Taylorism. Part Deux

Discussion in 'FedEx Discussions' started by MrFedEx, Mar 4, 2010.

  1. MrFedEx

    MrFedEx Engorged Member

    I've discussed Taylorism over on the UPS side, but let me introduce it here. Perhaps some of it will sound familiar. Frederick W. Taylor was the father of "scientific management", which recommended time-and-motion studies to set standards of performance. Basing their practices on careful record-keeping, "scientific managers" established the "best methods", which replaced rule-of-thumb approaches that workers had developed over time. Managers trained and supervised workers and were themselves trained in techniques of scientific control and efficiency. People called the techniques scientific because they were systematic and allowed few individual judgments and little variability. Every aspect of the operation was governed with rules, regulations, and an impersonal attitude toward the individual. Also called "Fordism" because Henry Ford used it on his assembly lines.

    If you don't see the parallels, I feel sorry for you. This type of management was nearly directly responsible for the rise of unions in the 1930's. Hmmmm. Frederick W.Smith has just freshened-it up a bit and invented a portable device (the PowerPad) to watch over you just as managers do at stations.

    I'm guessing that Mr.Taylor would be proud of what his spawn has accomplished at FedEx. Sorry, but this type of management is just plain dehumanizing and archaic, just like Fred Smith.
     
  2. quadro

    quadro New Member

    Ok, I'll bite. How does the powerpad enable FedEx to watch over you anymore than it was already able to with the supertracker some 20 years ago?
     
  3. Fedex Driver

    Fedex Driver Banned

    Theres no more forms 5
     
  4. MrFedEx

    MrFedEx Engorged Member

    They've always watched over you. The DADS and the tracker were just less advanced than the Brick.
     
  5. quadro

    quadro New Member

    Wasn't forms 5 pickup acknowledgment???
     
  6. quadro

    quadro New Member

    Ok, so what's your point? Your original post implied that this was something new. The powerpad may be more advanced but not in terms of watching over you.
     
  7. vantexan

    vantexan Well-Known Member

    If you are going to send a bunch of people out on the road everyday by themselves, entrust them with expensive equipment, have them represent your company, it seems reasonable that you would develop reports that monitor their performance. When I first became a courier in '88 the station I transferred to from the Memphis Hub had a bunch of fulltimers that met for breakfast every morning on the clock after finishing their P-1's. Part of the reason we in mid-range can't get decent pay is that there's always people gaming the system. Most likely the company thinks most of us are milking the clock and is paying accordingly.
     
  8. MrFedEx

    MrFedEx Engorged Member

    My whole point is that Taylorism is alive and well at FedEx. The GPS capability of the PowerPad enhances their future ability to monitor you and your performance even more closely. Taylor viewed people as analogous to machines, which is pretty much the way FedEx looks at you as an employee. We're just cogs in the machine, and thought of as such by management.
     
  9. bbsam

    bbsam Moderator Staff Member

    What's wrong with being a cog in the machine? Or a team player or a part of the body or a member of a union or a citizen of the country? "No man is an island."
     
  10. quadro

    quadro New Member

    Just curious but do you, as a consumer, when paying for labor by the hour, turn a blind eye to what is going on and let said laborers bill you for whatever they feel like?
     
  11. MrFedEx

    MrFedEx Engorged Member

    The whole idea of treating people like robots is wrong, or do you even see that?
     
  12. MrFedEx

    MrFedEx Engorged Member

    Based on the amount of profit we generate for FedEx, couriers should be paid much more than their current rate. Where did I say we should charge whatever we feel like? By the way, Henry Ford paid a much higher wage than the norm in order to compensate his employees for the higher level of productivity Taylorism generated. Fred gets extreme levels of productivity, but doesn't pay us accordingly. Are you OK with that?
     
  13. quadro

    quadro New Member

    You didn't say we should charge whatever we feel like and neither did I. I simply asked if you would allow someone you were paying by the hour to bill you whatever they feel like meaning for as many hours as they want. You, as the consumer, have the expectation that they will do the job in the most efficient manner possible. You wouldn't expect to pay them to go run an errand, for example, while they are on the clock. FedEx has that same expectation as does probably any company that pays by the hour. That doesn't make FedEx the evil giant.

    I would hardly say that Fred gets extreme levels of productivity. At least not from some of the couriers I work with. The amount front-line workers in any company get paid is never commensurate with the profit they generate except for those paid a commission (and not always then).

    I'm not naive enough to believe that I'm irreplaceable. I don't need a college degree or any highly technical training to do my job. I drive a truck and move some boxes around. Would I like to be paid more? Sure who wouldn't. Do I think I deserve more? Not really. But that's my opinion, I'm not forcing it on anyone and I respect that others have differing opinions.
     
  14. MrFedEx

    MrFedEx Engorged Member

     
  15. vantexan

    vantexan Well-Known Member

    Yes, but what if every day at the end of your rt you loaded 100 to 200 50lb boxes, 100 to 600 1 lb boxes, and 30 or so international mps boxes into a stepvan(often in 105 degree humid heat, sometimes hotter), drove 60 miles, offloaded into another truck, took lunch at 2015, drove back 60 miles, off around 2215 to 2230(started at 1000)? What if your mgr lied to you about location of his opening to get you into that rt that another courier fled from?(that mgr eventually got fired)?

