July 2006. Recently UPS management has quietly expanded a rural route scheme that they launched under the 2002 contract.
Members from North Carolina to California report that UPS is moving the starting locations for certain rural routes from the UPS building to vacant lots 50 or 60 miles away. Drivers are then forced to drive the extra miles on their own dime to get to work—or relocate, or just bid off the routes and let lower seniority drivers take them.
To get its foot in the door, management may make it seem that they are doing drivers a favor. In Bakersfield, Calif. they got the local to agree to one run because a driver lived far from the UPS building and liked the new arrangement. Then they added other runs to remote locations, forcing other drivers to deal with the extra commuting time and costs. North Georgia management took a similar approach by promising drivers eight-hour days and other goodies.
UPS has a trailer deliver to the remote location each morning. The drivers load their cars, deliver and return in the evening to off-load packages. The DIADs are turned in via a driver who comes by in the evening.
Asheville, N.C. Local 61 members saw five of their runs moved to a parking lot 50 miles from the center. Pressure forced management to provide canvas tarps for protection from the rain, but the runs remain. All of the high seniority drivers got off the runs, bumping back into what are sometimes more physically demanding routes.
Bakersfield driver and Local 87 President Dudley Stewart asked “With profits in the billions why does UPS have to try to save a nickel at the expense of their workers? They are spending thousands of dollars on things like videotaping drivers and then pinching pennies with the rural satellite system.”
When asked about the remote delivery set-up, IBT Small Parcel Director Ken Hall said that he had “sent a letter” to UPS management about the problem. Members dealing with this issue might want to request a copy of that letter from their local, file grievances, and ask the union to take aggressive action to protect our working conditions.