New here - venting about Ground

Discussion in 'FedEx Discussions' started by Epoisode7, Jun 1, 2013.

  1. Epoisode7

    Epoisode7 New Member

    Hey guys, I just saw this forum. I wanted to vent a little about Ground. My co workers are all burnt out so I don't want to stress them any more. I'd like some insight from other Ground drivers if their working conditions parallel mine, or even from some ICs. Before I start, I'd like to make a statement that I know I'm not being forced to work here, and I can find other work at any time. It is still nice to vent though. I'll share some background. I started with Ground about a year ago. I had the experience so I put in for Ground primarily as a way to pay for college and just to save up some reserve cash. I was offered a spot at 635 per week salary. I was told operating hours were 8 or 9 hours per day, and that it may be more "occasionally" when volume was high. I was told it would get "a little busy" around Christmas, but only for a week. I was told the IC would provide benefits after 6 months, the availability of unpaid vacation before 6 months, and paid after 6 months (one consecutive week a year). This all sounded fair to me. So far it's all been lies. I was told when I hired I'd get a training period of a few weeks, and then slowly get more and more stops per day until I was up and going. I had 2 days training, then was thrown into a truck with a full days worth of stops (rural route, 60 stops).

    Here's a typical day. We run out of a small terminal, so we all load our own truck. I leave at 5am and drive 1.5 hours to the terminal. We keep our vehicles at home and we are responsible for all of our own maintenance. I have a credit card provided by the IC for fuel and maintenance. I load at the terminal and typically have 50-70 stops. I drive to my route, which is 1.5 hours back, and at this point I'm fast enough to finish in 4 or 5 hours, which is as fast as anyone can do it, being very rural with far apart stops. It wouldn't be bad if this was my gig every day. The IC is no where to be found. He has a "manager" who is also a driver that runs everything. He has slowly been giving me more and more of his stops and leaving earlier and earlier. My own work area only has 30 or 40 stops, and the other 10 or 20 are actually his. He claims he needs time to do "manager stuff". Some days I work 13 hours, and its not even peak. Peak = 16 or 17 hours. I got slammed on my DOT time several times and the manager got mad at me because I don't cheat the scanner like everyone else. My login time is when I start driving at 5 am, not when I finish loading.

    Another frustrating thing are vehicle problems. We run out of a small fleet of cargo vans with no spare vehicle. I've been in a uhaul rental for weeks on end. One day I had a 26 foot uhaul and couldn't deliver about 1/3 of my stops because the roads are so bad and very narrow. Many of the roads I deliver on can only be traversed with a small cargo van. I ended up having several dozen DNA's because I literally could not fit down the roads but of course I got yelled at. I've seen a few drivers operating out of terminals in the city, and they have spare vehicles, a more routine schedule, etc. Several times, I've thought about just parking the van and walking home. I keep giving the IC and the manager the benefit of the doubt, but I feel like I'm being taken advantage of more and more. As a group, we work at least 50 hours per week, which is a good week. A huge problem we have too, is that the terminal is an hour and a half away from the routes. If we miss an outbound package, or a customer calls in furious about an 04/07, they expect us to drive up after we get off, drive back, and deliver the package, which takes about 3.5 hours. In fact, I did that one day and got slammed on going over DOT time.. It ended up being a personal record 18 hour day. Another frustrating thing is that I refuse to bend the rules. People do various things that I don't think are ethical, but I don't say anything.

    I feel like I'm a good and honest employee, though I make my share of mistakes of course, but I'm getting more and more burnt out. It's impossible to get a day off, even if you're sick. The IC is not around. The manager keeps taking shorter and shorter days... It seems like on a daily basis everything is ready to collapse. I know it's my own fault for staying, but employment opportunities are slim pickings around here, plus I'm just passing through until I finish school. I feel really crummy for the guys who have been here for years and plan to make this a career. Do I tough it out, or start looking? Last peak was almost unbearable because I dealt with all the above + huge volume, and the next one is right around the corner. Thanks for any insight. God bless.
    Last edited: Jun 1, 2013
  2. fedupped

    fedupped Member

  3. bbsam

    bbsam Moderator Staff Member

  4. dHatch

    dHatch New Member

    Haha, was this referring to me? Kinda sparse on details here.
  5. northbound

    northbound Member

    Sounds like a shatty contractor. How do you work 50 hours a week turning 13-18 hour days?
  6. CJinx

    CJinx Well-Known Member

    Are your fellow co-workers suffering too? Sounds like you all need to get together and get the IC's attention that your manager sucks. Seen that happen before in my station and that manager got fired pretty quickly. The drivers may have been intentionally tanking the routes too...
  7. How would you put 18 hour day in? You wouldn't be able to get the mandatory 10 hours off before your next shift. And as already pointed out, you don't pull 13-18 hour days and have a 50 hour week. Things don't add up. Several dozen DNAs is insane!
  8. Epoisode7

