Part-Time Woes

Discussion in 'The Archives' started by proups, Jul 17, 2002.

  1. proups

    proups Guest

    This article ran in Business Week yesterday. It looks like the person that wrote it got a couple of part-timers to whine a little bit for him. One person had eight years with no FT job, and the other had 2 1/2 years in......what do they expect? The average wait is about 7-10 years. They should pay their dues like all other PTers have over the years. They asked for a PT job when they came to UPS......they got it!

    JULY 17, 2002


    UPS Doesn't Deliver for Part-Timers
    Its new five-year deal with the Teamsters shows that, in a stumbling economy, employers again have the upper hand

    Hobe Williams has been waiting more than eight years for a full-time job to open up at United Parcel Service's hub in Redmond, Wash., where he works as a part-time package sorter. True, most other part-timers in the U.S. would love to get the $15.10 an hour he pulls down, plus benefits and paid vacations. But Williams, a 30-year-old union steward at the International Brotherhood of Teamsters, would make more than $20 an hour if UPS gave him the full-time job he has been in line for all these years. "I want to be full-time, and I'm tired of waiting," he complains.

    UPS's heavy reliance on part-timers, who make up 57% of its 230,000 Teamsters, had been a key flash point in talks over a new labor pact. Five years ago, in a booming economy, the Teamsters pummeled UPS in a costly 15-day strike that garnered strong public support over the issue of giving part-timers a shot at full-time work. A chastened UPS agreed to create 10,000 full-time jobs over the life of the five-year pact that's now expiring. In this latest round of negotiations, the union wanted management to up the ante to 15,000 jobs.

    It wasn't to be. The sides reached agreement on July 15, two weeks before the contract was due to expire. With the economy still relatively weak, the Teamsters rank-and-file was skittish about mounting another walkout. In the end, the union and UPS agreed to another 10,000 full-time jobs -- this time over six years instead of five.

    NO POSITION TO PRESS. However, the Teamsters won wage hikes averaging about 3.6% a year. "We have retained the ability to grow and remain strong in a very competitive industry," said UPS CEO Michael Eskew at a July 16 press conference.

    The battle at UPS mirrors what's going on across the U.S. economy. The low unemployment of the late 1990s ended years of steady growth of part-time jobs, as workers had their pick of better-paying full-time positions. Now, a jobless rate pushing 6% has given employers the upper hand again, leading to a spike in involuntary part-timers and a sharp slowdown in their hourly wages.

    Just as the Teamsters weren't in a position to press UPS too hard on the issue, so are many other workers being forced to accept part-time status. The end of the boom has left employers skittish about expanding their core workforces, so companies "are taking a cautionary approach by hiring part-time workers first," says Pennsylvania State University labor economist Lonnie M. Golden.

    FOUR-HOUR WORKDAY. No question, the Teamsters scored some gains on the part-time issue during their 1997 negotiations. That agreement reversed UPS's two-decade trend of relying primarily on part-timers to cope with growth. The creation of 10,000 union jobs has helped to expand full-time positions by 34% since then, while part-time slots have grown just 18%. Overall, the share of Teamsters on the payroll full-time has inched up three percentage points since 1997, to 43%.

    UPS officials dug in their heels this time around, however. They insisted that the nature of the delivery business requires scads of part-time labor. Packages picked up on any given day must be sorted overnight to go out the next morning. Often, it doesn't take a full eight hours. "Four hours to load an overnight plane is four hours," says UPS spokesman Norman Black. "We can't make that an eight-hour day."

    He also cites internal polls showing that only about 15% of part-timers even want a full-time post. Fully half of the company's part-timers, says Black, are college students, who squeeze in work around their studies.

    NARROWED DIFFERENCE. The Teamsters argued that the polls are inaccurate, saying the company counts all who say they plan to go to college someday as students -- and therefore not interested in full-time work. In addition, union officials question why, if the company requires a flexible workforce, it pays part-timers only about half the $20 an hour full-time loaders and sorters typically earn.

    The 1997 contract narrowed the differential by lifting the part-time starting wage by 50 an hour, to $8.50, the first increase in 15 years. The average part-time pay was raised even more, by $4.10 an hour, over the five years of the contract.

    The new agreement, which still must be ratified by members, will give part-timers a further lift. Their starting pay will go to $9, with the current average wage of $10.72 climbing about 9% a year through 2008. However, the high turnover rate of part-timers means that their average wage will still lag behind the full-timers' by the end of the contract. "Our cheap labor allows them to make profits," argues Eric Robertson, 28, a part-time loader in Atlanta who has been waiting 2 1/2 years for a full-time job.

