Union woes at small town hub

Discussion in 'UPS Union Issues' started by serpentor, Dec 31, 2014.

  1. serpentor

    serpentor New Member

    Hello there. Long time follower of the Brown Cafe forums, first time poster. I have been employed with UPS since Oct, 2004. 5 years in at SDF on the ramp, and 5 years in at a smaller UPS hub in Western Kentucky. During my tenure with the company, I never experienced any problems with the union helping me or sorting things out at SDF, always cut and dry and the problems fixed. However, I'm afraid that is not the case at my location now. It seems that my union representatives and management have some sort of "off the books" methods of special treatment and tolerance towards employees, and it is rather disheartening. Back in September, our building bid a fueling job. Well, the bid sheet was posted for about an hour before it was taken down, the supervisor stating that there was an error with the job title (it was fueling/shifting, not supposed to be combined) and that they would be putting another sheet up soon. Well that never happened lol. Instead what happened, was they asked nobody, and I mean nobody if they wanted the position or not and gave it to a relatively new employee who so happens to be outside of work business friends with a couple members of the mgmt team. Normally I wouldn't much care, I just do my job and don't try to make much stink. I'm used to having my neck stepped on and dealing with it. Yet, I was legitimately interested in this job, and it does offer more hours. With the recent holidays, I overheard how this employee that lucked into the job is paying more in taxes every week than I bring home. So, with proper procedure I inquired to my steward about filing a grievance. Not specifically for the pay return, but just so that there would finally be a bid sheet put up (also another sheet for a small sort position that needs to go up, they have just been playing musical employees and filling the position nightly for about a month). Well, I was informed that the employee that has been fueling, automatically gets it because it has been longer than 60 days since he started doing that job. My question was how is this possible because the entire building (only about 14 employees total on my local evening sort here not counting drivers) can attest that there never was a bid for the job and no one was asked if they were interested in addition, there is no physical paper trail for this "60 days". I was quickly told to just drop it and was given the distinct impression that if I did not, that my position with the company would become much more difficult. I have two union stewards, both of whom told me the same thing pretty much, and to just not open a can of worms or else. Both stewards are very good friends with the members of mgmt, which is fine outside of work, but nothing ever gets rectified in our building because of this. This center is the biggest joke I've ever experienced as far as work places go. Employees regularly run around throwing things, shouting extreme obscenities, pulling each other's pants down, and other immature buffoonery. Any ideas of how to fix these problems without martyring myself? I'm considering quitting after 10 years because I loathe the work atmosphere and lack of worker representation. Thank you for reading and your responses.
  2. By The Book

    By The Book Well-Known Member

    Have you contacted the local union and asked to talk to the BA and principal officer about this situation? I would get it all on the table and see what happens, that is if you want to file a grievance and know the company and or local may not like it. I would request they file a grievance if you have the contractual rights to bid this job.
  3. upschuck

    upschuck Well-Known Member

    Grievances need to be filed within 5 business days, or it is considered untimely, and shown out.
  4. PiedmontSteward

    PiedmontSteward RTW-4-Less

    Was the job filled during peak? Not sure about the language under your supplement, but the company (in our area) can put any one (including off the street hires) into a preferred job during peak but that ends on January 1st. That might get around the timeliness aspect of the grievance.

    That being said, your BA needs to be involved. In my opinion, it's not "okay" for a steward to be friends with a manager/supervisor outside of work. It's purely human nature for it to be a lot harder to nail someone's nuts to the wall on something if you go out and get beers with 'em on the weekend.

    Also, there is the possibility of pursuing labor charges against the company. Typically, you need to exhaust the grievance process first but what you described was the epitome of refusing to bargain in good faith.
  5. upschuck

    upschuck Well-Known Member

    He said it happened in September.
  6. cosmo1

    cosmo1 Now, a low life jack wagon, and still loving it.

    Why is it that I feel this guy, Andy whatever, justanumber, that girl (Ms. Starr) and all the rest of the new members coming on and bitching are just one or more trolls just looking for a reaction?
  7. 10 point

    10 point Well-Known Member

    Six months is deadline for NLRB charges.

