to feeder or not to feeder??

Discussion in 'UPS Discussions' started by coldworld, Sep 21, 2008.

  1. Coldworld

    Coldworld Well-Known Member

    How many of you, who up to this point havent been able to go into feeder for whatever reason, would go if you had the chance. I know there has been random threads on the subject but for those who are in feeder, what are the top issues you folks had when you joined up, what was the hardest parts of learning the job. I know the rigs are more complicated than a pkg car, but is it really that difficult to learn?
     
  2. sortaisle

    sortaisle Livin the cardboard dream

    Some of the new boys that i know in feeder here in Spokane say that feeder is 90 percent knowledge and 10 percent physical. If you make a tiny mistake in a package car, you might dent something, but if you make a tiny mistake in feeder, you kill someone. But that's just what I heard. I've also heard that it's all repetition and after a few months it's all second nature. Very few people leave feeder once they join, but feeder has you for 3 years once you join. After 3 years, you can either stay feeder or go back to what you were before.
     
  3. chev

    chev Nightcrawler

    As far as going into Feeders I think the hardest part for me was working nights. Even after 10 years in feeders, it still takes it's toll on me at times. I have a very hard time with weekends. Since I work into Saturday morning, it kind of puts a damper on getting the weekend started.
    I think most people are intimidated by the size of the vehicle. When I started, we had all cab over Volvo tractors with no power steering. So the skills part of the job was difficult for me at first. I had a tough time getting out of that package car driver mentality. "run run run" You have to learn to slow down. These puppies don't stop on a dime. They also do a lot of damage with very little effort if you are not careful. Look at my avatar. That's what happened to one of our drivers on the Jersey Turnpike one night. It caused him to go back to package.
    Sleep is a big deal for us. It is so easy to fall asleep at the wheel if you don't get proper rest. Some people find it hard to sleep during the day.
    Being a feeder driver is NOT a stress free job. People think we have it easy. It may not be as taxing on the body, but it can do the mind in just as well. :peaceful: Good luck on your decision. It is different for everyone. Some love it, and some love to hate it.
     
  4. over9five

    over9five Moderator Staff Member

    Chev is dead on. He said everything I would have said (probably better, tho!)

    I would only re-emphasize the working nights part. Remember, even after you park your tractor, you still gotta drive home!! That's when I'm really the most worried about nodding off behind the wheel.

    And the Friday night thing. You get back to the building done at 2 Saturday morning, but they have one more trailer that has to go. You end up working till 6 Saturday morning. That basicly kills your Saturday, cuz now you're gonna sleep most of it.

    I've been in feeders 11 months now. I liked my package job, but wanted to do something different. Given the choice again, I'd stay right here in feeders!
     
  5. cachsux

    cachsux Wah

    Feeders are like the old joke about something being 90% bordom and 10% sheer terror. No matter how careful you are the idiots will still find you. Thats when your training kicks in and you avoid them. Some people hate nights,others like myself like them.
    Basically,if your a good package driver, you`ll be a good feeder driver. If you suck at driving a package car ,you`ll be dead at driving a feeder.
     
  6. UpstateNYUPSer

    UpstateNYUPSer Very proud grandfather.

    I choose not to feeder but do not begrudge those who do choose to.
     
  7. 705red

    705red Browncafe Steward

    If you go feeder you will need to get used to alot of ot, more than package. These guys for the most part want 60 hours every week. You can see the times are changing all the newer feeder drivers do not want 60 hours a week, i can see 8 hour language and even 9.5 covering feeder in the next contract because of the younger drivers.
     
  8. terrymac

    terrymac New Member

    Ok, whose job is it this year to get those t shirts made up? they sould say: peak season feeder: two boxes, one stop, day over.
     
  9. What'dyabringmetoday???

    What'dyabringmetoday??? Well-Known Member

    Feeder Driver-THE best job at UPS. I agree that working nights is not for everyone. If you like seeing your children grow up, it is worth trying. I personally love it. Leave the house at ten p.m. and often home by seven a.m.
     
  10. Old International

    Old International Now driving a Sterling

    I couldn't wait to get into feeders- Man did I have a lot to learn. Feeders is a whole nother world. You are almost gonna work 50+ hours, week in and week out. I was lucky in one respect- I started working a dedicated pick up run, where all I did was take care of the customer, for 3 years. Now I have just been bumped off the run, and now have a Monday thru Saturday night run.
     
  11. ol'browneye

    ol'browneye Active Member

    I have been trying to get to feeders for a year now. I have been on my pkg car route for 13 years now and really do like my route but my back and knees are telling me it's time for feeders. We finally had a feeder school sign-up sheet in August. They were originally going to take 8-10 drivers in and decided on 6. That sucks because I was #8 on the list with 21 1/2 years. I did have to go for my pee test and was told to get my CDL permit because I was an alternate. Well all 6 drivers made it in and I am now waiting again. I'm told they will likely have another school soon due to number of retirements coming but the seasonals are called back on Nov. 1, so if they don't have one soon I'm afraid I will be spending another peak in pkg car. :anxious:
     
  12. chev

    chev Nightcrawler

    I got lucky. I only put in 4 1/2 yrs in local sort and 4 1/2 years in package when I got into Feeders. Never been back to package and never been without work. I really hope they don't put 9.5 language into the contract. I like the OT. The money is good. I honestly don't know what I would do with myself if I only worked a 40 to 45 hour week. :P I love Feeders.
     
