New shift popping up in our building (sorter vs package handler)

Discussion in 'UPS Discussions' started by MacLeod82, Jul 24, 2006.

  1. MacLeod82

    MacLeod82 Disgruntled Pkg Handler

    Hi, I'm glad to have found this site.
    I work part-time at a small building in Baltimore at the airport bringing in and sending out air for our area. As a result of the Post Office contract the company won we are getting a new shift to sort the loads of post office packages we're supposed to be getting and are being offered the oppurtunity to move to it. One of my co-workers raised an interesting question: because we are sorting to 8 different locations, shouldn't this job offer the sorter's pay ($1 more than package handler)?

    I'm completely in the dark as to what the real difference between a sorter and a handler is, at our building we currently all sort between PHI, SDF and the Baltimore main hub and are all classified as Package Handlers, with a couple Package Clerks to do International/High Value.

    Also, I definately would like to become more active in our local union, I'm not really sure if our shop is getting the representation we really need.

  2. Prototelis

    Prototelis New Member

    I work at the same center as the poster above. (He actually turned me onto this website.)

    And I'm seriously tired of some of the things that have been going on.

    We're an air operation, so we have a ramp crew and a sort crew.

    I suck at sorting packages, there are no ifs or butts about. As you know, even during the regular hours they are not offering a sorters pay at my building. Why should I go and certify on something I know I'm going to screw up to no end? Atleast twice they've tried to have another employee sit next to me while I took the sort test to more or less give me answers.

    I've taken the test about 4 times and failed it each time during my early employment. I'm not almost at my year mark, and they haven't bothered me about it since I got my 90 days in.

    It wasn't an issue for a while, because I go out of my way to physically work very hard, to make up for it. The above poster can back up my fanatical load and unload pace. I was actually employee of the month once as well.

    But it pisses me off that they're pushing this crap in my face, that they aren't going to pay me for. To basically force me to screw up. They pulled it on me a few weeks ago on a friday, because we were really short on people. They wanted me to take the test and pass it to make me sort.

    I'm not against learning new things, I am however very against putting myself in the position to be screwed over.

    I've also been told by management that I don't have a choice as to where I work. (The ramp or inside the building) When it has been pointed out to me that I am indeed allowed to change positions once a year, except for the months of November and December. This is in our contract.

    I put way too much physical effort into my job to be dicked around on this level. And I'm seriously contemplating going to the outside ramp crew. I'm certified on nearly everything out there that I can be. (I don't have a driver's liscense)

    There are a few other issues that I'd love to get into, but I'm not going to totally ruin my co-worker's thread with my whining.

    (Oh, and before forget to mention it. I really love guiding the plane in three days a week. :) )
  3. Air Hub

    Air Hub New Member

    Hi Boys
    First the pay rate, if you read the really fine print in article 40 (h), look for the "all other rate" statement. This means no extra $1 to sort. Kinda sucks that the boys and girls just down the road at the HUB get paid more when they pass the sort test.
    Currently new hires are being told " I can't keep you unless you pass the sort test" but are still being hired as an unloader/loader???
    It will be getting harder to find folks to work for the low wages (after monthly dues and new hire union fees) as the wages are frozen for 2 more years and still be willing to but up with the whole sort test thing.
    I work at a small air hub, only about 16-18 workers with a 3hr work day. The 50 plus ramp folks are non-union contract workers hired by the local FBO, paid less and still 3hrs shifts.

    If I were you I would move to a ramp job after you get your year in.

    Good luck

    PS what is an "air walker" job
  4. Prototelis

    Prototelis New Member

    They've told me a few times I can be fired for not passing the sort test.

    Which I've confirmed with my shop steward to be bull****.

    So what exactly qualifies a person for sort pay?

    One of the air drivers that stops in our center used to work out here, and he told me that everyone went to the union while he worked here and got the sort pay.
  5. Air Hub

    Air Hub New Member

    I would check with your local union guy to be sure .... but my take is that you will never get sort pay at the air hub as it is under artcile 40 (h).
    I also don't think you can be forced to take a sort test or to pass one as you where hired as a loader/unloader. I do think they can fire you for any reason until you get 90 days in ... which is why there is pressure on the current new hires to pass the sort test and be sorters, so they don't end up with all loader/unloaders and no sorters.
  6. over9five

    over9five Senior Member Staff Member

    What is the sort test???
  7. Prototelis

    Prototelis New Member

    They give you a list of states and zipcodes and ask you to sort them on the paper.

    We really only have three destinations, but I suck at geography hardcode, and I cannot remember state abbreviations for beans.

    Never were my strong points.

    All of our newhires have passed the sort test, so I don't want to hear their crap. Is there anything I can do union-power wise to get them off of my back? Or to make them back off.

    I know they aren't going to be happy come the 4th, because I will be going to the ramp. I remember part of what I said was they could move me for November and December, but I don't care. I'm tired of being treated like crap.
  8. MacLeod82

    MacLeod82 Disgruntled Pkg Handler

    For our current sort, just the test to show you can sort between our plane for Louisville, our hog to Philly, and our local retain. It's pretty much always been a requirement for anyone in the airport Sort.
    For the new post office shift starting next week it'll be 8 destinations. I can sort my ass off and if they offer even just 2-3 more hours a week than I got now, or the $1 raise for Sorter classification, I'd go for it. If they don't it's their loss since they can't force me to go with my seniority and most of the rest of our sorters suck now :D I think it'd really be worth it for the company too since if the post office sees enough screwups it could endanger the contract.