    "SLOWER GAINS." Many other part-timers across the country face the same uphill battle as the Teamsters. The average wage for all of the nation's 22 million part-timers jumped by 26% since 1997, or 11% after inflation, an impressive performance given that very few are unionized. But in the past year, the gains slowed dramatically, beating inflation by less than 1%.

    At the same time, the ranks of involuntary part-timers -- those who say they want a full-time job but can't find one -- jumped sharply, hitting 4 million in the second quarter, after tumbling to 3 million in 2000, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

    The Teamsters were able to win as much as they did for part-timers largely because the union's full-time members were backing them up. But many others who would rather have a full-time job may need to wait until the labor markets once again turn in favor of employees.

    By Brian Grow in Atlanta
    Edited by Aaron Berstein
  2. ja7618

    ja7618 Guest

    The key word is part time! They aren't suppose to make as much as full time
  3. charlie

    charlie Guest

    Even though the title knocks UPS, I took the overall jist of the article to point out a sign of the times in the labor environment.

    "At the same time, the ranks of involuntary part-timers -- those who say they want a full-time job but can't find one -- jumped sharply, hitting 4 million in the second quarter, after tumbling to 3 million in 2000, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics."
    "But many others who would rather have a full-time job may need to wait until the labor markets once again turn in favor of employees."
  4. tranham

    tranham Guest

    While I'm against whining in general I do feel the need to rant a little. When I was hired on in early 1990 I was told it would take 8 years to become full time. Ok, no problem. In the last 3 years I've worked as a part time cover driver. In the last 6 months I've been put back in the hub. The local managment has sent a large number of feeder jobs to Knoxville, Atlanta, etc. After 12 1/2 years with UPS I feel sure I'm at least another three away from a real full time position. If you think I should have taken a combo job, your wrong. Even though I've been a air driver since 1994 they say my air driving rate will be put back to the starting rate for a combo position, a $4 hr loss. And if I ever went from a combo job to a full time driver I would be put back at the starting rate, a $5 hr loss. So in order to keep my cover driver rate I'm staying where I am. I'm not in college, I have a wife and child and would like to be able to cover all the bills. Ever hub around here except mine is 5yrs to a full time position. I know the company does what it has to do. The morale of the average part time employee here is close to zero. Especially with all the drivers hired off the street, many with less senority than me. I think I've paid my dues. You can keep your raise for the next 6 years, just give me a full time job.

    Whites Creek Tennessee Hub
  5. spidey

    spidey Guest

    I don't want to seem snippy at all here, but I've been in the work force for 18 years and worked many different part time and full time jobs. What is offered at UPS for part timers is a thousand times better than any other part time and most full time jobs out there. I think once you've been with a company for a few years your perspective gets skewed. The full time union positions have to be filled on a seniority based system. I'm sure many undeserving people move up much faster than they could possibly in the real world. That being the case, the hard workers will need to wait their turn.

    Hopefully now that the contract is settled our volume will begin to increase again and we can call back the full timers who haven't worked in 2 months. The strike threat was ugly, the economy is ugly, but the jobs will come faster as things improve. It's a damn good contract. Anyone whining about it needs to drive down to the unemployment office and look at what people in the real world are making. A part time UPS job usually makes more hourly than a F/Tjob elsewhere AND IT"S PART TIME. Time for school, time for kids, time for other jobs, time to look at the clouds. As the full time openings open, they are filled. Now there will be more. If the company told you a full time position would be a 10 year wait, it's realistic to assume that they could not forsee things that could make that wait longer or shorter. Sure, it's a long time, but to make as much money as someone with an advanced degree and years of experience in any other field with nothing more than time put into the company (for which you are well paid)it is a fanatastic oppertunity you won't get anywhere else. It's worth the wait.
  6. robonono

    robonono Guest

    Amen spidey! Well said. Perspective is everything - and UPSers often forget just how good they have it. A look at the want ads or at the unemployment office is a wonderful perscription for anyone considering a NO vote on this contract.
  7. smlsrtgrl

    smlsrtgrl Guest

    I did not see anyone whinning in either the first post or in tranhams post. There is nothing wrong with stating that you would like to be working full time. I only have 5 years in and do expect a few more years of waiting for full time. You all seem so quick to jump all over any post made by an hourly/teamster and lump us all together as a bunch of lazy selfish cry babies. Isn't us wanting to go fulltime a good thing for UPS. Doesn't say we like our jobs and want to spend many more years with the company??? Sorry just tierd of read all of negative things about me and my fellow workers.

