Here is a bit of an article that appeared in the Wall Street Journal. It talks about the trust that comes with encouraging employees to be on a first name basis with management and it uses UPS as an example. I thought it was kind of interesting. Here is what it said.
“A relaxed, open work atmosphere can encourage collaboration and a free flow of ideas, and some companies promote the use of first names and nicknames to help employees bond, as well as feel comfortable enough with their superiors to give honest feedback. Some companies have a written policy that all employees must be on a first-name basis.
United Parcel Service Inc., Atlanta, has had such a rule since its first policy book, written by founder Jim Casey in 1929. Spokeswoman Diana Hatcher says the policy reinforces the democratic nature of the company, which often finds senior management in-house.
“Our former CEO [Michael Eskew] began his job as an industrial engineer 34 years ago,” she says. “And he’s Mike. I wouldn’t dream of calling him anything else. It’s a reminder that a person who starts out as a seasonal employee could be our next CEO.”
But the policy has ruffled some employees overseas. UPS has 400,000 employees in 200 countries, with more than 58,000 operating outside the U.S.
Nonetheless, John Flick, director of international public relations at UPS, believes the guideline helps new workers feel confident making suggestions to management. “At first it’s a cultural coup,” Mr. Flick says. “But once they get over the initial shock, everyone I’ve dealt with has embraced it.”
In some regions with strict social strata — such as India, China, Latin America and even Britain — he says the rule is a motivator for employees, enforcing the idea of work being rewarded with promotion. Mr. Flick says it also leads to innovation, as people aren’t afraid to speak up to management.”
Doesn’t that sound great? I didn’t know that UPS had a written policy that all employees must be on a first name basis. I used to have a manager that would call me by my first name when in a good mood and by my last name when in a bad mood. I always knew what to expect just by hearing my name called.
I also liked that part about how the casual approach leads to innovation because workers aren’t afraid to speak up to management. Wow, what planet do these people live on? It sure isn’t Planet UPS. In the trenches, where I lived and worked for 30 years, UPS didn’t want our input. They lived behind a big fence and written on that fence were the words: If workers were smart enough to have good ideas, they’d be in management.
One of the more intriguing chapters in labor history involves a decision by the Kellogg Company in 1930 to cut workers’ hours from a 40- to a 30-hour week. We could learn a thing or two from this example.
At the outset of the Depression, the company figured this would create 300 more jobs. Company President Lewis Brown also hoped it would give workers more time to spend with their families and to participate in their communities, and that it would lead to “higher standards” in school and civic life.
Workers did use their extra time off for gardening, visiting libraries, and family activities, according to reporters’ accounts, a 1996 book titled “Kellogg’s Six-Hour Day,” and a study by the US Department of Labor. Most of the workers seemed to embrace the trade-off.
We have since come to accept a different idea, one that puts us in the role of consumers who aim to maximize our working hours and income. To what gain?
When the Kellogg experiment was launched, the country was already headed in a direction that one business leader of the time described as “the gospel of consumption.” Slowed by the Depression, the direction came into full flower after World War II, nurtured by an increasingly pervasive and sophisticated advertising industry. Now most of us have been thoroughly indoctrinated in that gospel.
What if, in this shrinking economy, we learned from the Kellogg example and instead of laying people off, US businesses first cut back hours?
I’ve been in mangt with UPS for over twenty years and it has been a terrible time. The relentless conf calls and berating that mangt takes is not right. The demands on one’s time is ridiculous, the average Full time supervisor works 11-13 hours per day ? The last five years have been worst then ever because we have had such a brain drain of our solid leaders and now with battlefield promotions of people who have little or no success, we are being managed by a cast of idiots. Talk with a UPS mangt person and they will tell you their retirement date, why? because they can’t wait to leave. Most of us cannot afford to leave due to a pension at the end of our term. But there is hope, UPS paid out over 80 million in a major lawsuit with our part time supervisors. The lawsuit was about abusing this groups hours, (making them work 6-7 hours per day) but only paying them 5.5. This lawsuit has caused a fault line thru the higher ranks from Atlanta right down to us lowly Full time supervisor’s. We are threatened at least once a week about this lawsuit and to monitor our people’s hours. When in fact it was upper mangt who looked the other way on this practice. Although we are salaried employees I believe that there is a very strong under current brewing across the company that we should not be mistreated, berated or overworked to the degree that we have been and this lawsuit was the first opening for us. Want proof of this nasty enviroment? Ask the next UPS driver you run into about him or her joining the mangt ranks and be ready for their response of complete anger or a loud laugh. In the past we would have a bench of 2-3 employees per operating center waiting to become mangt. now there is hardly one per operating district? FYI, I am still employed at UPS, and I am not one of those “dirtbag” mangt people that upper mangt has looked down upon. I am fortunately still in good graces with upper mangt and I am looked upon as a leader for my operating center, so I do not post this material as a scorned, irrational revengeful person. I post this information because I want the other mangt people at UPS to stand up and help change our company back to the way it was before. As many of us say to each other everyday, “What was once a career, is now a job”. By the way it is peak delivery season and evryone is being e-mailed daily not to have their drivers go over the DOT rules of 60 hours, but how many mangt people are on the road more then 60 hours?
Grocery workers in Colorado are facing a lockout.
You can SPEND ONE MINUTE to help them:
30 seconds to read this.
20 seconds to print it out, and leave it by the phone.
10 seconds to call governor Ritter’s office.
Ask him to sign the lockout bill. They take calls on weekdays, 8 AM to 5 PM.
In 1996, King Soopers and Safeway had a secret agreement. When King Soopers workers voted to strike, Safeway locked out thousands of Safeway workers.
Safeway workers did not vote to strike, or even to reject a proposed agreement — they weren’t given the chance. They suddenly found themselves out of a job, on the street, forced by their employer into a strike situation.
During current contract talks between the grocery workers’ union and grocery chains, the threat of a lockout once again looms.
Governor Owens and a Republican legislature change the law in 1999, taking away protection for locked out workers.
The bill on Governor Ritter’s desk would restore the law to what it used to be, giving locked out workers the opportunity to draw unemployment insurance.
The companies don’t want that — they’d rather have unionized workers at the mercy of their employer during any job action, helping the employer to lower wages and reduce benefits. Wages of most grocery workers are already near minimum wage(!)
In the past, Governor Ritter has supported workers, but he has also vetoed pro-worker legislation. The companies are pressuring him to veto this bill.
Please call Governor Ritter early Monday morning, and throughout the week to ask him to sign HB 1170, the lockout bill. Give working people a break.
And then please pass this on to friends, family, and co-workers, and ask them to do the same.
The Old- We’ll provide better service and a better quality product at the lowest possible price maximizing our profitability. People will flock to us because we offer them the best product for their money.
The world will be a better place as a result.
The New- We’ll cut service and quality to the lowest possible level and charge the highest possible price maximizing our profitability with the least amount of effort.
The world will be a better place as a result.
Welcome to today. The wonderful world of greed.
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. 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
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?
Is 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!”