What do you like about the Union?

Discussion in 'UPS Partners' started by hypocrisy, Jan 30, 2012.

  1. hypocrisy

    hypocrisy Banned

    We suck! We're bullies, thugs, lazy, good-for-nothings, malingerers, mobsters, stupid, whiners, cry-babies, uneducated, know-it-alls, insubordinate, two-headed asses (my personal favorite), and jerks. Did I miss anything?

    OK now that we got that out, what do you like about the bargaining unit working under a Union contract?
    What do we do well?
    Do you like the fact that there is structured discipline?
    That we can't ask for raises?
    That seniority can solve many issues?
    That the rules are there for you to turn to when you need guidance?
    That the vacation/sick/option/funeral/holidays are spelled out and usually get you the day off too?
    That the contract keeps you from doing the grunt work? (or that it's supposed to)
    Do you use the Union to get your employees to work together more/produce more?
    Do you use the Steward to 'help' problem employees get on the right path?
    When something unpopular comes down, such as being forced to deliver the Saturday before Christmas, do you welcome language like Article 40 that lets you point the finger elsewhere?
    Have you used any part of the contract to get what you needed from corporate?

    Share some stories where the Union and/or the Contract helped you as a Supervisor or Manager.

    Flame away, but I look forward to some honest responses.
    Lasted edited by : Jan 30, 2012
  2. hypocrisy

    hypocrisy Banned

    Thanks Upstate, but I was kind of looking for responses from Management which is why I posted this in the Partners section.

    If anyone would rather not break ranks and post, PM's would be kept confidential.
  3. beentheredonethat

    beentheredonethat Well-Known Member

    The good. Overall the union workforce we employ do a very good job. (esp the drivers). The bad, for that small percent, (<2%) the union spends lots of time working to protect them when they should be dismissed. They give a black eye to the union and to UPS overall.
  4. hypocrisy

    hypocrisy Banned

    Yes I have had my share of 2%'ers that seemed to work the system and were always on the verge of being fired. When it comes right down to it you have to do the job. Sadly, they usually could have been fired long ago if the Company had been persistent and followed the process. It's a lot easier to represent someone who you know is being wronged than someone just playing the game.
  5. curiousbrain

    curiousbrain Well-Known Member

    I like that, even in my low "management" position, I can subtly use the contract to deflect extremely ridiculous demands from the higher ups; I will never actually tell them that I won't instruct people to work as directed, but let's just say that having the occasional shield benefits me as well as them. There is a synergy to be had, if used sparingly and properly.

    Most people do many things very well; a few do everything very badly - even worse, a subset of the few do everything very badly and freely admit that they don't care, don't want to do anything, and that there is nothing you can do. That casts a large shadow over the rest who generally perform above and beyond what the average person can do.

    I, for one, do; I like the fact that there is a well-defined, clear path of discipline. When dealing with a reasonable employee who had a bad day, or made some mistakes, I can say something to the effect of: this is what happened to cause this discipline, this is what this discipline means for you long term, and here is the real impact of this discipline. If the employee doesn't give a crap and has a history of absenteeism or whatever, I can paint it in a different light such that this is their second warning letter, blah blah blah.

    It makes my life easier, which is a negligible benefit because I will deal with it regardless, but especially for those who care about their job and made honest mistakes, it allows me to soften the blow and deflect some of the vitriol that may be spewing out of the back office(s) with the reality that a verbal warning doesn't mean jack (in their case).

    I actually wish I could push for raises for some employees - for the simple reason that I don't just feel that some do more than others, I know that some do more than others and they deserve something very tangible. On this point, I understand Upstate's concern about promoting mediocrity, and somewhat sympathize with it - if the compensation is the same across the board, then there is little incentive (beyond pride in doing a good job, etc) to perform at a level beyond the minimum acceptable standards.

    That being said, I oscillate between disliking the Union for the aforementioned reason, and not really minding the Union because I am not in it anymore. And, when I was, on some days it really bothered me to kill myself and then watch someone push carts or whatever and make the same as I did.

    See the previous section; sometimes I dislike the issue of seniority, other times I don't mind. Also, generally speaking, the folks with the most seniority will do a great job because they know all the tips and tricks that only comes with experience; however, I would like it if the guy who had a new wife and kid could maybe do the extra hour of work pre-shift because that hour might be the difference between paying the electric bill or not.

    See the "structured discipline" part.

    I understand the benefit, but if I had to work on the handful of days per year "we" get off, it would not bother me either way - granted, I understand that as someone with very little immediate family and no significant other or dependents, I am in the minority. Most people have such things, and they want time with their family - I understand that, and agree that they should have defined times when they don't have to work.

    This is a tricky one for me.