    May as well get the party started if the local won't help and the company breeched the contract language.

    P.S./ The NLRB will pursue charges without filing a grievance if they find enough evidence to.
  8. greengrenades

    greengrenades To be the man, you gotta beat the man.

    Do everything you can. Do what everyone in here is telling you. Get mad about it, file grievances, call the UPS hotline, don't let this stand. If you lay down on this, or anything they will just keep walking right over you.
  9. serpentor

    serpentor New Member

    Thank you very much for the feedback. I was talking with another higher seniority employee about the goings on at work and he mentioned going by the union hall, but to be wary about possible personal backlash from the mgmt. Sorry to disappoint you cosmo1, but no, I'm not trolling for kicks. Just looking for good information and feedback from anyone who has dealt with similar issues. I currently work for a hub that has appx. 40 routes, 35 part time employees (about 15 on my sort, 20 on the morning sort) 4 pt supervisors, 2 full time, and one center manager. Things are very backwards at this center. A few years ago I sustained a half dozen bouts with heat stroke while on the clock working during the summer, trailer temperature was over 100F for the entire month of August. So I decided to slow down, handle the packages like we are supposed to (one at a time, use a load stand.... normally we are so short staffed it is more productive to grab 2-3 lighter weight boxes off the belt than go back and forth 3 times for 3 identical 5 lb boxes) and I was called to stay after sort after a few days of working properly and at first placated by the (former) center manager about how his team needs his Michael Jordans (another employee also followed suit after getting sick) and after attempting to say well, we are working fair labor for fair pay, he immediately shifted to a stance of how we could be considered as saboteurs of the sort! This is how this place works. If your not part of the club you either work and keep your mouth shut or you will get weeded out of the garden. It totally negates how a union is designed to work. Yes I get my time, and pay is right (most of the time), and benefits.... but what good is the job security when your stewards and mgmt just do whatever they want and give each other kick backs because they are buddies inside and outside of work? And no, these job openings happened prior to peak season. I realize that the time frame in which the fueling job was first an issue is a bit lengthy, and as I mentioned, I am not seeking back pay. I would just like for things to be done correctly for once. I would seek new bids on the job positions, nothing more. Yet by merely hinting at disapproval of my steward's and mgmt's actions is apparently enough for this crowd to make insinuating threats at my job. Note, I am currently ranked number 5 on the seniority list, not counting seasonal hires. Oh, and piedmontsteward, yes thank you. That is ultimately what I would like to expose and usurp is the unethical practices of this center and it's so called stewards. Not for personal gain, but more of a right vs wrong grounds. Sorry, it's just after 5 years of witnessing this crapola and letting this corrupt regime keep me down, if just tired of it. I've considering enrolling in a college class somewhere, anywhere, just to transfer away from this mess. Or outright quitting.... but the thing is, I shouldn't have to and other employees shouldn't deal with this bunk either!
  10. 10 point

    10 point Well-Known Member

    Make your mind up whether you're going to lay down and be miserable all the time you're there or if you're going to stand (alone if necessary) up for yourself and exercise your rights.

    If you choose the latter you must document every conversation, witness(es) to conversations and actions or lack of, and don't back off until they adhere to contract language.

    Play dumb. Be smart. You'll get past the fear factor. Maybe you'll get voted into the steward's position and make a difference for your fellow brothers and sisters.
    • Like Like x 2
    • Agree Agree x 1
    • List
  11. Mike hunt

    Mike hunt Guest

    I would also add to also bring it up in front of the members at the monthly meeting. These kinds of things have to be talked about in front of the membership.
    • Like Like x 1
    • Agree Agree x 1
    • List
  12. UnsurePost

    UnsurePost making the unreadable unreadabler

    Our lead steward is engaged to a woman from HR.
    6 to 1 job openings are cherry-picked to favored employees.
    Hourlies were acting as supervisors during peak.
    Grievances tossed.
    and on and on....Local 25 Boston. Total sham up here in New England. People may want to consider this in the future when Hoffa is gone and you-know-who rides into town.
  13. Ron Carey lives on

