Warning: long thread. Any and all answers would be appreciated. Thanks.
First, a little about myself, so you know where I am coming from: I’m 44 years old and drove a truck for 20 years. I lost my wife and parents in the span of 2 years and got sick of the b.s. on the road and quit(lack of parking, people shooting me the bird, trying to wreck me, being woke up at night by prostitutes). I got up to 477 pounds, but spent the last 1.5 years losing 225 pounds and I took a job at our local UPS on the preload shift ....
It’s a small place and we work from approximately 2am to 9:45am, but we sometimes get off early, and they’ve got me loading 3 trucks and a small trailer off of a belt. The physical work is definitely hard, but I prepared for that losing weight, but mentally it’s a little tough for me, because I’m a Virgo and I want to do it perfect ....
1) I just got an ID today and can log in. I’ve noticed that the computer is showing a start time of 2am. Does that mean that I don’t start getting paid until 2am, even though I come in early? Also, I’ve noticed that the start times are staggered on a chart, and some of the kids are telling me that your pay doesn’t start until THAT time. However, they want us all there at 2:00am for the “cover our butts, safety talk.”
2) When will I get paid? I started on April 14. Do they pay weekly or every two weeks? If weekly, shouldn’t I have received a check, already?
3)Are you allowed to work multiple jobs within the same facility? I’m used to making more money than this and 30-35 hours, per week, @ $14.50/hour ain’t my kind of money. Or, do I need a side job?
4)The lady who runs the entire night shift is adamant about writing numbers on boxes. I only see the need to write the number if I can’t peel the tag and face it out. When I asked her, the response was,”It makes the load look good.” The drivers say they’d rather have the PAL sticker out, if possible.
5)Should I put small boxes and tee shirts, with the same PAL in front of or behind the bigger boxes? My supervisor says in front, but that makes no sense, since it seems like they’re gonna just fall off. I talked to one driver and he said he was okay with them being put in the back.
6)Everyone says the drivers are “pissy,” but they’ve all been nice to me. Is that because I’m wearing the blue vest, or because I’m doing a good job? Two of them said, “this is loaded better than it has been in a long time.”
7)Why doesn’t everyone work as a team? I notice that I walk down to get “blow byes” and take them back up to the next section, but no one does this for me. Also, I try to help others out when I can, to take items off the belt and place it by their car, but only one other person(another trainee) has done this for me. Also, I seem to be the last person leaving everyday.
8)What’s up with some of the drivers coming in early? Aren’t they Union drivers? I know they’re not working off the clock?! If so, why? We’re in SC, which isn’t exactly the bastion of Unions. Why would anyone work for free?
9)How long does it take to become a driver and do I really want to do this? I notice some of these guys are still running after dark andome of the cars are packed to the gills in the morning. How do I go about “bidding” for this opportunity, once my 30 days are up?
10)Would a better alternative be to try and drive the feeder trucks, since I have a CDL? Does it pay good? If so, how would I go about going in that direction?
11)What do you guys mean by a “runner?”
12)What is the “9.5” that y’all are talking about on here, all the time.
13)Should I join the union as a package handler, or wait until I become a driver? As dumpy as our facility is(that’s an honest assessment, as it is nasty, dusty, and very leaky), I don’t see what they’re doing for our small place.
14)Any tips to load more efficiently would be appreciated. I try to at least get everything off the belt, but sometimes I get huge piles in front of my door or have “blow byes.” Last night, I, literally, had about 50 boxes in a row for one car. The supervisor had to help me out, which was embarrassing. I’m trying my best to play “Tetris” and pack the cars more efficiently to leave room down the middle. Do I really need EVERY single box in exact sequential order?
15)Thanks again for any and all tips/answers.
1. You don't start getting paid until your start time. Even if you punch in at the computer an hour early, you're not "on the clock" until your scheduled start time.
2. We get paid weekly. You should see your first paycheck at the end of your second week of work. If you've past that already and haven't been paid, you need to talk with... your supe's, I guess, I would say HR but they've recently gotten rid of most of that department.
3. Double-shifting is possible. It's normally not offered to people low on the seniority list, but it's always worth asking about if you're interested. Worst thing they can do is say no.
4. Honestly? It doesn't matter. We're gonna sort on-road anyways. Peeling the PAL is my preferred method, though. It's almost guaranteed that I'm going to ignore any and everything handwritten on cardboard. 9 times out of 10 the loader doesn't do anything other than throw the box near the right shelf, though.
5. It doesn't need to be perfect, no. Just generally low to high. Low HIN/PAL#'s in front of and on top of the high ones. It's best to think 3 dimensionally instead of just left to right or right to left. EG: the start of the 2000 shelf. You got a 2056 front and foremost. On top of it is a 2000. Next to it could be a 2022, a 2081, and a 2045, in that order. Behind those boxes should be anything 2100 or higher. Repeat that process over and over again, and try to make it so that the walls are painted sequentially-- try not to have a 2900 behind 2000, and for God's sake don't have a 2000 at the end of the shelf behind a 2900. Again, though, we'll be sorting throughout the day.
6. A lot of us are. There's a lot the preload could do to make our jobs a little easier, but all I ever hear supe's telling their workers is "LOAD AND GO." If you make an effort, we'll respond accordingly. If you don't, we'll still respond accordingly. This applies whether it's your first day on the job or you're going on 10 years.
7. There's no teamwork because people don't see the job that way. They're assigned a pull, you're assigned a pull. Why should they help you in their downtime? Why should you help them in your downtime? It's not like some routes and pulls are heavier than others or anything, it's not your fault if Jim can't crush his 4 cars the way Tom kills his 2.... /s
8. A lot of loaders are god awful at their job. Some drivers would like to get home before 10pm, and in order to do that they need to be able to find packages quickly from their first stop to their last. Other drivers couldn't care less. Load it however you like, they'll fix it throughout the day and get paid for doing what preload couldn't.
9. Could take a few weeks, could take a few years. Ask around your center and find out where the bid sheets are posted. Then keep an eye on that spot and read over every piece of paper that put up on that wall. Sign them if you're interested. They're awarded based on seniority.
10. Feeder would be so much better than package, but much more difficult to get into. Most places have some pretty long waiting lists for those positions.
11. Someone who breaks rules/traffic laws and doesn't follow the methods in order to burn up a route and get off the clock early.
12. 9.5 list adjusts your dispatches to have you on the clock for no more than 9.5hrs. If you work more than that, you can grieve it for.... triple pay? I think it's triple pay. I'm a 22.4 though so I needn't worry myself with the whole 9.5 thing
13. It's... really up to you. Personally, I'd say join it now.
14. There's really not much to it. You're building a number line for each shelf. When things get hectic, like with those 50 boxes in a row, that's when you grab those 50 off the belt and stack them in front of the truck. Keep working the belt. Once you get the slightest bit of downtime you work on putting that bulk away. Everything's easier if you scan the boxes when you pull them from the belt, set them inside the right pkg car, scan the cars barcode and then keep it moving. Put it away when you get the chance, just don't get into the habit of throwing stuff in the trucks without a scan, because that's when you're gonna start to misload.
15. You're welcome, bud, and thanks for actually caring!