    (Message edited by smlsrtgrl on July 17, 2002)
  8. Working part time at UPS provides an awesome opportunity to go to college and get a degree. Granted, it is VERY challenging if you have a family to support. It took me 8 years to get a 4 year degree because I could not take classes full-time. 10 weeks before I graduated with a degree in marketing, UPS promoted me into a sales position. That was 9 years ago. Since then, I have been taking tons of business away from FedEx and Airborne. (It feels so good to take business away from the other guys.) Tranham, I am by no means suggesting that you go to college, but if you could have squeezed in 1 or 2 classes a semester, you would have a degree right now and you could write your own ticket at UPS. Also 12 & 1/2 years ago the only way UPS would hire you part-time in my area was if you promised you were going to college. We are a lot more desperate for help these days but back in 1990 you had to show a college transcript or college registration form to prove you were in school. Now, UPS will pay for your school. We all get a warped sense of perception after we have been around for a few years. Overall UPS is a good place to work with a rich history of generations of UPSers working hard every day to make this place better for the next generation. Keep your chin up. The full time position will be here before you know it. There are a ton of people retiring in the next couple of years. That will free up many positions.
    FedEx's Worst Nightmare
  9. spidey

    spidey Guest

    In no way did I mean to imply that you or the poster I was responding to were being lazy or crybabies. I have heard quite a few part timers here and locally who feel they were shafted, and many who are happy with the contract. I was only suggesting that those who felt slighted put their pay and benefits into perspctive with those at other companies. I have nothing but respect and admiration for the part timers I work with.
  10. bbc11

    bbc11 Guest

    We all must remember this simple equation.
    PACKAGES = JOBS. I know that I could do better job at submitting SALES LEADS.
  11. deede99

    deede99 Guest

    I have worked for UPS for 15 years. I don't want a full time job, I like that I still have a life outside of UPS. To find a better paying part time job in the state if WV is not going to happen.
    I am thankful to UPS & the union for the job & pay rate I have. I just hope I am not forced to take a full time job.
  12. formerbrown

    formerbrown Guest

    Keep two things in mind!

    1. The part time wage INCLUDES full benefits: medical, optical,dental,vacations...McDonalds may pay more per hour,but do they have the benefits package the part timers at UPS have??
    2. Both full time and part time union memebers agreed contracts ago, to bring the part timers into the union and give them benefits and voting rights. The union knew that this gave them union dues and initiating fees from all these part timers. No one complained then! Now they share in the contract raises and benifit increases. They even have retirement benefits! I agree the 8.50 needs to move up, but the jobs never were and still are not meant to be carreers - thus the phrase "part-time".
  13. smlsrtgrl

    smlsrtgrl Guest

    Didn't all of or most UPS employees start out as part-timers? Unless hired off the the street which is a very small percent. And I doubt that any part-timer would ever be forced to go full-time, unless they chose to. We all start out on the bottom and work our way up. I like my job think the benefits are great and my hourly wage is good. I am happy with the contract and am VERY glad we did not have a strike.
    It seems we are all basically on the same team so wish the best for your fellow UPSers and lets all keep doing our jobs to the best of our abilities.
    And squash fedex.
  14. steamheat

    steamheat Guest

    dear smlsrtgrl,
    see if you have the same gung ho attitude after 13 years of part time. by the way, your username suggests that perhaps you are not humping the 150 pounders that some of us are.
  15. steamheat

    steamheat Guest

    dear formerbrown, why former brown?
  16. proups

    proups Guest

    steamheat: do you have something against females? I have read some of your posts and they all seem to have a negative slant against female UPSers.

    You slam smlsrtgrl because she "is not humping the 150 pounders that the rest of us are". Have you picked up a loaded smalls bag in a hub lately? With those new nylon bags, they all weigh 70+ pounds. I would be willing to bet that smlsrtgrl picks those things up on a more frequent basis during her part-time shift than you pick up over 70 pound packages during your day.

    I'm sure if smlsrtgrl does not have to come into contact with a driver like you, she will have a good attitude at 13 years. See Deede99's post.
  17. formerbrown

    formerbrown Guest


    union for 25, management for 7 - tossed aside after 32 years. Lots of respect for the hard working people who make it happen every day, not much respect for those who use and abuse.
  18. proups

    proups Guest

    formerbrown: "union for 25, management for 7 - tossed aside after 32 years"

    Tossed aside? What did you do? I've never seen a management person "tossed aside" for no reason.
  19. smlsrtgrl

    smlsrtgrl Guest

    steamheat, yes as my username suggest I do work in a small sort. But I work in an air operation and we do many different jobs daily. Belly loading and unloading this entails working on your knees in a belly about 31/2 to 4 ft tall, working topside of the jet pulling and pushing cans that wiegh thousands of pounds. I am not complaining or crying about these jobs I do. Just want you to know that me and my uterous are up to the challenge of lifting, lowering, pushing and pulling as needed. And yes sometimes the mesh bags are heavy. And in 13 years I still will be the same person I am today. Good luck with all those 150 pounders you get everyday.
  20. ok2bclever

    ok2bclever Guest


    Then you have never seen a Supe say NO to upper management before.