Bagel's FAQ For Driver Helpers

Discussion in 'UPS Union Issues' started by Bagels, Nov 23, 2013.

  1. Bagels

    Bagels Family Leave Fridays!!!

    As a point of reference for the plethora of threads we'll receive from driver helpers, I offer this FAQ as reference.

    What exactly is a driver helper?
    A driver helper is just that – somebody who assists a driver with his deliveries. Driver helpers typically meet a driver at a designated meet point (for example, the parking lot of McDonald’s), sit in the passenger seat of the truck and run off packages to their respective home (or business) while the driver drives the truck & finds/sorts/scans packages. Most drivers rarely leave the truck, leading many fatigued helpers to frustration as they feel they’re doing all the work – they need to keep in mind that finding & sorting packages in a stuffed truck is time consuming on the driver’s part and necessary to save time.

    Other scenarios (e.g. delivering in malls, having packages dropped off at your home to deliver through golf cart / bicycle, etc.) are possible but NOT common.

    Am I good candidate for driver helping?
    UPS does not discriminate via its hiring practices. We’ve had senior citizens, persons with handicaps (including a prostatic leg!) and the severely obese (including people wearing brown shirts & sweats as UPS does not normally stock their sizes) work as helpers. But you need to understand that these are HIGHLY physical, fast pace, pure manual labor jobs. While you may be given a chance, you won’t get a second if your first one didn’t go well.

    Whether you have a spotty employment record or you’re a convicted a felon, it doesn’t hurt to apply. As long as you’re legally able to work in the USA, you’ll likely be given an opportunity. And no, UPS does not preform pre-employment drug screening.

    Attend a paid orientation session to determine if the job’s right for you. And don’t worry about stuff like the DIAD – your driver won’t expect you to be proficient with it.

    When do driver helpers work and for how many hours?
    Driver helpers could potentially work between Nov. 1 and mid-January, although most are utilized only between Thanksgiving and Christmas Day. The earlier you apply, the greater your chances of working earlier & consistently with the same driver.

    UPS will call you each morning (typically by 10AM) if an assignment is available. Sometimes an assignment becomes available later in the day, thus you may receive a call in the afternoon. You may be fortunate enough to establish a rapport with a driver, communicating directly and thus avoiding the middle man.

    Most helpers are picked-up around 12PM, but can be picked-up as earlier or even in the evening. You’ll work Monday-Friday for as little as two hours or as many as ten; even if you manage to work with the same drive for several weeks, the hours can be unpredictable.

    How much does the job pay?
    In most areas, $8.50/hour. In some Central/Midwestern states, $12.88/hour. The rate is established by the collective bargaining agreement signed between UPS and its unions. You will be paid weekly via an old fashioned paper paycheck that your driver will give to you on Friday.

    Do I have to pay union initiation and dues?
    If you live in a RTW state and do not join the union, no – otherwise, yes. At the conclusion of the season, contact your local as initiation and dues paid may sometimes be refundable should you not continue your employment with UPS.

    Is the job hard?
    A highly subjective question, but ALL helper positions are fast paced, highly physical. Some helpers will be delivering to 150 stops up long, icy, rural driveways in chilly weather (and trucks with crappy heat); other helpers will be delivering to 300 stops up short driveways in sunny Florida. Even in the same community, there’s an array of routes -- and everybody’s preferences will vary.

    Perhaps the biggest challenge is sharing the same space with another individual (your driver) for up to 10 hours per day. Most drivers are easy to get along with… but some are aresholes. Sometimes it’s just their personality, sometimes they didn’t want a helper (you’re there simply to lower their hours, which may tick them off) and sometimes they want a helper with similar interests (e.g. somebody to talk fantasy football with all day). If things don’t click, and you don’t work together again, don’t take it personally.

    Will I be offered future employment with UPS?
    These are SEASONAL positions. No, you will not be offered a driver’s position at the end of the season. Perhaps you’ll be offered a part-time package handling position working inside a UPS facility. But if you’re interested in that job, it’s best to apply for it instead of a helper position. Package handlers are offered the opportunity to help as well.

