The times in Calgary

Discussion in 'UPS Union Issues' started by Mike23, Jun 13, 2009.

  1. Mike23

    Mike23 Guest

    I've seen three posts about Calgary in the past, I thought I'd write a new one. I'm sure I can be tracked down being one of the few Mike's in the depot and only been there for a little over a year. I'll give everyone a brief run down on how things were done when I first started and now.

    When I first started I failed my physical, got a doctors note from another doctor and was allowed to work for UPS. I was then 'trained' for three weeks on a run done by a driver for 12 years. I use trained loosely because it involved doing between 100-120 stops from 9am to 5pm and was mostly my on road sup doing the driving, sorting the truck and me delivering the pkgs when he was doing that. We had 150% turnover rate in the 1st 3 months of employment. Everyday we'd check the white wash board and see a looooooong line of code 16's (ppl who quit). They were 12 hour days, code 5's everyday (because no one wanted to stay out for 13 hours) with resi splits given after already doing 100 stops by 5 but unable to do 120 stops by 5.

    Times slowly got better, we were given a reliability bonus (for new drivers especially it helped) of about $400 a month just for showing up to work. I know this probably seem unfair to quite a few but the average wage in Calgary is $15 an hour and $15 an hour, 12 hour days weren't working because people could make $15 an hour for 8 hours down the street. Things got better over the next six months pretty quickly.

    I've heard we haven't hired a full time driver since November. We lost A LOT of part time drivers. Why, do you ask? Well, they were used to working a minimum of 8 hour days and when full time drivers started applying off the streets they saw their hours dwindle to 4 hours a day. Some say it's fair and some say it's not. The part time drivers did have the oppertunity to stay home after working their 20hours a week though which the full time drivers did not.

    That brings us to the present time. Things were rolling along pretty good. We're getting a new building in Sept/Oct this year and we actually have enough drivers to work relatively regular hours. We still work from 0900-1830 most nights but it's better then 0900-2100 every night. I'm not too sure if those are regular hours for a UPS driver or not. I know it was extremely messy when we had too many full time drivers because UPS was trying to save a buck by having part timers still work their 8 hours shifts but that's been stopped. The only problem I really percieve in the future is UPS doing away with the bonus' that were given. These were extremely important to getting and keeping full time drivers as well as having full time drivers not calling in sick every second day. They're being done away with because UPS claims that we have a full staff and it's no longer needed. This means many drivers are going to be down to $16 an hour again. It also means they can go down the street and work 9-5 everyday once this recession ends. I can see it all happening again which, honestly, has me a little nervous.

    I asked a sup how well we're trained in Calgary. He told me 25% do things well most of the time, 50% do things right 75% of the time and the other 25% do nothing right at all. It's mostly because we were given the answers during our training to make sure we passed and just not given proper training. It's deffinately been a rough go and I pity the poor people who stuck it out since it first started in 2007.

    So, it's been 1 year and a month and I'm already half way up on the seniority list of about 300+ drivers (scary, isn't it?). I'm going to be losing $300 income in a society where it costs my girlfriend and I about $120 a week for groceries and $1200 rent a month. I think everyone knows UPS is using the recession just to save the buck and not really caring how it effects their employees.

    Anyways, that's how it's been. Hope it clarifies some things about Calgary and what a different type of animal it is in this town. If you're wondering on the reasons, it's due to fort mcmurry and the big oil boom there which = A LOT of money in wages.

    What does all this have to labor relations you might ask? Well, our union guy is trying to get a clause in the Canadian contract so that Alberta can make it's own wage seperate from the rest of Canada so that it doesn't revert back to hell again. Is this doable or just a pipe dream? I have no idea.

    Also during those 12 hours days we have a part in our contract about unfair over time. What is defined by unfair over time? Is this going to be remedied in the 2010 contract in Canada? If every driver is working 12 hours is it still unfair over time or just regular over time?
  2. over9five

    over9five Moderator Staff Member

    So Mike, why aren't you working at the oil boom?
  3. DS

    DS Fenderbender

    Hi Mike,thanks for sharing your thoughts here in the BC,I found your post both interesting and informative.I'm a 19 yr ft driver in Toronto.
    They often ask us to fly out to Calgary or Edmonton to help out for 2 or 3 weeks.Quite a few single guys have done it,and they had nothing but good things to say about you guys.
    They said there is a comaraderie amongst the drivers there and they tend to work together as opposed to the way it is here.
    You may not get a lot of response to your post because the majority of people in the browncafe are U.S. based and most of them seem to think of Canada as being a very small part of the "Big Picture"
    With your new multi million $ facility,and or $73 million $ expansion,I think that ups realizes that we are indeed extremely important if we expect to retain the business and grow.
    As far as working up the street for the same money goes,go ahead,or go for the big $ in Fort McMurray on the oil rigs.Driving for ups is,as we have established countless times here in the BC,not for everyone.After all your years in would you really quit to sit in an office getting fat for the same pay? I doubt it. Ok I'll shut up now:)
  4. Mike23

    Mike23 Guest

    Well, the oil boom are longer, grueling hours (or so I've heard) sometime 14 hours a day. It's whenever the oil starts flowing is when you start. We have a driver in Calgary who did it for awhile and said he made about $3200 a week. My cousin also knows a pipe welder who signed a 3 year deal for $500 000 with a $375 000 signing bonus.

    I enjoy my job, never let that be an issue here because I like my customers and getting to know them. I know we've had people from other provinces come out and out, A LOT. I went through some training with another training sup from Ontario for awhile, also BC and Winnipeg. This was in the span of a month.

