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Dont Ship UPS

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Fuckin' A, Saturday [17 Mar 2007|10:45am]
[ mood | grumpy ]

So I don't work Saturdays and UPS is closed Sundays, so wahoo for that.

However, there are people that do work Saturdays. Namely, DRIVERS.

You know those guys in the snappy brown uniforms with the big brown trucks and they wear UPS socks? For today's blather, I'm going to list a few quick factoids about UPS drivers (the ones that I have worked with and heard stories about as well as witnessed myself).
- A buddy of mine was leaving for work and he saw a driver walking over to his apartment building. The driver looked all around and seemed to have found the right apartment, because instead of taking a box into the building and up two flights of stairs, he chucked it as hard as he could to get it onto the balcony. He missed 4 times before it landed up there.
- Drivers don't want to be working anymore than anyone else, so naturally they knock once or sometimes not at all and drop a note and continue on their route. Sometimes this is due to their own tight schedule and being late, but most of the time they just don't give a fuck.
- UPS drivers are responsible for some of the most high priced thefts ever. We had a string of laptop disappearances (IBM contract hello) for about 5 months before they figured out the scam. A group of people working in the hub were putting their own custom labels on boxes so they would be processed to another location. Drivers would then go pick up the boxes after work hours or maybe on their way to another stop on their route and then sell the laptops or keep them or whatever they did with them. The laptops were not recovered and only three people were busted, even though many more were likely involved.
- Drivers help each other steal (this may seem obvious, but I've overheard them talking about glorious acts of theft in the locker-room whilst taking a piss) and they plan it ahead of time.
- Drivers are the guys stealing large and expensive boxes. Employees have to figure out how to beat a metal detector and a guard with a wand.

Theft happens and most of these guys have been here long enough that they know exactly how to get away with it most of the time.

Since tomorrow is a non-working day, I'll likely talk about the security guards responsible for making sure people don't steal things from the Hub!

SCARY UPS FACT OF THE DAY
Large cases of candy come through the operation pretty frequently, and especially before a major holiday. These are meant for stores to stock and then sell individually. One such case of candy was smashed open by an employee and then pilfered and THEN it made its way to the belt supervisor's area. The box of candy (I'm pretty sure it was Jolly Ranchers) sat open and available for the remainder of the night, as many employees and supervisors as well as MANAGEMENT (guys in nice suits and ties who don't usually work in the Hub) were taking whatever they wished from the box. It was a case of 8 boxes of large bags of Jolly Ranchers and it was empty by the end of the night. Sometimes when stealing happens, nobody cares and everybody is in on it.

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Every rose has its thorn [16 Mar 2007|10:06pm]
[ mood | tired ]

UPS has one of the highest turnover rates of any entry-level job in the country. The work is tough and it takes a stout heart (and back) to suffer through it and come back for more each night.

This is both good and bad.

Good for people that need jobs, because jobs are constantly becoming available.

Bad for people that already have the job, because losing a worker in your work area causes productivity to suffer. Remember the chain?

Tonight I'm going to talk about rain and what it means for your boxes.

When it rains, some people take precautions. Such as wrapping contents in plastic, or extra tape on the outer carton. Boxes get wet, and when they get wet inside the facility it makes it easier to pilfer the contents. Rather than re-wrap (repackage) the box, most of the time it will be shuffled along and processed. The proper procedure is to put the contents in a new carton and reseal/package it. I see this ignored far too much.

Tonight was a rough night. One of those nights where you think about quitting. You think about quitting so much it starts to become a good idea. The only thing that keeps me going is the thought that if I quit, I won't have my health insurance or my college reimbursement and I won't make nearly as much money at another job, since I've been with UPS for so long. It's somewhat of a double-edged sword, and you learn to deal with it I suppose.

SCARY UPS FACT OF THE NIGHT
I have witnessed an employee defecating into an open box while in a truck (supposed to be working, but obviously was working on the wrong thing) before. He was terminated immediately, but admitted to having done that at least two times before without being caught.

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So I was thinking [16 Mar 2007|12:10am]
[ mood | exhausted ]

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.

PROS
- 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.
CONS
- 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.

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And we're back [15 Mar 2007|11:08am]
[ mood | thoughtful ]

Now that I'm awake and more clear-headed, I just wanted to throw out some more information on the direction I want to take this blog and some of my motivators.

I see boxes treated like shit every night. Easily hundreds. I see employees throwing boxes, kicking boxes, even purposely breaking open boxes and rifling through the contents. I've reported several incidents with no resolution. It doesn't seem to matter to the people who run the Hub. I just hate seeing boxes that customers put into the system be destroyed that way. People trust the company to ship safely and securely. I know everyone has their own bad and good experience with UPS, but sometimes, your package will come to you after having been opened, picked through and then repackaged, and SOMETIMES you wouldn't ever know.

