comment was, “what was the driver doing there if he wasn’t making deliveries?” It turns out the picture was of our satellite center in the mountains. The driver that was in there was the shuttle driver bringing up the loads for the other two drivers based out of that center. Of course he would show no deliveries. I’m betting they reviewed this satellite image with that driver having a “your screwing us” attitude. As I’ve stated in the past. “Just another harassment technique.
               Now they can harass you for simply doing your job.

When Will UPS Ditch NASCAR ?

When will UPS stop pumping millions of dollars into its fading advertising vehicle….. NASCAR? UPS is known around the world as the tightest ship in the shipping business, but it spends money like a drunken sailor when it comes to racing. A recent article in the CATSTOCKBLOG highlighted the problem for all sponsors:

“Caterpillar is among the prominent NASCAR sponsors that have to be asking themselves how much they really need to spend keeping racing teams afloat, especially in light of this Forbes magazine article highlighting just how far NASCAR has fallen from fan favor in the past five years. The woes: Cars look the same. Drivers look the same. Races look the same.”

Has UPS exhausted the benefits of its days at the track?

While Dale Jarret was not much of winner on the track by the time he came to UPS, the company enjoyed many years of successful advertising with its ‘Race the Truck’ campaign.  Jarrett was the perfect foil for UPS advertisements. Jarrett was the one time king-of-the-jungle that UPS reduced to a comical lion in the petting zoo manufactured by Madison Avenue.  But Jarrett didn’t win many races, and in 2007 he had a hard time even qualifying.

Are the glory days over?

“It can cost $10 million to recruit a winning driver and $25 million a year to race one car. Most teams raced two or three last year, and 90% of their operating budget came from corporate sponsors. The rich sponsorship deals signed during the fat years earlier this decade are expiring, and new sponsor money is drying up. Domino’s Pizza, a primary sponsor of Michael Waltrip Racing, and Eastman Kodak, a sponsor of Penske Racing, threw in the towel after last season. Also gone are Coors Light and Tide.”

And then there’s the paradox of UPS trying to market itself as a ‘green’ company while tying its advertising campaigns to racing. NASCAR is not a ‘green’ sport. It’s a high pollution sport. It’s an enviromentalist’s nightmare. NASCAR has tried to soften it’s image this year by using a hybrid pace car, but once that car leaves the track, any thought of ‘going green’ is brushed aside.

While UPS can’t afford management raises or driver reward programs, does it make good sense to spend millions of dollars on one sport with a declining fan base? I think UPS sponsorship of NASCAR has run it’s course. I think it’s time to ditch NASCAR and spend our money on our own people, not on one racing team.

Company Continues Service Level Cuts

The company announced to drivers today that any package with three delivery attempts will be returned to the shipper. No more post cards. No more phone calls. No more fourth attempts. Before it was only COD’s that were immediatly returned. Now all ground, and all air will be sent back after three attempts, no exceptions. Wonder what the wine companies will think when they get half of everything they ship back?

UPS driver information