Massive Layoffs At UPS A Big Win For The Union!

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Banks's Comment
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That's kind of a scary statement. In other words, if I'm in a position to take advantage of you, then that's your fault, so you get to suffer the consequences and I get to blame you.

Their not looking at employees as people, they're looking at them as dollar signs. If McDonald's is your only option, you take what they give you. Why don't you or I work at McDonald's, Brett? Because we have options.

In the early 20th century, death rates were extremely high, with estimates ranging from 20-30 deaths per 100,000 workers annually in the US.

But it's no longer the 20th century. All the alphabet government agencies and lawyers have made work places as safe as they can be. I know FedEx doesn't care about my safety, they just don't want me to do something that will get them sued or workers comp claims and God forbid negative press. I'm safe because I care about my safety and getting home the same way I left.

You can't just sit back and watch them take advantage of people and then blame the people they're abusing for it.

I disagree. How many posts do we see here where people need weed to sleep? How dare the corp not hire them!!

That DWI was 20 years ago, why do they care?

I only have 4 speeding tickets... That's not a lot.

You just limited your options. Circumstances have a direct correlation with decisions and actions.

I didn't want to learn a trade or get a degree, but Dunkin donuts should pay me a living wage so I can buy a house!

When does the line get drawn?


Driving While Intoxicated

Deleted Account's Comment
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Although CEO pay in most cases is very out of whack compared to the workers below them it isn't true at every corporation. They're also far different in duties and responsibilities they perform. I also don't concern myself about that. Am I taking steps to become the CEO? absolutely not so why waste my time and energy focusing on that. Just like people that complain about NFL players making outrageous amounts. When considering employment one of the first things I look at is wages. The CEO salary has nothing to do with what I'm being offered. If a company is willing to pay it why not accept it? Should those Walmart drivers we talked about last week earning over $100k worry about the store level employees making $12/hr and relying on government assistance just to get by? Let's be real. As a business owner are you going to pay your employees a ton of money or are you going to pay them just enough to keep them around while feeding them a $.25 raise a year? An overwhelming majority want to keep that bigger slice of the pie.

Not all unions are great. Sure they helped make changes long ago but I feel that's what pro-union crowd hangs on to. There's a lot of crap in our nation's history that has changed for the better. Many corporations have moved production overseas to avoid paying livable wages and not have as many strict safety regulations. If you're continuing to buy those overseas products you're part of the problem. I haven't paid dues to the Teamsters in 5 years since I left PFG. I still receive their magazine/newsletter and can attest UPS is the poster child. They mention other contracts they achieved but never provide the same details that they do for UPS. About 10 years ago I interviewed at the Minneapolis/St Paul International Airport to fuel airplanes. They talked up the position being unionized. That union position was paying $9/hr and if my memory serves me right topped out at $15 after 3 years. I've been part of Teamsters with 2 different companies (Sysco and PFG). Both times union leadership didn't have my back and folded when I addressed my issues. I wouldn't turn down a job offer strictly due to union/non union. Fortunately in Iowa I'm not forced to join and can reap the benefits they may or may not receive at that job but I won't have representation. That's fine because I have no problem standing up for myself.

PFG paid less than our non union competitors like Reinhart (pre buyout). It's tough to compare warehouse job at Sysco due to different locations/cost of living but I made dramatically less being unionized. In Palmetto (St Pete ) FL base pay was $17/hr but with incentive pay I averaged usually $30-32/hr. In Ankeny (Des Moines) IA the top base pay was $23 after 18 months I believe but those incentives were much harder to hit. I had to work way harder and only managed to earn $25/hr. I brought it up to our union reps that Sysco is measuring metrics differently at non union warehouses and got no feedback even after providing proof of my claims.

Over the past couple years why did so many OTR truckload carriers increase pay. They did it to attract the talent they have or are after. I'm not aware of a single unionized outfit that does OTR so unions had nothing to do with it.


Over The Road

OTR driving normally means you'll be hauling freight to various customers throughout your company's hauling region. It often entails being gone from home for two to three weeks at a time.


Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.
Brett Aquila's Comment
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It's tough to compare warehouse job at Sysco due to different locations/cost of living

The cost of living in Iowa is far less than in Florida, so you'll make less.

