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).

Increased Penalties for Harassment - Article 37, Section 1(b)

The new contract increases the maximum pay for harassment to five times a member’s daily guarantee. That’s a week’s pay without overtime.

Our union won landmark victories at the national grievance panel, winning penalty pay on harassment grievances for the first time.

Dallas Local 767 members won multiple financial penalties in front of the National Article 37 Committee against a center manager with a reputation for harassment, who issued more than 1,000 notices of discipline in an 87-member center.

New York Local 804 members also won financial penalties on three harassment grievances, including one that involved a supervisor who made violent sexual remarks about the mother of another employee.

Harassment is a daily problem at UPS. The key to winning grievances and the higher penalty is to document a pattern of egregious behavior. It is much tougher to win a grievance based on a single incident.

Focus on the supervisors and managers who are the serial worst offenders. Work as a group to file grievances against them and build your case.

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.