    Epoisode7 New Member

    My bad, that was a typo. We work 60 hours per week, minimum, not 50. Often times more. 18 hour days are not common, but 15 and 16 are. I count the drive as part of my logged in time (1.5 hours to terminal, 1.5 back), most people don't. I don't know if that's "legal" or not. Once a week, we take turns running all the outbound packages to the terminal. I leave at 5 am to drive up, finishing delivering at 2pm, then wait around till about 4:30 pm to gather all the pickups. Sometimes they aren't ready until 5. Then I drive up 1.5 hours, unload, then drive back, and get home about 8:30 pm or 9. That's once a week, and we all do that, except the manager. He is busy doing "managerial duties". One time he gave me 20 of his stops (not 79'd, just left in his unlocked van at WalMart) because he had "important paperwork to file" and I followed him. He went to Subway for about an hour. God bless you other drivers, but I'm out! This job crazy.
  9. MrFedEx

    MrFedEx Engorged Member

    "Can't handle the truth?" Instead of putting the onus on the driver to quit, why not force the contractor to clean-up their act? The description provided by Epoisode7 seems very similar to what I've been hearing from Ground drivers for years. Maybe the DOT needs to start looking even more closely at Ground.
  10. MrFedEx

    MrFedEx Engorged Member

    That's the whole point...double violation. An 18 hour day with a regular start time equals 2 DOT violations. Sounds like nobody is watching the store at this particular Ground location. At Express, a 14 hour violation is an instant letter, for both the driver and the manager.
  11. Epoisode7

    Epoisode7 New Member

    Also to add, the only thing keeping me here are my coworkers. I have two coworkers on neighboring routes who have become good friends. They are both family guys and plan on sticking around in this field for a bit. If I quit, it would add 33% to their workload. They are stressed to the max, but they don't cause trouble because their afraid of reprisal. If I leave, they would have to absorb my work load in part, adding atleast an hour or two to each day. It takes weeks or even months to get someone fully into the system and trained. It took me 2 months and everything went smooth. There's no one to absorb my route except them, and I'd hate to do that, but it seems I am being given no choice. Yes, it is ultimately up to me to make the best or worst of the situation. I'm not a spiteful guy and I would like to leave the job better than I found it, but I just don't see that as possible. Thanks for all the insight guys!

    And yes, 18 hour days are not common, but they do happen, and it is nothing short of fraud what the contractors have us do. We are "strongly encouraged" to manipulate the times to fit within DOT windows, meaning shorting the scanner login times by not counting the drive, or sometimes even logging in remotely halfway through the day. I've seen guys do crazy things to save time, like driver releasing 20 packages in the van, then delivering them to save a couple seconds of scanning and walking... indirecting packages to their garage and delivering them the next day... driver releasing packages to apartment complex office doors without checking the actual apartment. I'm out! God speed to you other drivers, Express and Ground both.
  12. bbsam

    bbsam Moderator Staff Member

    Then the truth is that the OP needs to contact the DOT not an anonymous message board.
  13. Route 66

    Route 66 Flacid Member

    Quick!, we need another "I was home in time for brunch today and had my entire roof re-shingled by noon" installment from MGD to counteract this horror story.

    Best of luck to you, E7. I know times are still tough out there, but whatever you find to do just has to be better than what you've been dealing with so far. If even half of what you're saying is true (and I'm not doubting you at all) then that's just beyond crazy. You sound like an upstanding guy - something decent will come your way...and again, good luck and keep the faith.

    MAKAVELI Well-Known Member

    The truth is this type of fraud goes on more often than not. FedEx ground management looks the other way just as a crooked cop taking a bribe. As long as that $ keeps rolling in everything is all good. Try taking those rose colored glasses off and seeing the real FedEx. It's not the OP's responsibility to ensure his boss is doing everything legally. That's management's job. And this type of behavior is not exclusive to ground although it is probably worse than in any of the other opco. This company is infested with greed and corruption. No amount of cheerleading from you is going to change that or justify it.
  15. STFXG

    STFXG Well-Known Member

    So many wrong things going on here it gives me a headache. From the OP to his manager, the contractor, and fedex management. All bad.
  16. bbsam

    bbsam Moderator Staff Member

    Fedex management in fact does conduct audits to make sure contractors are lawful. The problem here is that either some don't know the law or they don't really want lawful, they want them the way they want them. And it is indeed up to the OP to bring attention of management or authorities if there are problems. No one is free of culpability here.

    MAKAVELI Well-Known Member

    A simple audit would have exposed a lot of this a long time ago. FedEx has so many reports run daily it really is impossible to hide this shi t. There is no way for this to go on without management not knowing what's going on. By putting alll the responsibility on the driver you are truly " FedEx management".
  18. bbsam

    bbsam Moderator Staff Member

    Then maybe there are problems with Fedex management turning a blind eye at the local level. In fact, I don't doubt it at all. Not beyond there, though. It will still fall to the OP to do something more about it beyond posting here. No way around that. You can say it should be different and in Candyland it would be. Of course in Candyland, the Teamsters would be organizing Express right now.

    MAKAVELI Well-Known Member

    Again, this is not an isolated incident. It is the culture of FedEx. Profit by any means necessary. If it's illegal, do it till we get caught. This is why there has been so many lawsuits over the years and most are settled.
  20. bbsam

    bbsam Moderator Staff Member

    Actually, very little of what the OP mentions is "illegal". The hours of service is the only real issue and in that case it is the obligation of the driver not to violate. If that means stopping with half a truck left, then that's what it means. It is up to the contractor to fix it so it doesn't happen again.