Fortunately in Iowa I'm not forced to join and can reap the benefits they may or may not receive at that job but I won't have representation. That's fine because I have no problem standing up for myself.

You can speak your mind, but can you make things happen? Sure, you can walk into the office and stand up for yourself. You can speak your mind freely. But without any leverage, management can swat you away like a fly and laugh about it over lunch.

Who are you to them? A single truck driver? Oh no....whatever would they do without you?

So you speak your mind, and if they let you keep your job, it's "take what we give you" or "go get it somewhere else." You get a big pat on the back. You walked in there, told them what you thought, and they didn't care.

Now, when 10,000 people walk in and would like to discuss something, well, that's a lot different.

Now, as a business owner myself, I feel I should have the right to hire and fire anyone I want. I want to run my company in my vision. That makes me like a dictator. A small man with a small mind would lose his little mind and become a tyrant when given that kind of power. A real man is never a tyrant. Well, the truth is, sometimes small men wind up in high places surrounded by a fiercely loyal group of even smaller men. They all become tyrants. Good luck walking in there alone and standing up for yourself. That should be a treat.

One of the things I want to do is inspire people to think a little harder about the world around them. Pay closer attention to what's going on, who is pulling the strings, and most importantly, what is happening to you that you're unaware of. I'm not advocating a trucking union or anything of the sort. I'm just saying we can pull together in important ways over many issues going on in our society, and this topic is a great example of one of those ways.

I feel like a relatively tiny group of tyrants is wreaking havoc on our global society. If people were aware of it, and if they were willing to stand up to it, the entire thing would end almost immediately, and dramatically. Many people aren't aware of it because they're not looking for it, or they're not thinking things through.

I think America has become another classic cliche of the fallen empire. We got fat and happy, then lazy and needy, then soft and nearly helpless. Now, a handful of tyrants are walking all over us, and people accept it. Not long ago, we were a country of rebels and free spirits. Now, we let one guy go home with $25 million, and the rest of us go home happy to have oatmeal, afraid to ask for even a fair share when we're the ones doing the work.

That doesn't sit well with me, and I'm thankful for the chance to talk about it with a group like this. I always want to hear what you guys think about big issues like this. We've all gained a ton of wisdom living wildly different lives, so it's fascinating to hear those different perspectives.


Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.
Banks's Comment
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In my adult life, I've learned that everybody wants to complain, but nobody wants to do anything.

Deleted Account's Comment
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So you speak your mind, and if they let you keep your job, it's "take what we give you" or "go get it somewhere else." You get a big pat on the back. You walked in there, told them what you thought, and they didn't care.

It's definitely a possibility that could happen. I disagree with many things my Transportation management team does but I've found with most things in life conducting yourself in a calm collective and professional manner yields far better results. At the end we still may disagree and that's fine. If what I'm seeking doesn't match with the direction management or the company as a whole are going I can either deal with it or find a new job. Most often management is looking to climb the corporate ladder and will blindly follow what they're being told from above. I've mentioned it before that our current VP of Transportation is hyper focused on idle times. Every week we get a message stressing to shut off the truck and how we're wasting money on fuel. He's doing that because of pressure from above. They refuse to look at ways we're wasting far more money and resources even when they're in front of them. Last month I had again addressed poor routing that they're not reviewing our routes before we bid them. They had one driver coming back empty down I35 from the MN border but instead of stopping at our yard in Ankeny he had to go 60 miles west on I80 to a backhaul. A different driver was going to leave Omaha empty and instead of doing the backhaul mentioned above had him go 60 miles north of our yard up I35 to a backhaul. Today I had a couple stores in Council Bluffs and Omaha before heading 40 miles west to Lincoln for 1 stop then back to Omaha for my backhaul. A different driver had 3 stops in Omaha then 3 in Lincoln. Both loads were frozen and our trailers weren't at capacity that's just how the system routed it so it must be right. In reality I doubt they care. The focus is idling because it's a number on their screen. Stores are receiving their trucks so the customer is getting their groceries all is good.

Unions are great IF the leadership actually holds the employer to the contract. As I pointed out my previous experiences has soured my feelings about them atleast in this line of work. The Yellow fiasco also plays a part of that though admittedly it's more complicated.

