Union Beginners Course

Discussion in 'UPS Union Issues' started by HEFFERNAN, Feb 6, 2008.


    HEFFERNAN Huge Member

    I've noticed a lot of posts from people who are bewildered by the UPS environment. It seems either A) Not a strong union presence in the center or 2) Lack of Basic Union Knowledge by the beginners

    When I started, I knew union terminology from the stewards who introduced themselves to me and by word of mouth from fellow employees

    When my driving career started, They wanted all the new drivers to be at the Union hall for a meeting on how to protect yourself

    Are these still common practices around the country? Do they pass out information to the newbies? Whats your take
  2. feeder53

    feeder53 ADKtrails

    When I first started with a teamsters barn, it was a small barn and everyone took the New Guy under their wing and showed him the ropes monday through friday and then they expected to see you at the hall too.
  3. Fredless

    Fredless APWA Hater

    Down south, we're happy if they sign up for the union.

    The apathy is outrageous down here.
  4. cino321

    cino321 Active Member

    Absolutely not. In my center, the stewards are in bed with management and like to discipline the new guys with warning letters and terrorize them with little things like asking them for help, etc. Thank goodness I was part-time first and learned the ropes there.
  5. 959Nanook

    959Nanook Member

    Well, I'm still learning. I know who the steward is and interact with him daily for brief periods of time. I interact with him because of where his truck is located on the sort (driver's load their own trucks in my center) relative to where the clerks work.

    The closest thing he has ever said to me personally with regard to the union was ribbing me about how come I wasn't bringing in donuts for the drivers since I was a new guy and the contract says new guys bring donuts for a week (a joke of course) and he asked me earlier this week if I had gone out on road the previous day (not sure why he asked because I don't know nothing but I'm sure it was a valid reason).

    I'm not suggesting he is a bad steward for one second, I just think he has bigger priorities than some new part-timer (perfectly understandable because most part-timers probably come and go with the seasons). I know a few things about the union, contract, and labor practices that I picked up from my driver during peak season as a driver's helper but I have a LOT to learn.

    My personal observation is that I'm a newbie in the union, the union has negotiated what appears to be a very convoluted contract in some places, the union has never once made an attempt to provide me with a copy of the contract or explain how the contract affects me as a Teamster employed by UPS, my coworkers who have been working for a few months longer than myself are also uninformed, and UPS management knows that we (the new hires) are uninformed so what do you think is gonna happen?

    For example, I only know that I can request my steward when I get in serious trouble because of this forum. Passing out some information may be helpful (e.g. a copy of the contract, an FAQ for new hires about the Teamsters, when and where the union meetings are or where the union hall is for that matter). I'm taking mental notes and maybe I can do something to improve the situation in the future.

    I plan on going to next month's union meeting. I missed this month's because I was mistaken and I went on the first Thursday night of the month (the meetings are actually on the first Tuesday). I figure that should help start to demonstrate that I'm worth something.

    Maybe life has made a cynic out of me - I don't expect anything out of him and figure any assistance or mentorship I get is gravy. I do appreciate the driver that I helped during peak season for his mentorship and the recommend so I could get hired on permanently.
  6. Brown Mule

    Brown Mule Guest

    .....The first rule is to give all your money to the Teamsters & hope they give you some back....Its like an allowance ...
  7. brownrodster

    brownrodster New Member

    The part time shift I came from was entirely run by PT sups. Basically, both the sups and most of the pt loaders knew nothing about the contract. Not long ago I asked a new pt sup a few questions and he did not even know what the contract was and he had never heard the term 'steward' before. Didn't take long though for someone to complain about him to the steward. He surely knows what a union steward is now that he's had one in his face yelling at him LOL :happy-very:

    So, the shift where I came from we had no one teach us about the union. If you stayed around long enough you learned things from the more senior co-workers who would encourage you to defend yourself when the PT sups made outrageous demands. About a year in I got myself a contract and read it.
  8. WyoBrown

    WyoBrown New Member

    I would LOVE to get my hands on a contract, no one in the ctr can tell how to get one. In my case, everything I learned about the union came from seasoned drivers who cared enough to "pay it forward". I have also found out who the Business Agent is and do not hesitate to call him if I have a question. We have had 2 stewards in the bldg, now down to one after the other retired. The stewards are good when there is time to talk but how often do you get time to talk before or after work?? We don't have meetings outside the bldg, but I wish we did. In summary, keep asking questions. Just like everything else in the UPS world, ya gotta go after the information, nothing comes free!
  9. tieguy

    tieguy Banned

    Do you think thats the right response?
  10. brownrodster

    brownrodster New Member

    I don't feel sorry for these 21 year old dumbasses who are given control of 30 people with no FT sups around to supervise them. These kids don't know anything and the power goes straight to their head. I hated PT because of the ridiculous newby PT sup's we always had. Working FT now with professional sups I can respect has been a world of difference!
  11. tieguy

    tieguy Banned

    Nice attitude.
    Your steward must be a real coward if he plays these games with ignorant part time sups.
  12. brownrodster

    brownrodster New Member

    With the ridiculous stuff I've witnessed they deserve a fired up steward in their face.
  13. 959Nanook