    As I said, in Calgary we're decent, the farther north you go (closer to fort mcmurry) the harder it is on the UPS drivers. I've heard the Edmonton branch has it worse since they're only about 3 hours away from it. A typical trailer there, about 1 year ago (I mean trailer park trailer) was selling for $500 000. In Calgary it was hard to find a house for under $400 000 (I'm talking just a small bungalow too).

    We do have some management problems (but who doesn't). I think they just got so used to pressing the panic button in every situation that they have a problem with continuing to do that. I know we're in much better shape then a year ago. I haven't heard of us trying to get any drivers from any other province for awhile and we're actually able to do light duties when injured (I managed to tear some tendons in my shoulder and was told to only lift 20pounds and was still given 120 pound pieces on the truck). The whole thing in Calgary was strictly a panic trying to get anyone to get packages out. Our building is literally falling apart (one of our doors won't even shut which makes it freaking cold in -30 weather in that building for the preloaders). Our 'heating' system is the kind you find at a hockey arena (a heated pipe running along the roof). We're at max capacity now for preloaders which means half the mornings drivers show up 30min early, WITHOUT pay just to finish loading the mountain in the back of their truck (sometimes half their truck). I'm honestly surprised we weren't trying to get drivers from the states to come up and help for a few weeks. We do have a bit of a closer bond, I think, then some depots due to knowing everyone got the same shaft when we first started and we all know what it's like to be poorly trained and just thrown in a truck. However, that being said, it has also created a 'us vs them' mentality from the drivers and the managers, which is a shame because a lot of the management are fairly nice and we just don't trust them due to the amount of times they claimed things have been fixed when they haven't been.

    I'm not sure about any other province, and I would like to know, but how often are your fire extinguishers in the trucks recertified? I know ours hasn't been in 3 years and the head of health and safety came out claiming they didn't need to be every year because we follow the federal law and not the provincial law. That didn't make any sense to me because isn't that saying we don't need to follow the highway traffic act because it's a provincial law? Also we follow the International fire code (federal government included) which states they need to be recertified every year, so ***?
  5. Trendkiller

    Trendkiller New Member

    I replied to a ad for a driver position in edmonton after reading about all this news in canada. And I live in TExas in the states.
    That is how bad I want to be a driver. And NO it is not just aboot (hehe) the money. I drove for DHL for 2 years and LOVE the work. I would relocate and get dual citizenship just to start my work exp as a driver. Any you guys put in a good word for me up there?
  6. Mike23

    Mike23 Guest

    As I said Trend, we haven't hired a full time driver since November but I KNOW we're looking for part time drivers and desperately need a mechanic. I think our HR would want to look at your resume and likely an interview but I might be able to just talk him into it since he's a pretty decent fellow. Part time only makes $400 a week though so you'd deffinately need a room mate and I know my little lady HATES room mates so you'd need to find someone else in Calgary but I can see what I can do?
  7. helenofcalifornia

    helenofcalifornia Well-Known Member

    Do the Teamsters represent you up there? And is $15 the starting wage of a probationary driver? It takes 2 1/2-3 years to get up to top wage down here ($29), so I am hoping that you will be making more money soon. And it sounds to me like UPS acts the same in Canada as in the States. Good luck.
  8. DS

    DS Fenderbender

    Helen we are indeed teamsters although they are completly useless .
    The starting rate varies from city to city country wide.
    Its not normal to get a $100 a week bonus just to not quit.
    Tredkiller,move to Canada and set up housekeeping here,They could use your tax dollars.Once you are here its a shoe in.
  9. Mike23

    Mike23 Guest

    What? We only make $24.45 an hour in Calgary and we have the second highest living expense in Canada! I think the new contract will be a little more beneficial for us though since our main union guy is actually useful. I went through a rough time after my brother in laws suicide and he was more then willing to help me out, unfortunately UPS had other ideas (gee, if that doesn't give away who I am to our depot, I dunno what would). Our stewards are pretty useless although you can't really blame them since they don't really have much power and so therefore don't give advice, don't back you up and generally don't give a damn. I think they're just worried of helping anyone out who isn't their best bud though. The Teamsters do represent us up here in the pitiful north and as stated our main union guy is awesome the rest leave much to be desired. I recall when I first started our main union guy came in (within the first 2 months) and said if we had any issues to call him directly.

    DS, 99% of the UPS ppl in Calgary realize it's not the norm to get $100 bonus a week to just not quit. It was pitiful how much we had to fight to get that. That's what I mean that our sups do give a damn because they were the ones that fought for that bonus for our new guys (haha, 1 year and I call ppl new guys). I don't think anyone knows how bad it was up in Alberta unless they actually came for a 'visit'. As I stated before, we are a different type of animal in Alberta and UPS (upper echlone in the states) just doesn't know how to handle it and ****s all over our sups. I've heard rumors that people in other provinces work 8.5 hours a day and that INCLUDES their lunch. I'm generally under by 1 hour and am still out for 9 hours with a 1 hour break not included. I'm lucky if I get 30min break in my day. I dunno if that's because I was just poorly trained and picked up many bad habits (such as scanning in the pkg car) or just stink but I think 120 stops by 1830 with 69 kilometers isn't too bad...or at least I hope so since the numbers say I'm ok. Anyways, back on track for a moment...our sups actually work from 7am - (closing sup) 2000. I don't know any other province like that. I also know, last week we had one sup work from 0600-2100. How rediculious is that?!