Whether it’s a one-day production ride or a three-day OJS, management’s goal is to get information they can use later to harass you and push you to work faster. Here are some tips to protect yourself.
Follow the Methods
It’s only natural to feel pressured to speed up when a supervisor hops in your truck for the day.
Work at your regular pace—and follow the methods.
Get a drink if you’re thirsty. Follow UPS methods to stay hydrated.
Use the bathroom when you need to, just like on any other day. Don’t let the supervisor discourage you from using the bathroom or try to limit you from going only on break time.
Remember to use your hand brake, pull your driver-side mirror in, etc.
Follow the posted speed limit at all times, including on UPS property and in other parking lots.
Wear your seatbelt and use three points of contact when entering or exiting the vehicle.
Use proper body mechanics when lifting. Get close to the package. Bend with the knees.
Back only when necessary. Scan and size up the area before backing. If in doubt, get out and look. Tap your horn repeatedly to signal your intentions.
Send messages on the DIAD as you normally would. Don’t take shortcuts from your normal routine that will artificially inflate your SPORH.
Confirm the customer’s name whether their signature is required or not. Don’t let a supervisor push you into CIRing packages without making contact. That’s bad customer service and it’s against the methods.
Do a pre-trip and post-trip inspection. Follow Orion.
Focus on working at a safe, even pace every day, whether or not management is breathing down your neck. The best way to be good is practice every day.
Sups & Speed-Up
On-car supervisors will try to make things go faster by telling you the next stop, the route to take to get to your delivery, the shelf number of your next packages or the number of packages at the stop, or by helping you with packages, doors, and elevator buttons.
Make a point of telling the supervisor that their help is making your route go a lot faster than usual. Then make a written note for your own records of how management affected the ride.
Don’t Jam Yourself Up
Speak up if your supervisor interferes with your daily routine by telling you when to take your break, holding traffic when you cross the street, telling you not to use the hand truck or to overload it.
But don’t get yourself in a jam by refusing a direct order. Work now and grieve later.
It’s better to document your supervisor’s interference than to face discipline for insubordination.
Use the OJS Checklist to document your OJS,, even if it’s only a one-day ride.
Document how your load, load quality and route differed from your typical days. Did you have your NDAs? Were any of your regular drop stops missing? Was your area more condensed?
Also, note if anything was done to expedite your AM procedure like moving your truck to an easier spot to pull out of, moving the package cars next to you, or guiding traffic.
If you’re called into the office for an after-route review, bring your steward.
Management will issue an “official letter of record” with stats on your SPORH and Over-Allowed on supervised vs. unsupervised days.
You do not have to sign the letter. Management cannot write you up based on a one-day ride. But they may use it to harass you down the line if they don’t like your numbers on another day.
When management tries to compare your ride to another work day, our answer is “I give you my best every day. There’s a lot of variables. I don’t control the load, the traffic, or the route.”
OJSing the OJSer
How one Teamster local is turning the tables. UPS uses OJS rides to pressure drivers by watching their every move. Now one Teamster local is OJSing the OJSers.
New York Local 804 puts Business Agents out on the road to video OJS rides.
The union doesn’t video every ride. But when a steward or member flags a supervisor for harassment, that sup can expect company on the OJS.
“When a supervisor realizes they’re being filmed, they adopt a different mentality. It has a chilling effect,” said Business Agent Dave Cintron.
“Defending ourselves on an OJS starts with us. We prepare drivers to enforce their rights on an OJS, to follow the methods, and not to let management inflate their numbers,” said shop steward Eugene Braswell. “We make sure drivers use the OJS checklist. Having your BA film your supervisor is the icing on the cake.”
The union uses the footage to counter harassment.
“Every time we’re out there, we catch a supervisor doing something wrong, whether it’s not wearing a seat belt or not using the handrail,” said Business Agent Mark Cohen. “No one can follow the methods 100 percent of the time.”
“Harassment is a way of life at UPS, but our local is pushing back,” Braswell said. “OJSing the OJSer is one part of that.”
PROTECT YOURSELF ON AN OJS—THERE’S AN APP FOR THAT!
To challenge an OJS as the basis for establishing a fair day’s work, you must be able to demonstrate how it was different from a normal day.
The OJS Checklist helps you record if management adjusted your load or route—or if actions taken by a supervisor affected your numbers.
Click here to find the OJS Checklist.
Stewards can use the OJS Checklist to do a follow up interview with each driver while their OJS is fresh in their mind.
By using the OJS Checklist, you’ll have the records you need if the company tries to use your OJS to harass or discipline you for production.