Stewards Tend the Union Garden

       It’s important that we grow the company because it makes our jobs and our pensions more secure. But it’s equally important to grow the Union. Many people don’t know how to grow the Union. They think it takes a big organizing campaign to bring in new workers under the Teamster umbrella. But there are many things you can do everyday to grow the Teamsters Union. Here are a few of them.

      First, take your full lunch everyday. We are required to take a full lunch every day and each minute you don’t take and choose to work for free is time that should have been paid to a Teamster. Our building dispatches hundreds of routes a day and if just 8 of those drivers skip their lunch, they have absorbed an entire route that should have been dispatched and run by a Teamster. Don’t let the company reduce our ranks and weaken our pension by skipping your lunch. Every full-time Teamster on the payroll is another person paying into the pension plan.
        UnionUse your 8-hour requests. Every Denver driver gets three 8-hour requests per month. Our center has 45 drivers. If each one reduced their dispatch by one hour (from 9 to 8 hours), 3 times a month, that’s 135 hours a month or the equivalent of over 3 weeks of work that we could generate just by taking what’s is rightfully ours to enjoy. We could add a driver in our center if everyone used all of their 8-hour requests.
        Refuse to work excessive overtime. We have strong 9.5 language in our contract. Use it. Keep your hours under control and the company will need more drivers to cover the routes that we are running ourselves right now by working 10 to 11 hours a day. Just 8 drivers working an extra hour per day are absorbing a route that some part timer has been waiting years to start on. Excessive overtime weakens our pensions and hurts our families.
        Don’t work off the clock. Every time you work off the clock you are giving the company a false impression of how long and how many people it takes to get the job done. Don’t give away precious minutes that someone should be paid for. UPS made $3 billion profit last year, you don’t have to work for free to keep them afloat.
        Stop supervisors from doing our work. Go to your steward every time you see a supervisor working and have him investigate the reason for this violation. Sometimes the reasons are legitimate, sometimes not. If not, then file a grievance. Time slip grievances encourage the company to put on more people.
        And finally, grow the business. The company consistently refuses to hire more people because the growth is flat. They say it would be bad management to add people when the business isn’t growing. So, grow the business and grow the Union. 
        None of these simple ways to grow the Union require a degree in organizing or long weekends spent talking to unorganized workers. These are things we can do everyday at work to grow our Union and strengthen our pensions.


Thank God for Good Samaritans

There are times when UPS drivers need a little help. Here is one such time.

                     Passerby Helps Police Capture Suspects in Attack on UPS Driver

Burlington, Vermont – July 8, 2010

Nathan Noble’s work day was anything but mundane last Monday.

“It was pretty bad. I’ve never seen anything like this,” he said.

The 23-year-old Hilton Hotel employee had just dropped some guests off at the airport and was driving back to the hotel when he saw something out the ordinary; a UPS driver being pulled out of his truck and beaten to a bloody pulp.

“Yep, threw him up against the fence and all I saw as his head getting smashed in,” Noble said.

The driver tells police he was ambushed. He claims he was driving down Grove Street in Burlington when two strangers suddenly threw a large tree branch in front of his truck. When he stopped to confront them– he says he was attacked.

“Just stupidity; sheer, plain stupidity,” Burlington Police Lt. Emmet Helrich said. “I literally think they just threw the log in front of the truck to be wise guys.”

Nathan Noble was one of several drivers that watched the attack unfold, but to his amazement he was the only one to stop.

“They literally slowed down and then just kept driving,” he said of the other motorists.

Noble called 911 and then picked up the branch and went after the two guys. And when they took off he continued to follow. Soon after, police arrested 19-year-old Jason O’Reilly and 18-year-old Nicholas Gardner. Something they say they couldn’t have done without Noble’s help.

“This kid just saw it and he knew he had to do something. So he ran out, which is pretty cool,” Helrich said.

UPS officials here in Williston would not comment on the driver’s injuries, other than to say he’s doing OK, but is still recovering.

Gardner and O’Reilly are being charged with simple assault and disorderly conduct and could receive jail time if convicted.

