Giving UPS the finger

Have you ever wanted to give UPS the finger but were afraid to?

Well, here is how they do it at Local 177 in New Jersey.


What Type of Pension Do You Have?

     Do you know the difference between a defined benefit and a defined contribution pension, which kind you have and which is better? Every driver at UPS should know the answers to these questions because every driver would retire today if they had the opportunity. The money, the insurance and the pension. That’s why people work at UPS. I don’t know anyone who stays because they enjoy it. No Surrender
     As a retiree, I know quite a bit about the pension.  I’ve jumped through all the hoops and tried to ask all the right questions. I’ve struggled to understand the insurance and I’ve searched for that open door at UPS where I could go in and sit down get all my questions answered. That door doesn’t exist, of course, and in reality it’s really difficult to get  information about the pension because the company has no website or local pension experts. I’ve heard people speculate that the reason UPS doesn’t talk about the pension is because they plan to convert to a defined contribution as soon as possible.
     Liz Pullium  Weston has written a great article What’s killing pension plans? Maybe you  and in concise terms it tells you why you have the best type of pension and what you should be willing to do to keep it. Nothing in this world worth keeping is free anymore. As workers across America lose their jobs, their benefits, and even their homes, UPSers feel insulated and safe. But are we? 

     I think a smart and united workforce could give UPS a run for their money as we enter this new millinium of corporate power. But when push comes to shove, will UPSers be too scared to stand up? I reached a point where I couldn’t stand back and watch UPS steamroll over all the employees around me. I stood up. I began to fight back. I became a steward. I started a website. 

     If you are reaching that point too, a good place to begin would be the pension article I mention above.

     Knowledge is power. Grab it.

Hits Home for Some

Written By Regina Brett, 90 years old, of The Plain Dealer, Cleveland , Ohio …

“To celebrate growing older, I once wrote the 45 lessons life taught me. It is the most-requested column I’ve ever written. My odometer rolled over to 90 in August, so here is the column once more:”

1. Life isn’t fair, but it’s still good.

2. When in doubt, just take the next small step.

3. Life is too short to waste time hating anyone.

4. Your job won’t take care of you when you are sick. Your friends and parents will. Stay in touch.

5. Pay off your credit cards every month..

6. You don’t have to win every argument. Agree to disagree.

7. Cry with someone. It’s more healing than crying alone.

8. It’s OK to get angry with God. He can take it.

9. Save for retirement starting with your first paycheck.

10. When it comes to chocolate, resistance is futile.

11. Make peace with your past so it won’t screw up the present.

12. It’s OK to let your children see you cry.

13. Don’t compare your life to others. You have no idea what their journey is all about.

14. If a relationship has to be a secret, you shouldn’t be in it.

15. Everything can change in the blink of an eye. But don’t worry; God never blinks.

16. Take a deep breath. It calms the mind.

17. Get rid of anything that isn’t useful, beautiful or joyful.

18. Whatever doesn’t kill you really does make you stronger.

19. It’s never too late to have a happy childhood. But the second one is up to you and no one else.

20. When it comes to going after what you love in life, don’t take no for an answer.

21. Burn the candles, use the nice sheets, wear the fancy lingerie. Don’t save it for a special occasion. Today is special.

22. Over prepare, then go with the flow.

23. Be eccentric now. Don’t wait for old age to wear purple.

24. No one is in charge of your happiness but you.

25. Frame every so-called disaster with these words ”In five years, will this matter?”..

26. Always choose life.

27. Forgive everyone everything.

28. What other people think of you is none of your business.

29. Time heals almost everything. Give time, time.

30. However good or bad a situation is, it will change.

31. Don’t take yourself so seriously. No one else does.

32. Believe in miracles.

33. God loves you because of who God is, not because of anything you did or didn’t do.

34. Don’t audit life. Show up and make the most of it now.

35. Growing old beats the alternative — dying young.

36. Your children get only one childhood..

37. All that truly matters in the end is that you loved.

38. Get outside every day. Miracles are waiting everywhere.

39. If we all threw our problems in a pile and saw everyone else’s, we’d grab ours back.

40. Envy is a waste of time. You already have all you need.

41. The best is yet to come.

42.. No matter how you feel, get up, dress up and show up.

43. Yield.

44… Life isn’t tied with a bow, but it’s still a gift.