    What if you ran 2 rts a day to help your mgr out, often getting off after 2100, when other couriers refused to help. And your mgr assured you the lates wouldn't affect your review, then gave you a 5.9 due to the lates(changed to a 6.1)

    What if your mgr conspired with a senior courier to take hrs away from you by telling you sr.courier was A rt in loop when you transferred in, when actually sr.courier was C rt to your B and was supposed to flex to you?

    What if mgr who rehired you forced you to accept less than 35 hrs on 5 days in order to take internal FT posting, forcing you to work 6 days a week to just get 36 or 37 hrs. And when you go to the company about it they tell you a week is 7 days, not 5, and plenty of employees get their guarantee on more than 5 days? That mgr was later forced to take mgrs buyout.

    WHAT IF U ARE A DOMICILED COURIER MAKING 11.67 AN HR AND NEARLY BANKRUPTED BY MGRS WHO PUT PKGS IN U.S. MAIL TO KEEP YOU FROM GETTING OVERTIME, LYING TO AND SCREWING OVER CUSTOMERS JUST BECAUSE A DIRECTOR WAS TRYING TO GET A DIRECTORSHIP IN FLORIDA AND WANTED ZERO OVERTIME IN HIS ENTIRE DISTRICT? HAVE ANY IDEA WHAT IT'S LIKE TO BE FORCED OFF THE ROAD BY A SCREAMING CUSTOMER ON A 70 MPH HIGHWAY? TO GET IN SHOUTING MATCHES WITH YOUR MGR?

    And through all this B.S. I've been always at or near the top in productivity. Was nearly perfect onroad as a swing in Florida. Did things like volunteer to meet a truck at 2400 on Christmas Eve in Arizona so a less senior courier with a family wouldn't be forced too. And like many other couriers have been sent onroad in blizzards, tropical storms(1 just downgraded from hurricane and still very powerful). And after all this have my traditional pension rug pulled out from under me. You seem pretty comfortable knowing what couriers are really like and really worth. Well you are most likely a mgr. If you are a courier you don't have a clue what goes on out there. I've been crapped on too many times and for that I deserve better pay. If upper mgmt can look in the mirror without guilt for what they are doing to us then they are an evil giant.
     
  16. quadro

    quadro New Member

    And what if monkeys flew out of my butt? The "poor me" crap doesn't really work. By your own admission some of those things were corrected and were by your own choice. Take some responsibility for your own actions.
     
  17. bbsam

    bbsam Moderator Staff Member

    What about a member of a team, is there a difference?
     
  18. vantexan

    vantexan Well-Known Member


    Yeah, poor me. You are for concentrating wealth into a few hands because they deserve it for being better than me. Give them billions while we live on pennies. It's the natural order of things, right? Darwinian Capitalism. When we are all living in slums while the blessed few live in mansions guess what? Game over for FedEx. There won't be enough business generated to use expensive shipping services. Where's the money coming from to buy all those expensive homes, cars, etc if most can't afford them? Do we have to become sycophants just to have a few crumbs thrown our way? By the way, those things weren't corrected. And I demonstrated that being the expendable, throw away human being that I am(didn't finish college after all)it's ok to lie to me, manipulate me, cheat me. Afterall I'm just a pawn in an ambitious man's game to crawl his way into a better job. If I had anything going on upstairs I'd be doing the same. Lovely little world you've got going on there amigo. At the end of the day the only thing that matters is how much money you've got, and if others are suffering, well they aren't winners like you and deserve their lot. Idiot.
     
  19. quadro

    quadro New Member

    Ad hominem attacks aside, it certainly sounds like some were corrected.

    So let me make sure I understand you. Everyone should make the same amount of money? You blame yourself for your shortcomings and then shift that blame on to FedEx? There are 1000's of couriers working at FedEx. Odds are that more than a few of them make just about the same as many other couriers. Some of those couriers live in nice homes, drive nice cars, etc, some don't. That all comes from personal choices. You can blame (insert any companies name here not just FedEx) all you want but it doesn't make it that companies fault. If every courier had trouble making ends meet, that would be one thing but there are many, many employees who don't live paycheck to paycheck.
     
  20. vantexan

    vantexan Well-Known Member

    Show me a mid-range employee living in a nice home and I'll show you an employee who's spouse has a good paying job, or has generous parents, or has received a nice inheritance. The average mid-range employee is having to accept alot less. I'm not saying give us UPS wages and benefits. Just top us out faster. If they had been doing that all along they wouldn't have to worry about a union getting voted in. We are second class citizens who's only hope for something better appears to be voting for a union. It shouldn't be this way and should have never have gotten to this point. If the company can't afford $29hr and great benefits and you want to say yes we'd all like more money, etc, fine. But to tell mid-range employees that yes, topped out employees deserve more than you when we are having to work 25+ years to top out and they topped out in as little as 2 years and have enjoyed significantly more pay than us for many years now, well, you are just towing the company line. They deserve every penny they get, but we are doing the same job, often in tougher rts with less vacation. When do we get rewarded for our hard work? As I've stated before, 10 years to top-out is enough and if I knew at this point I'd top out in 15 I'd live with it. If a union is voted in the company has no one else but themselves to blame, chasing a high stock price at our expense. I never expected to get rich working for FedEx, but I did expect them to deal honestly with me, just like they expect me to practice the highest ethics with them. Hasn't worked out that way on their end.