First two weeks as a dockworker........ some observations.

Discussion in 'UPS Freight' started by UPS_RH, May 16, 2014.

  1. UPS_RH

    UPS_RH New Member

    I had a lot of questions when I began this journey so I thought this post may help some others. A little background, I am 40 and spent the last 20 years working for Uncle Sam, this is a second career for me.

    I had a military CDL so I thought this would be a good company to work for because of the benefits and the pension.

    I applied and received a very quick email inviting me in for an interview. The interview took about 3.5 minutes and was basically offered a job on the spot. HR girl said they would send for background info and call me for orientation, said to have steel toe boots ready.

    Orientation consisted of videos and some testing over safety and forklift protocol. The day lasted about 6 hours, the HR lady was new so she could not really answer any questions and I found out when on the job that she was off on a lot of what she told us. We had a 10 minute tour of the dock and that was it for the day.

    We started with 5 trainees, we were all hired to work the 12am to 6am shift. We all showed up ready to work and found out we only work 4 hours while in training. No problem with me but some of the other guys were bummed because they need the money.

    We met at the dock office, a full time guy pointed to me and said "You are with me." He would be my "trainer". He is a full time guy with a lot of experience. He told me he picked me because I looked clean cut and intelligent and he was tired of training dumb asses. I quickly learned he was burned out on training and it seemed rightfully so as the turnover is quite high.

    He showed me the paperwork and I spend the first three days basically doing that. The guy training me is clearly one of the "go to" guys on the dock so the Sup is always pulling him to do this and that. That left me standing around a lot at first but I didn't mind. I had all the paperwork down for sure.

    End of the third day he let me play on the forklift. We went to the end of the dock and I learned on moving large boxes of airbags. It was perfect, couldn't hurt anything and I was by myself to learn without pressure. After about 20 mins or so I felt pretty comfortable.

    The beginning of the second week we have been basically double teaming trailers. I break them open and we both unload. Sometimes I load as directed, but mostly "bay" the freight.
    I have made a couple small mistakes, but overall according to my trainer I am doing really well. He tries to remember to tell me things, but often forgets until the issue comes up. Overall I have no complaints, it is kind of a learn as you go job anyways.

    Here is what the dock work is like: No climate control, not a big deal to me but it seems to be what runs most of the guys off according to the vets. It is busy, there are about 50 or 60 forklifts running around at top speed (10mph). It is not for the timid. It is dirty, old and not the finely oiled machine you may have imagined UPS would be. There are all walks of life working along side each other. Fully tattooed gangster looking guys loading next to a pig farmer, etc. All the guys have treated me well and for the most part seem like good workers. Our Sup seems to be a decent guy, just gives the work and the numbers and lets everyone go to it, no micro managing.

    Out of the 5 we started with 4 are left. They fired one of the trainees this morning. I saw him in a very heated argument with his trainer. A little later I saw him doing the same thing with the Ops Sup. I then saw him walked down the dock and towards the door. I mind my own, but my trainer said it was over him being cut loose to work on his own. He tried to rally us earlier in the week to go to the sup and ask if we could work two extra hours. He is a young guy and I told him just go with the flow and follow direction. He said he needed the $$$ so he needed the extra hours. I was told that was what the argument was over. One of the guys in our group had a lot of prior warehouse experience so they cut him loose last night, apparently the guy who got fired felt he should have been as well. Too bad, seemed like a good guy.

    We also found out the 12am to 6 am we were hired for will now be 2am to whenever. Again, I am fine with that, I long ago lost any sense of day or night so hours do not matter as long as I am home in the eve for my kids events.

    I like the job and will stick to it. I am going through the training to get my CDL and will try to make a decent career of this.
  2. newguy2026

    newguy2026 Member

    Just wondering how your making out and is the pay there
  3. UPS_RH

    UPS_RH New Member

    I didn't make it too long. About 45 days, the combination of forced overtime daily, a :censored2: supervisor and bleak opportunity for full time pushed me to leave for Fedex Freight. Worked Fedex Freight two months and got full time driver apprentice. NIght and day work environment. We had one really cool sup at UPSF, but the DH guy ran everyone off. 22 guys got hired when I did and I was in the final 4 when I left, the rest fired or quit.