Alternative ERI – The slightly different survey on UPS´employee relations

The UPS ERI survey has been suspended due to the economic crisis.
When it comes back, it will be called EOS, and it is stated that it is going to help management to improve workplace atmosphere and teamwork in your local plant.
Others consider the ERI survey to be an instrument of control and manipulation. Especially the circumstances under which ERI is taking place, the PCMs and informal talks that go with it and the subsequent ERI-meetings are widely criticised.
Therefore we (a network of rank and file UPSers and trade unionists not only from Germany) are offering an alternative ERI for the third time now, despite the crisis.
Our survey will end on December 12th. The results will be published here soon after.
You may add your comments and your location at the end of the survey. We are grateful for any comments, suggestions or criticisms. Thank you for participating and have fun completing the survey.

Alternative ERI – The slightly different survey on UPS´employee relations.

The “Low Information” Union Member

   The Hypocrites Handbook  Have you ever noticed that the “Low Information” voter tends to go hand in hand with the “Low Information” union member? Many of our Teamsters simply don’t care where their benefits or job security come from. They have the “feeling” that they are simply entitled to what they have for employment, and that they need not put any effort or thought into the “how and why and who”, that is involved with the care and feeding of their family. It’s basically the lazy way out. Since they can make the assumption they’d have these benefits anyway, they can make the assumption they don’t have to be involved with the negotiation process, or the union that negotiates for them.
     As stewards we watch how these people never get involved, bad mouth the union as a bunch of crooks, until they do something that gets them terminated. Suddenly they are the Union’s best buddy. The hypocrisy of these people is obvious when, upon the resolution of their case, they return to being the “low information” Union member they were before. 
     Somehow they have come to the conclusion that it is the steward’s and the union’s obligation to baby them. The steward somehow is obligated to see to it that the company stays off their ass. Of course the minute they disagree with anything, (usually without any information), they think they have the right to confront and belittle the steward and/or the union. 
     It’s amazing to me that the most anti-union members, are also down right stupid when it comes to where their livelihood comes from and what their dues pay for. They are also the people that are the most likely to be fired, I feel, because they are basically dishonest and are generally to stupid to know when something is wrong. I feel it’s because they think they are owed a living, and that everyone else was put on this earth to take care of them. 
     I have watched from a political standpoint as well. These same selfish bastards are the first ones on welfare, the first ones on unemployment, the first ones on medicare, the first ones to demand their pension, and the most vocal about how bad their “Union job” is. They continually bite the hand that feeds them. They bad mouth the organizations that fight the corporations, that keep them from becoming slave labor, without health care, without retirement, without pensions, etc.
It’s obvious they think with another part of their anatomy, not with their brain! 
                        “Low Information” Union Member= Self Serving Hypocrite.  

Unions Must Attract the Young and Hip—or Become Obsolete

Our mental images of labor seem so out of date.

More to the point, they might actually hurt efforts at union growth. When forced to conjure up an image of workers, the average American thinks of burly, middle-aged blue-collar workers: auto, mine or longshore workers circa 1950.

But today’s typical union member is more educated, more female and less white than at any time in American history. This diversity is a strength we should  celebrate and make known.

As David Moberg detailed in a recent study by the Center for Labor and Policy Research reported that today white men make up only 38% of union members. The report went on to say that

Union workers, like the rest of the workforce, are now almost half women, older, more educated, and more racially and ethnically diverse….In the next decade, the rise of women to majority status in the labor movement and the likely continued influx of racial and ethnic minorities into unions are likely to be among the most important developments for organized labor.

The crucial question is, how will organized labor deal with these demographic changes?

One change that is important and missing from current discussions about the fate of organized labor movement is age. The union movement in America is aging fast, and not bringing new, younger members into the fold in sufficient numbers to rejuvenate itself.

Are we only a few years away from a union movemen that looks like an AARP meeting?

More importantly, support for unions has been declining in the public. Many young people do not see the value of unions, thinking of them as quaint but ineffective relics of the liberal past. Unions need to find ways to reach out to young Americans and connect with them if the movement is going to have a real chance at surviving into the 21st century.

There are many critical issues labor needs to deal with, but getting support from the youth of America must not be ignored. In recent years, business has learned the value of culture, hiring consultants to use social media and develop a cultural brand.

President Obama’s election shows the power of mobilize twenty-somethings around an idea or brand. Imagine if organized labor could tap into youth culture, making unions hip the same way Obama’s handlers made him hip! Well, a man can dream.

Richard Greenwald

Which One of You is the Steward of the Future?

