Fighting Harassment

The heat is always on drivers to work faster and faster.

UPS management is constantly adding stops to routes, and pushing package car drivers to increase production.

UPS’s new technology makes the problem of harassment worse.

With telematics, management can monitor drivers more than ever. Every day is a potential electronic OJS.

The best way to protect yourself is to follow UPS’s methods. (Click here to download UPS’s methods).

Don’t Let Harassment Turn You into a Runner

There are plenty of reasons why some package car drivers take shortcuts: getting in early to see their family, keeping customers happy, avoiding hassles with management. But running can get you into trouble:

Management will always come back for more. They’ll add stops to your route and expect you to work faster and faster.

If you have an injury, you won’t be able to keep up your old pace. But management will still expect the same production from you.

Rushing can lead to mistakes and accidents. Management will use runners to their benefit, but they won’t cover for these mistakes.

Work Safe & Smart

Do what the methods say to do and focus on keeping a safe, even pace. Don’t take shortcuts.

Take your breaks at the appropriate times. Obey the posted speed limits.

Follow the methods every day—whether or not management is breathing down your neck. Then they become second nature.

Dealing with Harassment in the Office

Following UPS’s methods is the best way to protect your job and your safety. But management may not be happy with your numbers.

If management calls you into the office to talk about your work performance, be sure to bring a steward.

Answer management’s questions with clear simple answers. If they start asking you about something that happened days ago and you don’t know or don’t remember the answer to a question, just say so. Never make up an answer.

Management’s main purpose in these meetings is to intimidate you, and put pressure on you to push yourself too fast.

Keep your cool, listen to what management has to say but don’t let them get under your skin.

Then go out there and do your job right. Work safe and smart at a sustainable pace and protect your career at UPS.

Protecting Yourself from Harassment

Harassment isn’t an accident at UPS. It’s a strategy, called "management-by-stress."

The company uses harassment to try to intimidate us into working faster. Sometimes, they’re trying to provoke you into losing your temper. In extreme cases, they’ll try to harass workers into quitting.

TDU asked experienced package car stewards for suggestions on how Teamsters can protect themselves from harassment at UPS. Here were their top 10 tips.

1. Don’t Make it Easy for Management. You know the cardinal sins. Don’t commit them. Take your breaks and lunch according to the contract. Sheet every package in your truck and do it accurately. Make sure to be at the customer's address when making DIAD entries. Don’t turn late Air or a missed package into a dishonesty issue. If management is coming after you, don’t make it easy for them.

2. Don't Overreact. Supervisors use harassment as a strategy to get results. If it’s not working, they’ll stop wasting their time on you. Try not to let management get under your skin—and never let them know it when they do. If management knows what bothers you, they’ll double down on it. If you turn into a runner after you get called into the office, you’re teaching your manager that harassment works. Work safe and smart. Practice following the methods every day.

3. Be Cool In the Office. If you get called into the office, always bring your steward. Management’s goal in the office is to pressure you, get a rise out of you, or fish for information. Be smart. Answer management’s questions with clear, simple answers. Whether they’re fishing or trying to goad you into reacting, don’t take the bait. Keep your cool and never make up an answer. If you don’t know or don’t remember, just say so. When you leave the office, document what happened while it’s still fresh in your mind.

4. Put the Problems Back on Management. Inform management of unusual situations that come up. Send a DIAD message if there's a problem with your Air, if you need help with your pickups, or if you will have missed pieces. Don’t take shortcuts or count on supervision to always look the other way. Put the problems back on management and work as directed. If you suspect something you have the right to have your diad messages printed for your records.

5. Don’t Let Them Dirty Up Your Record. If you get a warning letter or other discipline, grieve it right away. If you get in more trouble later, a grievance panel or an arbitrator will hold it against you if you haven't challenged previous warnings.

6. Document Everything. Document your day with a Package Car Log Book [link], a notebook that fits in your pocket or on your smart phone. Keep track of your stops, pick-ups and any circumstances that affect your production, like being sent off route, changes in your work, construction, bad traffic, etc. Use your smart phone to take pictures of DIAD messages or summary screens for documentation. Management is less likely to pick on the drivers who keep track of their days. When they know you’re prepared for them, they tend to leave you alone.

7. Track Management & Use that Smart Phone. If a supervisor gives you an instruction that violates the methods, make a record of it. If you get an inappropriate message on your DIAD board, take a photo and save it.

8. File Harassment Grievances. If management is trying to build a case against you, you need to build a case of your own. If you’re being targeted by management, it’s too late to fly under the radar. File grievances and build a paper trail. Especially useful are well-documented, clear instances of harassment, discrimination, or instructions that violate UPS’s own policies and procedures. Include in your remedy that you want a record of the incident to be retained in your personnel file.

9. Back Up Your Grievances. with Information Requests. Article 4 requires the company, upon request, to provide the local union or designated shop steward with documents and information that is “reasonably related” to a pending grievance. Managers that issue frivolous warning letters are sending the message that they love paperwork. So put them to work producing more of it for the union's grievance investigation.

10. Strength in Numbers. If you're being harassed, odds are you're not the only one. Talk to your steward or other drivers and work together. If you see a driver who's feeling the heat, help them out before they get to the breaking point. Teamsters are stronger standing up to harassment when we work together.

Know Your 9.5 Rights

Our union contract includes language to help package drivers enforce their 9.5 rights against unwanted excessive overtime.

Enforcement pays off. Members can win penalty pay at triple time for excessive dispatch and get their loads adjusted.

Here’s a step-by-step guide for enforcing your 9.5 rights.

Get On the 9.5 List

The first step is to get on the 9.5 list which is distributed twice a year and lasts for five months each time.