    Why wasn’t I called today?
    - Many helping positions are filled by incumbent UPS employees, friends & family of drivers and previous driver helpers. This is especially true in areas in which the wage is $12.88.
    - UPS continues to hire, as its volume builds throughout the season. It’s possible that you may be used merely a few days comprising the busiest days of the year.
    - For the best opportunity, apply early and be flexible – the further you’re willing to travel, the more likely you’ll be assigned work.

    $8.50 an hour is outrageous in Southern California!
    We empathize with you, but the wage is competitive with similar menial jobs. Enjoy the perks of exercise and weekends off. Otherwise, apply for Macy’s or McDonald’s. But don’t rant about the wage – it is what it is.

    I gave up another opportunity for UPS and I’m barely working!!!
    Honestly, seasonal jobs at UPS are indifferent from other season jobs. For example, seasonal employees at Macy’s are at the mercy of projected in-season sales. If you’re offered another job with guaranteed, consistent hours, then why do you desire work for UPS anyway, given you’ll be cut loose within a few weeks?
  2. UpstateNYUPSer

    UpstateNYUPSer Very proud grandfather.

    While overall this is an accurate description of the job, there are a number of points with which I disagree or simply don't apply in the area of the country that I work in. I worked in a closed shop yet our local union is smart enough to realize that it is blatantly unfair to collect initiation fees and/or union dues from seasonal employees. We (drivers) are expected to work with the helper and not to use them as an excuse to stay in the pkg car while they run off stops. We are also expected to get the helpers up to speed on the DIAD and to put more than the minimum number of required stops in to the DIAD. Flexibility and the willingness to work on a moment's notice are crucial. Personality clashes can and do happen----these can either be worked out or a change will be made.

    With only 17 days to do what we normally do in 20-22, things will be more chaotic than usual, nerves will be frayed and feelings will be hurt. The bottom line is the work needs to get done and the helper can either pitch in or get out of the way.
  3. Bagels

    Bagels Family Leave Fridays!!!

    Obviously what I wrote is a generalization; given the size & breadth of UPS, experiences may differ. That said, what you're conveying may be the company's protocol, but it is indeed an exception. A clear majority of drivers will make no effort to assist in delivering, even when practical. For example, if the last stop of night has two 50 lbs. boxes being delivered up a long driveway, most drivers will sit on their behinds while the helper makes two trips to deliver the packages (they won't even bother to provide the handcart).

    And the 17-day peak is closer to the average... We typically experience a four-week peak about every six years -- but we had two in a row.
  4. over9five

    over9five Moderator Staff Member

    Shouldn't it be "Bagels's"???
  5. UpstateNYUPSer

    UpstateNYUPSer Very proud grandfather.


    Where's my coffee and doughnuts?
  6. over9five

    over9five Moderator Staff Member

    Geez relax, it's a long ride! You'll probably have to nuke the coffee when I get there....!
  7. upschuck

    upschuck Well-Known Member

    I believe helpers do not pay initiation fees. If you are a seasonal driver, you do. If a helper works only a couple of hours that particular week, and initiations taken out, the helper would have to pay UPS.
  8. UpstateNYUPSer

    UpstateNYUPSer Very proud grandfather.

    Some locals (foolishly) charge initiation fees to seasonal workers, including helpers.
  9. upschuck

    upschuck Well-Known Member

    That is asinine. A bunch quit in my centers when they don't pay the fees, I can only imagine the ones that would quit if they had to pay them. I remember when I jumped before I was hired permanently, that the amount on the paycheck was what I was looking for, I needed the money then, not in a month.
  10. gingerkat

    gingerkat Well-Known Member

    In So. Cal it's $22.50. The HR was so awful that they forgot to mention it to all the newbies, but I *coughed and reminded the HR lady about it. She put her down a little, thanked me and said yes that was true. After that, about 6 people walked out of the meeting. A tricky way to try and get people to work for you.
  11. bleedinbrown58

    bleedinbrown58 ahhh....the mouth breathers

    HR is purposely misleading people? Noooooooo....they would never do that! lol Yes, most of our PTers are driving FT in 18 months....what a giant pile of crap!