I have a problem with the "veil" UPS uses to shroud the reality of the job in its long-term stages from new-hires. I have a problem with a lot of the things that go on that I don't think are fair to customers or employees.

I want to post pictures of damaged boxes. I want to post videos of employees kicking holes in boxes and shoving their hands in up to the elbows, feeling around for something to grab and yank out. I wish I had pictorial evidence of this:

A box came down my belt (as they usually do) and was split wide open. I saw that the label was hand-addressed. There was a note written on the box's exterior (which is probably why it was destroyed and nearly empty by the time it got to me) that said "We miss you [girl's name]! Hope you're having a good semester and maybe this will help make things feel more like home. Love, Grandma". Now, this box was destroyed and barely holding the contents. The top was split open and two of the corner spines had been split down to the base. Things like clothing, packaged food, a photo album, several loose pieces of candy and a demolished tin were shuffling along. I grabbed it off my belt and put it down my rerun slide after noting all the damage and apparent loss. The tin obviously had either cookies or brownies in it, and was beat up real bad and missing everything but crumbs. No evidence of it on the belts further up, it was most likely ingested immediately by several people sharing in the act.

I was speechless. My supervisor merely taped it back up, ignoring the proper procedure for things like this, and put the box into the truck it was to be loaded into. He instructed the loader "don't scan it, it's been damaged and if you scan it it'll come back on you". Things like that really make me want to make sure that everyone knows about it. That's something that doesn't deserve to be kept a secret by management or employees.

I know individuals may not have had a string of bad experiences. I know plenty of people probably think "UPS is just fine, they never mess up my package". That's the wrong attitude to have. It doesn't have to happen to everyone to make it a problem, does it? Unfortunately for most people, that's the case. UPS is fine and dandy until you have a bad experience, then you start thinking that maybe UPS sucks just a little more. Maybe you'll ship UPS for the rest of your shipping life and never have a bad experience. I hope so. However, it happens, to a variety of people, and the fact that most of the time it is not the fault of machinery or high volume loads, but rather the employees who are responsible for treating your package right, makes it much more important for people to know about.

SCARY UPS FACT OF THE MORNING
Feeders (flatbed trucks full of boxes to be unloaded, sorted and the loaded) come to our facility smelling like urine on occasion. I found out about 8 months ago that what happens, is loaders from the previous facility had been urinating in the trucks instead of leaving to use the bathroom. I've sorted several boxes that reeked of urine myself. I never stop thanking myself for wearing gloves while I work.

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The UPS Truth Blog is officially open! [15 Mar 2007|12:31am]
[ mood | tired ]

Since it is very late and I am very tired I just wanted to make a few things clear before I start this blog:
1 - UPS is a business. They make their money from contracts to ship for large companies (IBM, Cooper Tools and QVC to name a few) and do not profit enough to care enough from individual shipping. Your care package for your daughter away at college will be plundered and whatever isn't edible or valuable will be trashed and it does not mean <b>ANYTHING</b> to UPS as a company.

2 - UPS runs because of the employees. Not all of them are jerks, but nobody cares about the few honest Joes supporting their families or paying their own way through college, so this blog will focus chiefly on the things consumers don't generally know or hear the truth about.

3 - UPS gives many people jobs and many people deserve them. Quite a few people do not, but unfortunately it is impossible to weed out every bad apple in the bunch.

4 - The Teamster's Union as a whole may present itself one way, but if you want to know the truth of the Unions and their purposes then look to the local chapters. The actions of one or two "bad guys" (Jimmy Hoffa?) do not necessarily dictate the behavior of others. My local chapter is very honest and hardworking and fights for the rights of the employees. I would not have gotten the backpay I deserved or my vacation time or my health benefits or my tuition reimbursement OR won my worker's comp claim without the help and support of the Teamster's Union.

5 - I will not tolerate any misconduct in this blog. If you spam, flame or generally annoy me, you will be blocked. I will start screening comments if necessary. Users are free to comment and express opinions (even if they are not agreeing with my own) as long as they do so politely and diplomatically.

6 - Everything I put here is the unedited/unembellished truth. A great deal of my knowledge and facts and stories come from a single facility in the United States. I am keeping names and identifying characteristics anonymous to protect myself and my fellow employees (I report people that break rules or damage your goods, but I am not willing to put the jobs of many good honest employees at stake) as well as to prevent any hasty or reckless action against the facility I work at. I am not the only person feeding and housing myself through UPS.

SCARY UPS FACT OF THE NIGHT/DAY
Your parcel is handled by no less than 10 different people each time it makes a stop. These people blow their noses on their hands, cough into their hands and generally touch no less than 30 surfaces that are likely to be contaminated with germs of many kinds from many people. WASH YOUR FUCKING HANDS AFTER YOU OPEN YOUR PACKAGE AND PROPERLY DISPOSE OF THE BOX.

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