   Stewards of the future?  With the retirement of so many looming, many of our stewards, and activist members, will be moving on to greener, (as opposed to browner), pastures. We have many drivers with long histories of experience driving for the big brown giant, and also riding the horses in the Teamsters Union. Many of them have been responsible for the day to day contractual decisions the average driver lives by.
     The push for nine-five language was pushed by today’s steward. The optional holiday was pushed by today’s stewards. The eight hour request was pushed by today’s stewards.
     Today’s stewards rose to the occasion because of the injustices of yesterday. Twelve hour days were the norm. No days off without calling in sick and being disciplined for any reason. No chance to attend family functions, or be a part of your kids lives. None of these languages were a part of the contract in the 70’s.
     The company didn’t provide these things out of the goodness of their heart. Your Teamster steward stood up at the many meetings over the years and demanded they be negotiated into the contract.
     The company has a long history of forcing it’s employees to sell their soul, and give up their home life for the benefit of the bottom line. That push goes on today. Our discussion of the bottom line continues.
     The issue is many of those fighting stewards will be gone in the coming years between now and the next contract.
     Which one of you younger drivers will take the gauntlet and run?
Which one of you will overcome your fears of dealing with management and become the next “Teamster Steward”? Which one of you will be instrumental in shaping the future of the drivers yet to be? Which one of you will shape your lives in the new technologies yet to be introduced inside of this huge corporation? Which of you will make the best decisions for your members when the politics of the time are such that you will be under attack from outside the union?
     The life we live inside of big brown has been shaped by the men and women of the past. The future will be shaped by those of you with guts enough to rise to the occasion today. Yes, we old timers “got ours”. We “got ours”, because we fought for it tooth and nail. We rose to the occasion. We took an interest in the function of our local union. We took on the company in their office every morning. We stood up at the Union meeting and demanded the representation we paid for in our Union dues. We insisted that our Union represent our needs in contract negotiations.
     Now it’s your turn. The old timers have shaped today.
     You young guys and girls get to shape tomorrow.
Rise to the occasion!

Telematics is Lurking in the Background

     The company slowed down throwing Telematics in our faces on a daily basis. It’s best you don’t forget it’s there though. On anyIt's all about the map! incident, out of the ordinary, out comes the Telematics printouts. The first thing they look at is, “were you supposed to be there?” Don’t believe for a minute that Harry the IE man is not still looking for any irregularities on any given day.
      Your center manager receives daily e-mails from IE telling him of any discrepancies. Usually the center manager will look at the WOR to see if you ran decent for the day. If you did, he/she will usually go on to some other problem child. If not you can bet they will be throwing it in your face.
     Remember the goal is to have a reason to harass you. Even if you have a good excuse for any discrepancy, they will still treat you as if you are a lying, cheating thief. Their comment will always be, “sure, you always have an excuse for everything”.
     It doesn’t matter if the pre-load sucked that day. It doesn’t matter if traffic was bad. It doesn’t matter if they gave you some BS split. If you ran bad, they will pick the fly-crap out of the pepper, and that will be the reason you are a dirt bag. 
     Get used to it. The first rule is to have you union steward by your side every time you talk to them. Don’t think they are looking the other way. We have had 3 fireballs fired because of Telematics discrepancies. One even was a scab during the strike, so you get the idea that they are not taking any prisoners.
     Do the job right. They must directly observe you, and you must have the intent to be dishonest for them to discipline you. Of course harassment is discipline to most people, but you will have a long career of that so get used to it. 

UPS Looking for Volume Growth in 2010

United Parcel Service (NYSE:UPS) is looking for volume growth in 2010, and will hike shipping rates in 2010 as well, according to a Reuters report.

CEO Scott Davis told Reuters that he thinks the company will see “positive volumes next year, as the economy improves.”

Earlier in the day, Davis had told a gathering of business leaders in Singapore, that he believes the recovery is real and sustainable, but vulnerable.

Rival FedEx has already hiked rates for next year, and UPS said it will announce the amount of its hike later this month.

Is UPS the Problem?

What is wrong here?

This article just appeared on that  left-wing rag, Common Dreams.

  • “Forget the rumored financial crisis, layoffs and foreclosures: The three biggest Wall Street banks to get bailed out are set to pay record bonuses of almost $30 billion, up 60 percent from last year. Goldman Sachs, Morgan Stanley and JP Morgan Chase will hand out $29.7 billion, paying each lucky employee almost five times the U.S. median household income.”

Am I crazy or is that just not right.

The problem with America today is Corporate Power. This not a government of the people, by the people, for the people, it’s a government for the corporations. Money buys the ear of every politician in Washington and the corporations have all the money. It’s not rocket science to figure out who runs the country.

But what about UPS? I know they don’t pay outlandish salaries or bonuses. (Thank God. I’d be embarrassed to be an hourly employee at Goldman Sachs.) Still, UPS operates in the same league as Morgan Stanley and the others. Their lobbying money goes into Congressional pockets and bills and amendments are written to their liking. Our government for the people becomes a government for the corporation.

I know UPS has provided me the opportunity to make a good living, but I just feel like I’m in the belly of the beast sometimes, pointing out at JP Morgan and yelling, “They’re the problem.”