Right to Refuse Unsafe Working Conditions

Discussion in 'UPS Union Issues' started by ThunderRolls, Jun 27, 2017.

  1. ThunderRolls

    ThunderRolls New Member

    I work in the bulk department and everyday management is yelling at us when we shut the belt off. We only shut it off because it's unsafe for us to continue working. Depending on the day there are mountains of packages between the belt and the carts. We can't even get to the belt to continue pulling packages off. The walkway is filled with boxes and we can't walk. There's been a few times that we have gotten minor injuries from boxes falling on us or tripping over them. It's bulk so everything is heavy and it can cause serous injuries to us when it falls. Does the union give us any rights for us to refuse to work under these conditions until they allow us to stop the belt when unsafe?
    If there is a fire, severe weather etc we can't get out because all of the packages block the aisles. But yet management yells at us to start up the belt.
  2. DriveInDriveOut

    DriveInDriveOut Proud Deplorable

    You can't be required to engage in unsafe activity, article 18 I think. Egress to emergency exits is an OSHA issue, but it's pretty vague if I recall.

    Best bet is to just keep doing what you're doing. Let them yell, who cares.

    If they write up or retaliate talk to your steward. (they won't)
  3. wide load

    wide load Starting wage is a waste of time.

    Right to Refuse Work | Occupational Safety and Health Administration
  4. UpstateNYUPSer

    UpstateNYUPSer Well-Known Member

    Shut the belt off until the unsafe conditions have been cleaned up.
  5. 10 Pt

    10 Pt Guest

    Do you want it fixed immediately?
    #1.) WRITE a letter to your area OSHA office and explain to them about the egress transgressions you just posted here and that your supes (name them in the letter) are yelling at you to turn the belts back on.

    #2.) SIGN and date the letter, print your name for clarification, make sure the facility location, wing, belt, etc are clearly defined in the letter and put your cell phone number and email address on it.

    They will NOT give up your name or identify you as the author of the letter.

    They WILL fix the problem but you've got to hold the company accountable from then on.
    If OSHA fines the company ($$$) they won't want to get the second violation because it will be considered WILLFUL and the fine may be 30 times what the first fine was.
    Do this. But if you're a steward be careful that they don't trump up a "slow down" or "work stoppage" charge against you....
    unless you are willing to see this thru.
    Mention the Whistle Blower Act if they harass any of you after OSHA comes in.

    If your safety committee is comprised of company puppets just write the letter.
    It'll be the beginning of true safe working conditions for you and your co-workers.
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  6. An OSHA complaint makes them go crazy.
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  7. 10 Pt

    10 Pt Guest

    True...except that they're already crazy.
  8. We've had a few complaints over the years.
    Never seen so many "concerned" people in my life.

    And no it wasn't from me
  9. 10 Pt

    10 Pt Guest

    You Safety co-chair?
    Last edited by a moderator: Jun 28, 2017
  10. Not a chance.
  11. Indecisi0n

    Indecisi0n Well-Known Member

    UPS has OSHA in their pockets.
  12. 10 Pt

    10 Pt Guest

    In Washington maybe when it comes to huge fines.....maybe. I'll give you that.
    But we've experienced the opposite locally. If the agent has back bone they'll be back many times.
    What we have seen is the company having some locals in their back pocket and that's worse.
    The individual person has the right to safe working conditions and if more people got out of the fox holes and dealt with valid issues many of the rest of their coworkers would find some courage and follow suit.
  13. 10 Pt

    10 Pt Guest

    I'm not sure all the supes running the show even know what egress is.
    If the company isn't going to train them then the federal government is willing.
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  14. UpstateNYUPSer

    UpstateNYUPSer Well-Known Member

    I noticed the other day that we have an OSHA complaint and company response posted on a bulletin board. The complain alleged that the company was doing nothing to alleviate excessive heat (88-92 degrees F) within the building. OSHA decided not to investigate but did direct the company to perform an internal investigation and post the results. OSHA further stated that failure to do so could result in fines and/or an investigation.
  15. Bubblehead

    Bubblehead My Senior Picture

    My building was the genesis of the egress initiative at UPS.
    They have been fined multiple times, as well as taken to federal court by an individual employee.
    Due to the building being utilized at a capacity that far exceeds it design, egress is now an issue again.
    My alternate steward and myself addressed the Company and the so-called "Safety Committee" on the issue last month, complete with a photo montage.

    In the interim, the Company has seen fit to exacerbate the problem by removing all dock plates from the building, leaving the preload even less area to stack out their sets.

    Also, in the meantime, I have become the first local union appointed member of the Safety Committee and will be attending all future meetings as a paid participant.
    I am preparing the first ever safety related grievance to be submitted by the "Committee", as provided for in Art 18 of the Master on this egress problem.

    If this doesn't realize immediate results, I will be soliciting OSHA for help.
    Game on.
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  16. 10 Pt

    10 Pt Guest

    That is great info.
    If someone writes a letter and signs it osha will do their own investigation and it'll speed up the process since summer will probably be over by the time any really significant changes are decided (due to spending money) and implemented.
    OSHA does not divulge the names of folks who report problems using any venue to communicate it to their agents.

    If it's worth a making a phone call it's worth a signed letter.
  17. BigUnionGuy

    BigUnionGuy Got the T-Shirt

    And that.... is how it's done.

  18. UPS Preloader

    UPS Preloader Active Member

    Does this mean your in Sam's building?
  19. UPS Preloader

    UPS Preloader Active Member

    OSHA requires an unobstructed 28" wide walk path. (exit route) It is our responsibility to maintain the clear walk path. Management might allow it, but they can't stop you from maintaining it.
  20. Bubblehead

    Bubblehead My Senior Picture

    Sam no longer has any buildings, he's retired.....

    .....and good riddance.