Meet ORION: Telematics on Steroids

January 3, 2014: ORION takes more decision-making out of the hands of drivers and gives management another tool to harass UPS Teamsters.

UPS is implementing new technology, the Orion Solution. It’s telematics on steroids.

ORION takes EDD and makes it dynamic. Your package car is still loaded according to the PAS system. But ORION rearranges your EDD to tell you where to  deliver and do pick-ups stop-by-stop based on the shortest mileage for the day.

As a result, you may never run your route the same way twice.

You might be told to deliver packages from you 8000 section before your 1000 one day and be told to do it a completely different way the next day.

Drivers report the kind of high jinks that come whenever UPS first introduces new technology.  For example: being told to deliver on both sides of streets even if it’s a divided road that can’t be crossed or ORION directing you to a location that’s the wrong-way down a one-way street because it is the next closest stop in terms of raw mileage.

Some of these kinks will be ironed out over time. But ORION can never account for weather, closed roads, traffic, accidents, and other real-world conditions, including the fact that on many routes the driver has to get some bulk stops off early or they have no hope of being able to move in the truck.

If need be, drivers can break trace. But the company target is to have drivers on 85 percent trace.

ORION gives new powers to a company that is already abusing technology to monitor, harass, pressure, and discipline drivers.

Like Telematics, ORION gives a target time for each delivery. It also calculates how many miles you should drive each day based on the packages on your trucks.

Drivers who follow trace less than 85 percent of the time or who drive more miles than projected by ORION get called into the office and harassed.

Drivers need to protect themselves by working smart.

It’s a good idea to document your day with a Package Car Log Book, available from TDU. Use the log book to document  weather, traffic, management orders, or other unusual circumstances that may affect your route.

If ORION is giving you instructions that  make no sense, put the problem back on management and then work as directed. Make an entry in the remarks column like “directed by sup” so it is in your delivery records.

Remember, the targets set by ORION are NOT recognized by the contract. The only production standard recognized by the contract is “A fair day’s work for a fair day’s pay.” (Article 37)

The biggest disciplinary danger with ORION and other technology is termination for “dishonesty.”

Even though they knew ORION was on the way, the new contract negotiated by Hoffa and Hall still allows UPS to fire drivers based solely on information from technology in cases of “dishonesty.”

With no help from Hoffa and Hall, it’s up to drivers to avoid the technology trap. Work smart. Follow the methods. Don’t let UPS jam you up by taking a shortcut that management sometimes ignores or even encourages.

If you get called into the office to talk about your performance under ORION, take a shop steward and keep your answers simple.

Unless you remember a specific problem, don’t guess to explain a discrepancy. If you don’t remember just say so. Don’t get drawn into a management fishing expedition or make up an explanation and give management the opportunity to hit you with trumped up dishonesty charges.


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