Telematics=Management Scam

     Telematics is the new management scam. The company spent millions to implement Telematics just so they caI'm the Hotdogger From Hell n keep the fear of the “Lord and Master” in all the drivers. When they implement Telematics in a center, they usually make a big scene singling out offending drivers for seat belt issues, or excess breaks in their day. The idea being the drivers will cower in fear, and keep the idea that the “Lord and Master’s” constantly watching.
     Usually the end result is a major drop in “stops per on road”. When they feel that the drivers are sufficiently fearful, the managers go back in to their hot doggers and whisper, “don’t worry”, I’ll look after you. “Do it the way you always have!” The driver will breath a sigh of relief, and return to their humping and dumping ways, thinking they are immune from prosecution under Telematics. The managers breath a sigh of relief because their production shows a steady increase.
                                            But Wait!
     What most managers, and drivers forget is the trusted Minion of the “Lord and Master” can watch the Telematics printouts of any center, anywhere. They constantly look for gaps in time, excessive break, no seat belts, excessive backing, all the things that Telematics can report. A report is e-mailed to the center manager with a demand for the driver to be disciplined. The Minion has no “deal” with the driver, and doesn’t care if he or she is the “hotdog from hell” of a delivery person.
     The Minion of course is on his own “death watch” and has a “MAR” requirement issued by the “Lord and Master” to kill off a certain number of drivers a week. The center manager, who is also under “constant death watch”, must also respond to the Minions demands for discipline, or he will be removed for lack of management ability, and ineffective management.
     Usually it’s the hotdoggers that get caught under Telematics because they are playing games with the system. They often will split stops to improve performance, or play games with air commit times, or throw packages anywhere to speed up the delivery process, along with driving like idiots, and failing to use their seat belts, etc.
     After the implementation of Telematics in our building, 5 drivers were Terminated, and 3 never returned. All were humper dumper’s, one was even a scab from the strike days.
     The drivers that follow the methods fall from view of the Minion and live “happily ever after”. Of course that’s happily ever after with brown, where you never are “happily”, and “ever after” never seems to come.
                    “Ever after may never come to the hot dogging, humper dumper, now with Telematics!

Don’t Make Me Laugh

                                            that's funnyStewards usually have a pretty good sense of humor and enjoy a good joke. Here’s something that stewards often hear that always makes them laugh.  

      The joke goes something like this.

      I don’t use the methods but they wouldn’t fire me because: I run under for them all time. My supervisor likes me. Their numbers would go in the toilet if they fired me. I’d slow way down if they tried to fire me. 
      I skip my lunch for them. Nobody else could do that route like I do. I bring in big accounts. I don’t file grievances. I’ve never been in trouble. I don’t report injuries even though my back hurts all the time. I saved their butts so many times. Nobody else works as hard as I do. I don’t complain about excessive overtime. 
      I’m never late and never call in sick. I socialized with the boss before he went into management. Upper management likes me. Or the funniest one of all: They wouldn’t fire me because I’m the best driver in the center, they tell me so all the time.

Truck Driver Chokes On Pork Rinds, Ends In Ditch

        Those were some gooooooood pork rinds
        BLAINE, Wash. (AP) – A Washington State Patrol trooper says the driver of a FedEx tractor-trailer rig choked on some spicy pork rinds, lost control of his truck on an interstate and jackknifed it before coming to a stop in a muddy ditch.
        Trooper Keith Leary says Edward Sutherland was driving his rig southbound from Blaine near the Canadian border Monday when he began choking and veered from the southbound lanes across the median into northbound lanes of Interstate 5.

        The trooper says the truck didn’t hit any vehicles. Leary says the 42-year-old driver suffered minor injuries and will be cited for driving with wheels off the roadway.

    The 10 Most Dangerous Foods to Eat While Driving

        Drivers who are drinking and stuffing their faces while on the road are a serious problem. Hagerty Classic Insurance, a provider of classic-car insurance, began to look more closely at this issue after a DMV check on an insurance applicant turned up a “restraining order” against anything edible within his reach while driving. Eating while you drive is one of the most distracting things you can do, according to several recent surveys by insurance companies and data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). “It really seems it’s more the spill than the eating,” says Hagerty. “Anything that drips is probably not a good idea.” Hagerty and his staff decided to do a study of their own to see which foods are the worst offenders, and although Hagerty says he ruined a few shirts in the process, they found some interesting information. 

       The top 10 food offenders in a car are:

        Coffee — It always finds a way out of the cup.
        Hot soup — Many people drink it like coffee and run the same risks.
         Tacos — “A food that can disassemble itself without much help, leaving your car looking like a salad bar,” says Hagerty.
        Chili — The potential for drips and slops down the front of clothing is significant.
        Hamburgers — From the grease of the burger to ketchup and mustard, it could all end up on your hands, your clothes, and the steering wheel.
        Barbecued food — The same issue arises for barbecued foods as for hamburgers. The sauce may be great, but if you have to lick your fingers, the sauce will end up on whatever you touch.
        Fried chicken — Another food that leaves you with greasy hands, which means constantly wiping them on something, even if it’s your shirt. It also makes the steering wheel greasy.
        Jelly or cream-filled donuts — Has anyone eaten a jelly donut without some of the center oozing out?
        Soft drinks — Not only are they subject to spills, but also the carbonated kind can fizz as you’re drinking if you make sudden movements, and most of us remember cola fizz in the nose from childhood. It isn’t any more pleasant now.
        Chocolate — Like greasy foods, chocolate coats the fingers as it melts against the warmth of your skin, and leaves its mark anywhere you touch. As you try to clean it off the steering wheel you’re likely to end up swerving.

