I realized that I don't have a direct purpose for this blog other than to spread information and what I feel like the majority of people in the united states don't know about UPS.
I'm not trying to take down the company. I don't want to get anyone fired. I just want to share what goes on behind closed doors and is kept hidden from many people. Sure folks talk about how "workers steal" and "boxes get damaged" but when is the last time you heard it from the horse's mouth?
I started thinking "man, I should have a direction or something". I think instead of laying out a plan, I'm just going to keep sharing my stories and eventually pictures(when my new phone arrives since the camera on my current phone does not work properly) and possibly video. My co-workers are jaded to the things we see and do every night in that place. They don't care that they are damaging customer goods and causing real people real trouble in their real lives. I know It would really mess me up if I hadn't seen my family in months because I was overseas and they shipped me a care package that arrived torn apart and re-taped like a frankenstein box complete with missing innards.
However, the stress UPS puts out is not solely on the unfortunate customer. A major and more direct victim is the common everyday part-time employee. Myself for example. My co-workers. We all get smashed between a hammer and anvil every night and we have meager earnings and a crappy health plan to show for it. I'm not going to lie and say the benefits aren't worth it, they are. They are the only reason I'm still there. However, it's still not quite fair for what we go through. Not to mention things like favoritism and personal bias affecting whether or not you get a promotion. Forget your qualifications, if you piss off the wrong person then you're fucked out of that upgrade. I understand many jobs can be that way, so let's talk about an experience unique to UPS (or other fast-paced hard labor jobs really).
The Hub is like a chain. That chain is made up of links which run all through the building. Twisting and turning, wrapping around and doubling over. If one link in that chain fails, everything can come apart very quickly if someone doesn't jump on it with an arc welding torch.
Imagine the following:
- You're working in your area, perhaps you're loading a truck or two.
- The boxes start piling up, because they're coming at you so fast. You can barely keep up with the flow!
- The boxes continue to come and the speed remains constant. It starts to overwhelm the pickoff sorting them out to your trucks and he begins to make mistakes.
- You start making mistakes, scanning the wrong box because you are moving so quickly. You tear out a clump of hair as you remove the package from your scanner log and throw it angrily out of your truck, which is filling with boxes.
- The pickoff is shouting the names of trucks all around you, each of them backing out, boxes piling up everywhere, and there's no way you can get them all pulled in.
- It keeps coming, the pace is constant and you're sweating your face salty.
- More yelling, you start to realize that your work area is going under. The main belt is backing up into the sort aisle and it starts to shut down the entire operation.
- You have no choice but to keep working, hard as you can. Sweat filling your eyes.
- Supervisors and Managers from all over the building start to buzz around your work area, trying to get your belt caught up so it doesn't shut down the entire hub.
- Your back is aching, your arms and shoulders loose to the point of failure. You're doing your best, but your work area is still falling behind.
Then it happens.
Someone who decided they just couldn't take it anymore walks out.
Now you're really fucked. Somebody got so overwhelmed that they just up and left! Now not only are you even more short-handed, you're gonna be that way for the next few days until they can hire someone new, train them and install them in your work area.
Oh and you thought you were gonna be out of there by x:xx? Forget it. You and everyone else in your work area will most likely remain at least an additional hour after the planned down-time, because a link in the chain broke and the damage was localized to your work area, even though the problem may have originated much further up the chain.
Now, it's not always terrible to stay later and get more hours, so let's do some pros and cons.
- More hours means more money, since you are paid by the hour.
- Actually that's pretty much the only Pro to staying later than you'd normally have to.
- Staying later might fuck up your evening schedule.
- It really wears on your patience when you're told down-time is around 8 and you leave around 11.
- Frustration builds with every employee you see leaving before you.
- Your workload increases, since your pickoff couldn't sort everything accurately and there are boxes that go to one end of the belt all the way on the other end and instead of letting it ride a conveyor to its destination you have to carry it.
Workers in UPS Hubs and Centers work hard. Real hard. You know how much they start out at my Hub? 8.50 an hour. Now think about getting 3.5 hours a night. Now think about all the shit you put up with for 8.50. Now think about no benefits until 5 months employment.
SCARY UPS FACT OF THE NIGHT
We ship horse semen. I saw a container of it broken open once. It was on top of a pile of boxes. They were not wiped or cleaned in any manner before being processed. That shit smells so fucking bad.