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!

E Plab Nista

What part of “We the People”, has our government forgotten. The polling shows, somewhere in the neighborhood of 62%These are not holy words, they are the words of the people of the people in this country, support the public option as part of the health care reform package. Yet our Congress people act as if it is more important to give the same corporations that created this mess, a handout. They have a, “we can’t sell out our corporate money people just to provide a real service to the American people”, attitude
     . It’s obvious that these people are all corporatists including Barack Obama. All you have to do is follow the Insurance company dollar and you will see that the debate has been bought and paid for by these corporations.
     What the end result will be is nothing for the people that need it. The corporations have determined there is no profit in insuring the poor, and the pre-existing condition, and by damned, we’re going to see to it that they stay uninsured.
     The bill of rights was originally written for the people, but the corporations, and our bought and sold politicians, have seen to it that the word “people” is removed and replaced with the word “corporation”.

There will be no change in Washington from either side until the people get to pick the candidates, not corporate money. Simple as that!

It’s Not a Life Sentence

      I ran across a little article in the paper the other day that really made me think. It seems the longest working employee at UPS retired this year on Founder’s Day. Marty Peters, who is only 87 years old, finally hung up the browns after 67 years with the company. My first thought on seeing this was “God man, get a life.” Why would somebody choose to go to work instead of retiring when they have the chance? Life after UPS
     One reason is that people are simply scared to retire. They think they can’t afford it. Or they hear stories of people retiring and dying in 6 months. They’re scared they might be one of those people. They’re afraid and it’s easier to keep going to work than it is to make a life change. I know  a lot of you are thinking, “Man, I’d retire tomorrow if I was eligible.” But would you..really…?? I know a lot UPSers who have over 30 years, hate their jobs, but feel they can’t walk out just yet.
      I think there are few key factors that can make retirement possible and affordable. One is pay down your debts, like your house, as much as you can. You don’t have to have it paid off to retire, that’s a myth. Also, have a good financial planner.  Make a plan and stick to it. (I can recommend mine if you can’t find one). Get into a savings plan, like a 401(k) and don’t take any money out of it. And, for heaven’s sake, be willing to work part time when you retire. 
     With a defined benefit pension, it’s easy to plan for retirement. You know how much money to expect right off the bat. Thirty years of service nets you about $3000 a month. At age 62, you can draw your Social Security which should be more than half that amount again. When you add it up, that’s over $50,000 a year. A good financial planner should be able to set  you up with a comfortable lifestyle with those base figures. If you feel that won’t be enough, then you need to change your savings and spending habits now. 
     I’m telling you, nobody needs to work until they are 87. I’m coming up on the first year anniversary of retirement. Sept. 19 was my last day on the street and October 1  was my first day of retirement. I’m having a great time, money is not a problem and I haven’t looked back. I don’t miss working long hours and getting yelled at. Retirement should be the best years of your life. Be ready to jump as early as you can.

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            ______________________________