If you did not put your name on the new 9.5 list by the June 5, 2022 deadline, that’s no problem.

Just fill out a 9.5 List Opt-In Request Form to get on the 9.5 list.

Filing 9.5 Grievances

Once you are on the 9.5 list, you should file a 9.5 grievance whenever you are over-dispatched and work more than 9.5 hours on three days in a work week.

Depending on the circumstances, a 9.5 grievance can be settled by management paying triple time pay for your hours worked over 9.5 or management adjusting your load.

If management refuses to resolve the grievance, it can be taken to the next step which is the grievance panel.

Management frequently stonewalls and delays to try to frustrate drivers out of filing 9.5 grievances. Stick with it. Eventually, you will get your penalty pay.

Protect Yourself on an OJS

Protect yourself when management gets on your truck, whether it’s a one-day production ride or a three-day OJS.

Use TDU's new online tool to document your OJS or one-day ride so you have the records you need if the company tries to harass or discipline you for production.

Complete the OJS Checklist online and then save a PDF for your records. Or download the checklist to fill out by hand.

ON YOUR OJS, REMEMBER TO:

Do your complete pre-trip and post-trip inspections.

Completely stretch after your first delivery stop and at the end of your meal period.

Keep your same routine as normal. Work at a safe, sustainable pace. Don’t rush or take shortcuts.

Follow all UPS delivery methods, including:

  • Follow the posted speed limit at all times, including on UPS property and in other parking lots.
  • Wear your seatbelt and use three points of contact when entering or exiting the vehicle.
  • Use proper body mechanics when lifting. Get close to the package. Bend with the knees.
  • Back up only when necessary. Scan and size up the area before backing. If in doubt, get out and look. Tap your horn repeatedly to signal your intentions.
  • Walk on walkways and driveways in residential areas. Don’t cut across the grass. Cutting across the grass is against UPS safety methods.
  • Send messages on the DIAD as you normally would.

Don’t allow management to help you. Holding doors, assisting in carrying packages or loading a handtruck, helping you find packages in the back, and giving directions on how to deliver the route are easy ways management tries to speed you up.

Don’t take shortcuts from your normal routine that will artificially inflate your SPORH.

Your Rights on an OJS

You have the right to use the bathroom when you need to, just like on any other day. Don’t let the supervisor discourage you from using the bathroom or try to limit you from going only on break time.

You have the right to get a drink if you’re thirsty. Follow UPS methods on “cool solutions” to stay hydrated.

You have the right to work safely, without distractions. If the supervisor talks to you while you’re driving you have the right to inform him that his actions are distracting and therefore unsafe to yourself and the general public.

If the supervisor walks on your heels, you have the right to stop and respectfully communicate that you are working with urgency and purpose but also need space to perform your job safely.

If the supervisor handles packages, opens doors, or assists you in any way, then the OJS cannot be used in determining a fair day’s work. Take notes if this occurs.

You have the right to choose your meal time, as long as you take it during the designated period defined by your supplement.

You have the right to work free of harassment. If over-supervised or harassed, document it.

Make UPS Pay for Supervisors Working Violations

Supervisors aren’t helping us when they do bargaining unit work. They’re taking money out of our wallets. Members lose out on the opportunity to work extra hours—even overtime.

The contract says management has to pay members who file a grievance double-time pay for supervisors working violations.

This article will help you stop supervisors working and make UPS pay for violations.

Step One: Talk to the Supervisor Who’s Working.

When you see a supervisor working, the first step is to ask them why.

On the grievance form, write down the name of the supervisor or manager who was talked to about the violation.

Usually supervisors will make an excuse about why they’re working (someone has gone to the bathroom, or absenteeism.) Whatever the excuse is, write it down so we have a record and they can’t change their argument later.

Step Two: Offer to Do the Work.

Ask the supervisor to be able to do the work or ask the supervisor to leave it so that you, or the most senior union employee who wants the work, can do it later.

Write down what the supervisor says, so we have a record if they refuse to give the work to a union employee. (Note: Write your notes off the clock.)

Step Three: Document the Violation

To win the grievance, we need a record of the basic facts. Documenting a sups working violation is not hard. Just make sure to include the five W’s:

  • Who was working?
  • What work were they doing?
  • Where were they doing it? (Which box line or work area etc.)
  • When did they start working and when did they stop? Including starting and stop time will give management less wiggle room to debate how long the supervisor worked.
  • Witnesses, if any. Witnesses aren’t required but having them strengthens your case.

Once you’ve documented these facts, talk to your steward about filing a grievance.

If you’re nervous about filing a grievance yourself, talk to your steward or business agent about filing the grievance on your behalf.

Can This Work?

Members are making UPS pay for violating the contract by filing grievances and winning thousands of dollars in penalty pay.

Working together is the best way to succeed. Work with other members, stewards, and your business agent. When more members are filing, you’re more likely to tackle the problem.

What Does the Contract Say?

Article 3, Section 7 of the National Contract says that the company shall not “send any employee home and then have such employee’s work performed by a supervisor” and that the company must “maintain a sufficient workforce to staff its operations with bargaining unit employees.” (Article 3, Section 7—National Contract)

If you see a supervisor working, make a note of any members who were sent home early. That information will make it harder for UPS to blame absenteeism for the fact that supervisors were doing our work.

Article 3, Section 7 also says that the company shall “exhaust all established local practices to first use bargaining unit employees including double shifting, early call-in and overtime.”

If management did not ask members to double shift, come in early or work overtime, then they don’t have an excuse for supervisors working.

Special Note: An improvement to Article 3.7 in the 2018 contract was triple time pay after a supervisor was found in violation of the article 3 times in a 9 month period. It is incumbent on us to keep track of how many times a supervisor has worked in the past. This is another reason why note-taking is important.