        According to a survey conducted by the Response Insurance Agency, eating while driving ranks as the No. 2 driving distraction. Fifty-seven percent of drivers surveyed say they eat and drive. The No. 1 distraction noted by 62 percent of surveyed drivers is tuning the radio, and No. 3, noted by 56 percent of drivers, is turning around to talk with passengers. Interestingly, only 29 percent of drivers surveyed listed talking on a cell phone as a distracting activity in which they engage.

Steward Rules to Live By

1. Do something even if it’s wrong, but do something!

2. Never be afraid to wade into a fight!

3. Your right, even when your wrong, your right.

4. If you can’t dazzle them with brilliance, baffle them with bullshit!

5. The contract always says what you need it to say, even if it doesn’t say that!

6. Always stay connected to your Local Union!

7. Never let management tell you how to be a steward!

8. Always be on the side of the member, never take managements side, even if they are right!

9. Never let management talk to a driver alone!

10. When a case rises to termination level, talk to the driver to get all information before you go in the office. Don’t learn the drivers side while you are in there!

11. Never take the management word on what happened. They will always slant it to their benefit!

12. Always be proud you are a Teamster!


        A lot of people think UPS issues discipline as punishment for mistakes. UPS likes to say that discipline is not designed to punish, but is a tool they use to raise awareness and change behavior. I had many arguments with UPS management over the use of discipline. 

         Next time you'll get a suspension! My biggest complaint is that I feel discipline is unnecessary to change the behavior of adults. We are not children. No adult is happy about getting spanked. We are all old enough to change our behavior without UPS threatening our jobs. If the bad behavior is reviewed and a promise is made to correct it, then what’s the need for discipline? Management counters that the first time a mistake is made; it usually is only talked about and documented. Then, if it’s not corrected, discipline is used. Most discipline, they say, is given on the second offense. 
        Progressive discipline should never be taken lightly. Whether intended to punish or not, it’s always a threat to your job. Warning letter, suspension and then termination. Three strikes and you’re out. You should always file a grievance when you receive discipline and you should never receive discipline without a union steward present. Discipline without a steward present is invalid. 
        So why do we have discipline? Unfortunately, because it works. It’s cheap and effective. It gets immediate attention and in the short term, it gets results. 
        How do you avoid discipline? It’s simple. 
        Use the methods.            
        Every day at every stop.

Why There Aren’t Radios in the Package Cars

I used to carry a radio in my package car.

I had a 12 volt converter attached to it and I hooked it up to the light switch above the bulkhead door with alligator clips. This allowed me to play cassette tapes all day long.

There would be times during the day when I needed a little boost of energy and I relied on my radio to get me going so I could bust off some stops.

I kept it turned up so I could hear it (and feel it) over the diesel engine. It never failed that I would pull up to somebody’s house and they would be standing at the front door and my radio would be BLARING. I never turned it down.
This is one of the songs that always got me rolling in the afternoon.

Play it loud.


Are You a Waiter?

         Do you wait until you have worked a couple of weeks over nine-five then throw a fit because your Steward isn’t taking care of you? Do you watch your supervisors work day after day then suddenly wonder why no one is doing anything about it? Do something even if it's wrong Do you talk to management in the office then wonder why they suddenly take discipline on you when you confided information on a friendly basis? Did you call in too many times and suddenly get a warning letter for attendance, and wonder why no one was looking out for you?
        The fact is, the world does not revolve around your issues. You need to talk to your Steward about these, or other issues, as soon as they arise. If you wait. you may run out of time to take effective action. Also, a cold trail is much harder to follow than a fresh one. Information is more readily available when an incident has just happened, rather than waiting a week or two.Usually you’ve given up your right to fight an issue if you wait. Don’t expect your Steward to ride in on a white horse and save you from yourself. They probably are unaware of your problem. 
        There is a procedure the company must follow to take discipline. They often try to get away with taking discipline incorrectly, counting on your stupidity or lack of action. Many of you fall for it on a daily basis because you don’t take time to talk with the steward in your center. Not happy with your steward? Get one from another center. If that isn’t possible, call your Business Agent at your local. The important thing is to take action today, not tomorrow. 
        Doing nothing will never protect your rights!
        There is plenty of help out there. You just need to speak up.
        Do something even if it’s wrong.