    Ron Carey lives on Well-Known Member

    Only one thing bothers me about your post. "The union" I take It you mean your stewards. You are the union, its your contract, its your right to file a grievance. Hang in there

    Sent using BrownCafe App
  14. Overpaid Union Thug

    Overpaid Union Thug Well-Known Member

    Actually the union belongs to those that have the strongest voting base. And that is the hub in each local. As long as the voting base in the hub (or larger hub in locals with multiple hubs) is kept happy the rest of us in the small town extended centers and smaller hubs get the shaft on certain issues. And going to the meetings and calling them out on any such issues (which I have) is a waste of time, gas money, and oxygen. The hub employees don't care about their "brothers" in the outlying buildings unless the issue is mutual. That is why its virtually impossible to get these rogue BAs (or entire locals) to change their ways. Let alone vote them out. And going the NLRB route requires lots and lots of evidence and even more patience.
    • Like Like x 1
    • Agree Agree x 1
    • List
  15. barnyard

    barnyard KTM rider Staff Member

    OP, please learn to break your rambling manifesto into paragraphs.

    Holy crap that is hard to read.
  16. 10 point

    10 point Well-Known Member

    We're patient. Even tho we can't vote out a BA because we don't have the majority of members (UPS votes) we still hold people responsible for their actions or lack thereof.

    We feel your pain but we don't give up easily. We can't.
  17. Overpaid Union Thug

    Overpaid Union Thug Well-Known Member

    The OP's issue isn't exactly what I'm talking about but the behavior of their BA seems to parallel the behavior we see in my area concerning CPU feeder work. When it comes to "normal" issues such as over 9.5 grievances, seniority violations, etc. I guess they are pretty reliable. But for CPU work they "can't do anything to help us." I think the problem in my local is that the extended centers have been getting screwed by the hub for so long that it has become the norm. The union hall is usually made up of reps that came from the hub and even when someone from an outlying building manages to get elected they end up having to continue the same politics and worry about their voting base in the large hub at the expense of the smaller buildings. And many that want to fight this don't know how or don't have the backing to to so successfully.

    Extended centers taking on a union hall takes 100 times the effort as the employees in a hub would have to put forth. All they have to do is get fed up and vote them out whereas the smaller buildings have to go the NLRB route and that is not that easy. In my local there aren't enough people in the extended centers to outvote the hub. The hub in my local will keep voting for those people because they look out for them on that issue even though everyone knows they should favor the extended centers. They seem to have no problem with benefiting from double standards. And that is apparent in their reactions in general membership meetings when the lone "brother" from an extended center stands up can calls the local reps out on this type of BS. I know because I have experienced that scenario.

    I guess the real problem here (when it comes to combatting administrations like these) is member apathy and/or ignorance. Those of us in the outlying building often feel like we have two entities working against us....UPS and the Local. And one of those is supposed to be helping us. Anytime I hear about a BA ANYWHERE that refuses to help those that they represent it just makes my blood boil.

    Man, this crap is worse than Beltway Politics.
  18. 10 point

    10 point Well-Known Member

    I thought only we were special.

    I could fill a book with stories that our panel folks would not (hopefully not) believe.

    It's an extremely frustrating position to be in and we fully understand. :bsbullf: is the only way to describe it.
  19. Overpaid Union Thug

    Overpaid Union Thug Well-Known Member

    Yep. Its frustrating when you, as well as other people in the local, lose grievances for the hub doing CPU work in the extended centers' areas only to go to one of the monthly local meetings and hear the hub's BA say that one building isn't allowed to make CPU pickups in another area. I guess the hub BA didn't know that the person that enquired about the issue was from one of those extended centers and that people from various other extended centers were also in attendance. OOPS! LOL!

    But putting our various building's own problems aside......the locals are required to represent EVERYONE fairly and equally and it's just not happening. None of us should be denied that REQUIRED equal and fair protection regardless of the political consequences to the BAs or whether or not they think the case is worth pursuing.
    Last edited: Jan 1, 2015
  20. 10 point

    10 point Well-Known Member

    It takes guts to keep chopping at the tree.

    Those issues poison honest members attitudes.