    I don't want to steal labor from anyone; I really don't. However (and you knew there was going to be a "however), I will not watch a small egress issue spiral out of control into a full-blown pile of boxes; furthermore, I cannot watch a person doing their best, sweat pouring off their face, and simply stand there and watch them - that is not who I am. So, file on me if you must - I will clear egress and load a truck until the flow calms down and this person is not buried.

    Maybe things work differently elsewhere, but when the flow really gets crazy in the building where I am employed, a preloader can barely walk between their three cars because there is crap being pushed off the belt - over 70's, ten foot boxes, pottery barn, everything. At the end of the belt (it is not circular, no recycle belt, etc), things stack up until they start getting thrown off the belt and then it is just a free for all until the unload decides "OK, we have done enough for the first hour". Then, we clean up on the belts, and they decide to hit their numbers for the second hour.

    So, with that situation in mind, sometimes I work all day because there is a continual egress issue for hours at a time. On the other hand, if the flow is calm and manageable, I will not load a box. I will actually process missorts in a timely fashion, do any lookups, and other things.

    Not really; I use the fact that they all do an incredibly physical job, and if you happen to be light and some one else is blown out, go help them because you are a human being and they deserve it. If that is what it means to be in a Union, then great - but that is a secondary benefit, not the primary one.

    Any verbal warning that is not of an immediate nature (such as "stop throwing boxes at 60mph" or whatever), is done in the presence of the steward because of the benefits it provides - both for me (as the low-rung representative of management, anything [including the presence of the steward] helps me out) and for them (in case they ever have to defend their case, it benefits them because the steward can say "I was there" or what not).

    This might not be surprising, but UPS doesn't train me in the contract; don't know what Article 40 is. In an unpopular situation, though, if the "command" is entirely unavoidable and yet it falls to me to deliver it for some strange reason, I generally preface it with something akin to "... you know, I work as directed just like you do ..." Does it stink of CYA? Maybe a little; but it also allows me to add some comments that basically say "Look, I know this is bull:censored2::censored2::censored2::censored2: just like you do, but I have to do this."

    No; or, never tried, rather. If I thought I could, and it was something that could benefit me, the building where I am employed, or those whom I supervise, I might. I would think long and hard about it before I tried to smack corporate over the head with the contract that I'm not really covered under, though.

    An employee, or more importantly, a friend, was having some problems with his dog - thought he may have had to put it down. I caught wind of it, and broached the conversation with him. I laid it out for him pretty simply: if you have to put the dog down, take the next day off, no questions asked; I will tell the "boss" to eat :censored2::censored2::censored2::censored2::censored2:, that you told me beforehand it was a discretionary day, and nothing will go on your file. I shook his hand, and walked away.

    That is not strictly a contract benefit, but I knew that even if the bosses flipped out, I could simply point to the contract and despite all their pissing and moaning, nothing would happen.
  6. hypocrisy

    hypocrisy Banned

    Brownbaggin, I'm on vacation but I wanted to check in and thank you for taking the time to respond so thoroughly to my questions. I appreciated many of the things you had to say. A couple of thoughts:

    - the pay: UPS used to have a decent Incentive program that rewarded those go-getter Drivers and I think I recall there being one in the part-time when I first started. It's unfortunate that they have more or less done away with it, although the argument against it was you were trading overtime for straight time.

    -I appreciate your concern for egress and wish it was contagious. If you were simply clearing an aisle, I would not file on you. Unfortunately, most don't stop at just clearing the egress and sometimes the Big Picture is that there are other factors creating the egress issue such as cramming the sort into too short of a time. The egress thing did shock me a bit as I can't seem to get supervisors in my building to stop working no matter how many grievances I file but they will not do anything to clear egress.

    - I knew that UPS doesn't train you in the Contract, and in my area only center manager's have a copy. It's unfortunate as if they did it could resolve a lot of issues (on our side too as I spend most of my time educating members who say "It says this!" and I have to say "Yes, but you have to read this and this and know that the intent was this to know you are completely wrong". I don't know what they do in supervisor school but it always seemed like I spent a lot of time reprogramming on-roads in package when they came back. They may not teach the Contract but they sure taught them how to violate it.

    -Oftentimes I would have on-roads 'suggest' I file a grievance for such and such supervisors who took out routes on certain days while drivers weren't called in. Those kind of relationships helped them when they needed a 'break' and would help stop them from having to deliver when they really just wanted to manage people.

    Thanks again,

  7. Monkey Butt

    Monkey Butt Dark Prince of Double Standards Staff Member

    Let's try it again.

    I did ask the steward to advise employees "with an attitude" to explain the facts of life when it came to observable and documentable behavior.
    It usually got their attention.
  8. tarbar66

    tarbar66 Active Member

    Many times a good steward's "Come to Jesus talk" would change an attitude that management couldn't seem to correct with progressive discipline.