  13. MR_Vengeance

    MR_Vengeance United Parcel Survivor

    you guys are that busy over there? we've been cutting jobs here from left to right.people with 9 plus years seniority get send back to package for weeks.
     
  14. chev

    chev Nightcrawler

    I wouldn't say we are busy, but work is steady. I'm in a small building. Most of the accounts we service are not retail related save for Avon and Amazon. Unfortunately, Avon is leaving our area in June, so we might cut some runs. The only guys going back to package right now are the cover drivers. I know we all hope the economy picks up soon, but I honestly think we have yet to see the worst of it. :-(
     
  15. JimJimmyJames

    JimJimmyJames Big Time Feeder Driver

    I have been in Feeders close to 3 years now. I have worked for the company for 20 years. I can honestly say I would quit before I would even consider going back to Package. Like I say to my friends I have that are still in Package....I do not work for the same company they work for. Where as before I had almost no pride in working for UPS, where my work life was one of depression, I am now an UPSer reborn. I collect the collectables, wear the t-shirts, encourage people to use UPS. In Feeders you are thanked for the job you do and given the time to do the job safely. I was shocked at the difference.

    I do have to ditto those who have discussed the dangerous aspects of the job. Even though you do get comfortable behind the wheel one always has to respect the sheer size and weight of what you control. I liken the job as driving but with a house always following around behind you. Shifting gears smoothly, turning, and backing are probably the greatest challenges you will have at first. But if you apply the training UPS gives you, you will master each of those skills safely.

    Besides the inherent driving dangers, again to ditto what others have said, working nights is something you most likely will have to do and it is damn hard to get used to. You just will not get the sleep that you once did, unless you are one of the lucky ones. I personally don't think I will ever get completely used to it but ironically I always bid nights week to week (I am presently on the spare list) because I don't want to deal with customer pick ups. So while you may not get completely used to working nights, you can live with it.

    As for overtime, UPS had drastically cut back on it in my district. Of course the top seniority people can for the most part get all they want, but only if they bid on the right jobs. For us junior people, I hear constant complaints about not enough OT. I myself am averaging about three hours a week. More would be nice but being home is great too.

    In Package I didn't want any overtime and I took every over they could give me. I would take unpaid lay-off weeks when offered. Now, if I was asked to go home, I wouldn't. I even worked one of my vacation weeks this year!

    I encourage all who want a happier future with UPS to try Feeders. Waiting until your old and grey for a Porter or Clerk job is not your only option!
     
  16. rwsmith67

    rwsmith67 New Member

    I agree with Jimmy, spent 30 years at UPS, 14 pkg. 16 feeder, in my years there I can count on less than two hands the number of people I saw retire from pkg., I think if you want a full career there you had better plan on getting out of pkg., I thought I was ivincible until age 40, then body parts really started to give out. Retired at 55 and don't ever regret leaving pkg!:wink2:
     
  17. finaddict

    finaddict Member

    I'll add different info that what's already been said. Seniority. It varies from hub to hub. I havent moved on the list in a few years because senior pkg drivers come over replacing those that retired or fired. At some locations you have departmental seniority. Your seniority date in feeders is when you moved into feeders. Other places it is company seniority. At my hub it really takes about 25 years FT to get a decent run and a minimum of 30 for the premium daylight/early morning milage runs. Those runs pay over $105K a year in milage alone, not counting building, breaking & fueling which most of them don't do. Good luck.
     
  18. Coldworld

    Coldworld Well-Known Member

    great info all. What about the info on shifting, and pulling and backing the doubles and triples. I think that is the biggest thing for me is dealing with all the "gadgets" for lack of another word. I hear the drivers back into the trailers and hear them slam, and shake.
     
  19. Covemastah

    Covemastah Suspension Ovah !!! Tom is free FU Goodell !!

    backing comes with practice,all of a sudden it will just hit you how easy it is!! We don't back doubles other than a few feet.also learning this is better than learning a 30 stop split with a map and a flshlight some cold snowey nite!!! We all had problems you'll be fine ,the drivahs will help yuo alot out here. Good Luck and go for it !! Funny thing, once I was asked to back on a pkg car onto the primary any kept messing it up..15 yrs on pkg and I couldnt back it up got so used to feeders couldnt back up a p/1000 every one had a good laugh on me !!
     
  20. chev

    chev Nightcrawler

    I agree with covemaster. It just clicks one day. It does take time. I can't comment on triples because we don't pull them here, but doubles is no big deal. I can back a set about 10 feet before they really start kinking up, but I have no problem backing with a dolly on the lead trailer to put a set together in some of the tightest spots. You just have to take it slow and know which way and when to turn the wheel. :wink2:
    As far as shifting goes, I assume you are talking about shifting gears and not the job of a shifter. When shifting gears, there are some things you need to know. You need to know at what speed to shift each gear. You need to make sure your RPM's are in the correct range. If your RPM's are too high or too low, you will not get into the gear you want no matter how much you man-handle the shifter. Dont panic! If you miss a gear, give it a little fuel and pop it in the gear you were in, get your road speed back up and try again. Even the seasoned feeder driver misses a gear once in a while :surprised:. (most of us don't even use the clutch after first gear) Shifting is hard to explain. You really have to experience it yourself to really understand what I mean. Don't let all of this get you nervous. If you can shift a package car, you can learn to shift a feeder. It's just a few more gears, and timing.:wink2: