working as directed

Discussion in 'UPS Discussions' started by hoser, Apr 9, 2007.

  1. hoser

    hoser Industrial Slob

    I show up to work witnessing the employer constantly thrusting us into unsafe working conditions and grossly contravening the contract. Supervisors handle packages and they direct unloaders to hammer out volume causing piles of boxes on accumulate on the floor. The shift before us will be standing on boxes and surrounded by 10 ft high avalanches of boxes, without a single concern in the world. I'll try to explain to them that that is unsafe and UPS would not cover them when they facture their ankle, but they either a) give me deer in headlights look or b) "well the manager will yell at us and that's scary!" line. Our facility is small, we've way the hell outgrown it, and co-workers are way too short sighted to remedy the problems that they complain about.

    So I decided to take a stand against this stupidity. Work as directed. My supervisor hates me for it. My sup said not to throw boxes, I never throw them. It just means I stop the belt and walk them up to the trailer. And then when my sup tells me to ceas stopping the belt them and "walk them down the belt up" (yes, that is what my supervisor told me to do when I get hammered), I do just that, only that 50% of my boxes end up at the end of the belt at the end of the night and mis service. The tail of my trailer will get full (4ft pile of boxes in the tail of the trailer), there won't be any stackers availing themselves, and I will stack the boxes on the floor, and when I cannot have direct access into my trailer, I stop the belt and clean it up (take all boxes, stack them on the belt, and clear a path for me to stack). I'm not doing this to deliberately screw over the operation, I'm just choosing not to put myself into unsafe conditions. I don't run, throw, overload, or put my co workers and I into unsafe conditions.

    Sad thing is, no one else follows. Everyone will whine and complain about the employer and the conditions, but they will not stand up for their right to a safe work place. I'll try to explain that if every employee would not tolerate mounds of boxes and unsafe conditions, the operation would go a lot slower (than if they were to run volume at a regulated, controlled, pace), and they may re-consider their approach. But my co-workers seem to lose me after the first sentence. They seem to have the attitude that if bitching won't solve anything, working to rule won't, either.

    So on the line, co workers will climb over boxes in order to stack trailers. I'll tell them that they should clear a path for them to walk on to, even if it means spilling it out onto the belt; there is NO reason why they should be putting themselves into such (avoidable) danger. After all, allowing ourselves to be put into unsafe working conditions is a nod to the employer's unloading techniques (hammering it out). I'll even offer to help them clear a path. They'll give me a condenscending reply "ohh! it's safe!" as they nervously look for a place to grip their hand while atop a 15 ft avalanche, or after I tell them to stop being such tools to the employer they'll give me a look and some kind of reply that they have no other choice. After all, they'll could get yelled at! OH NOES! :ohmy::ohmy::ohmy:
    Often, while performing safe actions (like stopping the belt to get around, clearing a path, stopping the belt to clean up) our union-rep in waiting will yell at me, asking why I am stopping the belt. I'm seriously going to file a complaint against the govt' labour relations board regarding fair representation if he actually becomes rep, because he's totally in the pocket of the supervisor and unwilling to stand up for our rights, as he doesn't even practise them.

    So my supervisor changes my job from picking to stacking to make an example out of me. I find this to be demoralizing and insulting, and I really do not care about the quality of my work any more. I really don't care. Before I would make sure every box got to the right destination, now I am spending too much energy trying to stay safe. Only could UPS take a keener and mould him into an impartial lazy thug.

    This has taught me that half the corporate culture of a company depends on its employees. If we were united and stood for the same thing, many (but not all) of our problems/stress would disappear. Morale would be a bit higher, and we wouldn't lashout at each other. But unfortunently, my co-workers are too short sighted and I guess they think our hub is the way all hubs are supposed to be run and there's nothing they can do about it.

    I'm thinking of calling the rep from the Union front office, and see what he can do. Nice guy BTW, his attitude totally changed the perception that I hold of unions.

    Any input or opinions?
  2. I too work as directed, if I'm not to stack it stays in my cages and if help isn't sent then I don't wrap, simple as that. If I am told to "just get it done" I do whatever I have to do to get it done safely (stacking stuff on carts etc). No one really bothers me when I do what I do because there really is no other way to do my pull. They don't do anything to me because 1 they know I'd be more than happy to leave the area i'm at and 2 as I said theres really no other way to do it.
  3. dillweed

    dillweed Well-Known Member

    Oh hoser, I feel for ya. Sounds like your area is a living hell hole.

    First off, don't let them wear you down by moving you to stack. So what, pays the same, right? Stack the crap while keeping yourself safe. Cardboard is cardboard and it sucks just as bad loading as stacking it.

    Hang in there with the other employees. I know that deer in headlight look and I've spent many days with it on my own face. Management is very good at dividing us, which weakens the brother/sisterhood of the union and makes a joke of the contract. A t-shirt given to this one, a cap to that one, breakfast after the sort with a few of the guys, a pat on the back or even a fib to someone about someone else will start the animosity. Notice how little opportunity we have to talk to each other while pt sups walk around whispering in everyone's ear. No one knows where they stand or who they can trust. You're trying to help them and, in turn, help the entire area but if they are intimidated into working without regard to safety there's nothing you can do for them. Just keep yourself safe and be a good example.

    All this place comes down to is keeping yourself safe and sane. If you're lucky you'll find a friend or two you can trust and laugh it off with. I've gone long periods in my building where I trusted no one but myself. Lonely, yep. Safe, very. When it doubt, keep it to yourself and do the best you can safely. Sounds like you're doing all right so far, just don't let the bastards wear you down! dw
  4. hoser

    hoser Industrial Slob

    It's not a hell hole unless I allow to be a hell hole. I used to get so worked up over it, and now I just space out and go slow. Getting upset is unsafe for my mental health, and could lead to me not being focused on a safe work area :wink:. I'm going to talk to the union local president, and have him come in to witness the sort. All sorts don't have a shop steward assigned to them yet, which is why the employer is allowed to get away with this.
  5. raceanoncr

    raceanoncr Well-Known Member

    Agree. Am in different part of operations than you but we have same issues and have been trying to get people to do the same as you suggest, "Work as directed".

    We have hashed this out in this forum many times and hear the argument, "But we have to service our customers" when the "don't skip your lunch" talk comes into play. I agree, we have to service our customers but one thing I did when I was in P/C when there was going to be a management-induced change in their service (remember when the company would always tell them, "You'll do it OUR way or NO way"?) is to tell the customer that there was going to be a change and they better call up and complain. Sometimes it worked, sometimes it didn't. But I stuck to my guns and worked as directed. THEN it worked because their big idea didn't pan out like they had hoped.

    Got in from run today and supe behind desk asked if I was presented the PCM on whatever the flavor of the month was.
    He proceded to read, in part, "No work before punch in and no work after punch out, off the clock". I said, "That came to a screeching halt after my 30 days was locked in, nearly 29 yrs ago". He merely said he had to read it and it was being given to all the P/C drivers too.
  6. 705red

    705red Browncafe Steward

    Call 1 800 220 4126 thats the corporate hotline for violence and safety concerns. You can give your name if you like but you dont have to. That should fix it within a couple of days.
  7. MR_Vengeance

    MR_Vengeance United Parcel Survivor

    it's a damn shame to see people felt this way about the company.
  8. Channahon

    Channahon New Member

    Unsafe work conditions - call OSHA - should get resolved one way or another.
  9. hoser

    hoser Industrial Slob

    good ol' ups managers. they're a breed of their own.

    you're a cog in the wheel. servicing the customers is up to the employer. if they don't want packages to get late, build us an appropriately sized up, or provide us with an adequate amount of drivers.

    i'm not very pro union, but i hate paying $40/month to be under a contract and get certain rights, and see employees choose not to use these rights or the employer willfully disobey them. if you're entitled to break, you take the break. that's why you paid your union dues. you're getting ripped off if you don't use those rights.
  10. helenofcalifornia

    helenofcalifornia Well-Known Member

    You pay $40??? I pay $75!!!
  11. hoser

    hoser Industrial Slob

    but you also work twice as many hours as me. more like 2.25 the hours.
    and i make 50% what you make.