    959Nanook Member

    When the time is right, I'll ask for a "pocket" copy of the contract that I've seen in some of the package cars (bid routes where the driver has personal effects in the truck). There is a nice link to the National Master Agreement on this forum and I have found copies elsewhere online. My trouble has been finding copies of relevant riders and supplements.
  14. tieguy

    tieguy Banned

    So you believe you should be mistreated because someone else in your group acted like an idiot?
  15. JonFrum

    JonFrum Guest

    Try these links:



  16. dillweed

    dillweed Well-Known Member

    Your steward should certainly be able to provide you with a copy of the supplement. If they don't, call your BA and request one from him. After all, our dues pay for this information.
  17. brownrodster

    brownrodster New Member

    I do not completely understand your question? PT sup gets mistreated because of crazy stuff he pulls (for an example having a 5+ hour pt shift with no breaks allowed and many complaining employes answered with stuff like 'shut up and work', this is only one example in countless I can come up with, or instructing everyone on the shift to have new start times with no notice, or instructing people to work through their vacation or option days, etc...). Pt sups gets yelled at for acting like an idiot. In many of these cases Pt sup gets reamed by FT sup and unioin steward. I'm not talking screaming I'm talking loud voice "you can't do this!" type stuff.
  18. tieguy

    tieguy Banned

    it was a real simple question. you feel its okay to be verbally abusive to a part time sup that you clearly stated was new and ignorant of probably many things at UPS including the contract.

    you justified this by stating the negative qualities of part time sups in general. you therefore feel anyone who is a part time sup should be verbally abused by your steward friend simply for being a part time sup.

    Then i would expect you should also feel that you personally should be verbally abused anytime someone in your driver group does something wrong. And following your logic then you should also recieve a warning letter anytime someone in your driver group gets a warning letter. And you should get fired anytime someone in your driver group gets fired.

    You think its ok for this coward of a steward to scream at the ignorant simply because the guy happens to be a part time sup. Throw out the kids own personal traits. Don't judge him as an individual. Don't consider the fact the kid is new and does not know crap. Just go ahead and rip him just because.

    is that correct or do you see anything wrong with a steward screaming at an ignorant part time sup?

    Have you figured out that the steward is the lowest of whale scum of a coward for acting like that towards an ignorant part time sup or are you still confused.

    See your steward being such a spineless coward will be why that sup somewhere down the road thinks its ok to be verbally abusive for no reason towards you some day.
    Respect begets respect. think about it.
  19. 705red

    705red Browncafe Steward

    I see that you and your steward have not kissed and made up yet! Yet again you have to jump in with your worthless two cents on a topic that has nothing to do with you. This thread was meant as an informational means on getting informed on the contract and how other parts of the country greet new rookie drivers, not lets bash the union goon every time he/she has an opinion thats different then yours.When i get a new driver i introduce myself as the steward and give them my phone number incase they have any questions. I try to talk to them a couple of times a week to see how its going and to give them advice on the job. After the make seniority i give them a copy of the contract and explain to them when our meetings are and what rights they have under it. If any of the rookies are working near my route i will take them out to lunch and let them ask away.
  20. Griff

    Griff Active Member

    Throwing it all back on the hourly again, what a surprise. Never has anything to do with the training management receives before heading into their job, couldn't be that, the blame must go somewhere else. It has nothing at all to do with the cavalier attitude management has in regards to the contract (which I suspect is part of their training). The blame in this situation goes on both sides, the steward could get a lot more accomplished with a different approach. Seems to me that a responsible, ethical company of integrity that has a unionized workforce would train their supervisors on how to behave in such an environment. Doesn't seem unreasonable and impossible to me, it would seem like the right thing to do for all parties involved. This is apparently too much to ask though, as the majority of managers are willfully ignorant about the contract and the union in general.

    Just so I'm clear here, putting your black golf shirt on someone effectively makes them a representative of UPS management. I don't care if they are part-time, full-time, half-time or no-time -- they are management. It doesn't fall on the union or the union employee to educate your employees about the contract or federal and state regulations in regards to labor. Educate your workforce before you throw your black shirt on them or do you want to keep ignorance as your excuse? Oh, he's new, that's why...sounds like business as usual to me.