    Also, another question, does 40.3.6 guaruntee us a choice between working the Ramp or the Sort (assuming openings available)? I have a gravy job out on the ramp, but a little piece of pride keeps making me debate on going back inside to straighten out all these missorts they're getting. Our Sups have always insisted there are no biddable positions at our building, but if so, why the hell do we bother paying Union dues?

  9. Air Hub

    Air Hub New Member

    I have seen two types of sort test.
    1: the paper one with over 60 zip codes, you have to write the airport code for each distination, 5 choices.

    2: The computer version, it shows a shipping lable and you use the mouse to click on the answer. You sort by ZIPs ONLY. Your speed must be better than 2 sec each average. I have seen some folks get under 1 sec average, but not ME.
  10. Air Hub

    Air Hub New Member

    (2) In air hub and gateways that currently have no procedure to recognize part-time seniority, part-time employees with one (1) or more years of seniority will be allowed in seniority order to fill permanent vacancies on a different shift and/or fill permanent vacancies between the airport sort facility and the ramp in all months except November and December. The employee will be allowed to exercise this procedure once a year.

    UPS National Master Agreement

    It is a one way trip if you give up the gravy ramp job. I wouldnt do it, unless you want to stay 1 year.
  11. over9five

    over9five Senior Member Staff Member

    Mac, keep the gravy job. It's the sups job to properly train the inside people!
  12. scratch

    scratch Least Best Moderator Staff Member

    An "Air Walker" is somebody that meets a driver on a delivery route. They help deliver Air Packages in areas like a "elevator route", where you have a lot of deliveries in a large building. Maybe we have someone on this board that can elaborate better?
  13. Prototelis

    Prototelis New Member

    Hey, I just suck at sorting.

    But I can move boxes and load faster than nearly anyone there. I make up for it.
  14. UPSBOI

    UPSBOI You don't want to know!

    File a greivance you will be surprised as will your supervisors. Just because it is not done doesn't mean it's right!
  15. Prototelis

    Prototelis New Member

    They should really create some biddable positions at my center.

    I like the work, and wouldn't mind doing more of it.
  16. MacLeod82

    MacLeod82 Disgruntled Pkg Handler

    lol, yeah. Most of the people I really liked working with have left anyways. Having loaded a pup (don't know if that's a well circulated term, so also call it a drop flap trailer) for the first time in 2 months I think I'm getting outta shape :P But if I could get an advantage in hours or pay outta the post office graveyard shift I'd go for it. Otherwise, they can have my K-Loader when they pry it from my cold dead fingers. :D

    Yeah, ours is a lot simpler and probably more informal, we only connect to Louisville by air and they give us the state abbrevs normally. Only seen it by zip only once and we all ganged up and helped cheat her way to a passing grade.
  17. nhguy

    nhguy New Member


    I hope you've told them you don't have a license. Many airports require a valid drivers license to operate GSE equipment on an airport ramp. If you had one and you lost it, you better report it to your sup. There are usually no classified skilled jobs at air operations. Very few airport hubs have sorts that go beyond two to five way belt feeds. The knowledge needed is minimial.
    My advice to you is to discuss your situation concerning your inability to learn the sort with your sup privately and explain that you just have a hard time with it and see if he'll work with you and have you do other things. Might be pie in the sky, but if you don't talk maybe he/she doesn't know.
  18. iloadthetruck

    iloadthetruck New Member

    I believe I saw some air walkers when I was last in Chicago, right around 10am in the morning. They were walking from building to building with carts loaded up with totes filled with air envelopes. I don't think they meet drivers, though, there are "air service centers" in many metro downtown areas that handle air pickup/delivery separate from the dedicated delivery center.
  19. Prototelis

    Prototelis New Member

    Oh they know I don't have a liscense. But I'm certified on pretty much everything you can't drive. Loading and unloading A300 and DC8 (Only two planes we get), marshaling, stationary GSE, etc. It wasn't untill a week ago they even had anyone certified loading the plane, they had a couple of new people up there that didn't know what they were doing.

    And they know I'm bad at the sort and would rather not do it. I got chewed out for that by a part time sup, who insisted that making me look like an ass was better than suspending me for my inability to sort packages.. Which I don't think she can even do anyways.
  20. ImStillHere

    ImStillHere New Member

    Where I am at sorters and rampers are pretty much stuck where they are. We have had a few people move inside over the past couple months, but mostly where you hire in at is where you stay. It's not a rule, but people can't switch until there is a vacancy in one of the operations. Since we were so overstaffed in the sort, it took almost a year for some people to get inside that wanted to come in.
    The only people in our building that have to take the sort test are the small sorters. We sort to 4 destinations... you learn one destination's zips and you stay there, scanning and loading to that destination. Staying in one location minimizes missorts. The small sorters are the only ones that need to know all of the splits.