If Unions were still prevalent and pensions were as widespread as they once were company loyalty would be higher. I'd love to stay at my current job long term but I also periodically check what else is out there. I'm quite happy overall with my job and paid well so I'm not personally dealing with significant issues that I feel a union would be beneficial. As a society in general we get bored easily and are willing to jump ship just for the sake of change. In the trucking industry we see drivers hopping to a new carrier for a couple pennies more a mile.


Dispatcher, Fleet Manager, Driver Manager

The primary person a driver communicates with at his/her company. A dispatcher can play many roles, depending on the company's structure. Dispatchers may assign freight, file requests for home time, relay messages between the driver and management, inform customer service of any delays, change appointment times, and report information to the load planners.
Davy A.'s Comment
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I agree with much of what Brett said, all areas of our industry could surely benefit from a consolidated workforce. It's one of the only ways that we would ever be able to bring our average pay up to what it should be.

Now, if we were being paid what we should be, the threat from shippers, manufacturing and the government is that everything would be so expensive in order to cover the cost that it simply can't be done.

We say here that carriers operate on a 4 to 6 percent margin. They do after write offs, on paper. Anyone who's owned a business of any size knows that mantra well. The reality is that if a business isn't bring in at least 20 percent margins, the lights aren't staying on. The carriers, especially big ones are successful because they make money on every decision and reduce costs at every decision. Usually at the expense of the driver.

Only highly motivated drivers will reap top pay, and we fight, manipulate, cajole and sacrifice to get it. Sure, I can make 80 to 100k a year in dry van otr if I sacrifice my free time with my family, am home once a month, stay out a minimum of 3 to 4 weeks, play the game and watch every penny that the company tries to relieve me of in every decision. It's a daily fight.

But as I said before, the existing union paradigm is a failure. We've had over a hundred years of experience with it. Time to try something different. The debate shouldn't be weather to unionize or not. We need to create a new union from the ground up.

We need to appeal to and unite drivers, oos , piecework guys and contractors with a system that works, is free of corruption and doesn't cost that much. It needs to have teeth and we need to drive up our wages irrelevant of what it does to the carrier and shipper. Why should the driver bear the burden of cheap goods?

The simple matter is that we the drivers could have the power if we could unite enough. That unity isn't going to happen with an existing union.


The customer who is shipping the freight. This is where the driver will pick up a load and then deliver it to the receiver or consignee.


Over The Road

OTR driving normally means you'll be hauling freight to various customers throughout your company's hauling region. It often entails being gone from home for two to three weeks at a time.

Dry Van:

A trailer or truck that that requires no special attention, such as refrigeration, that hauls regular palletted, boxed, or floor-loaded freight. The most common type of trailer in trucking.


When a violation by either a driver or company is confirmed, an out-of-service order removes either the driver or the vehicle from the roadway until the violation is corrected.

Sanya P.'s Comment
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It’s a beautiful day 🏁

I probably should introduce myself. Thanks to you Brett Aquila, you’ve inspired me to get into trucking back in June 2012 (once I read your book) and maybe my positive streak is only now starting to truly blossom and that’s also really truly thanks be to Jesus most likely even more. The rat race to the bottom is real and it’s everywhere. Ok, let’s jump into the discussion at hand...


The chart has truth but it might need to be looked at from many angles to get the full details. I believe it's more likely that the monetary policy is more responsible for the disparity in such a pay difference between the avg. worker and the CEO. I'm speaking on my limited hunch and it might be worth getting to the bottom but I rather emphasize first from an angle of what I believe is a tactile solution to this problem rather than the complex systemic monetary policy.

What I see is anyone you hire to represent you whether it's a union or whatever just like the gov’t, anyone anyone is prone to sliding into the dark side and just starting to mis-represent you and eventually taking a complete advantage of you.

Based on the win you've explained, that UPS workers against the excessive management staff got, it sound's like a really good win but I wouldn't put all my eggs into the union basket. I'll take the good wins but I basically see a union as potentially a ballooning excessive middleman entity similarly to the management classes that are already required.

🔑 I believe one of the best solutions is to fight to foster an environment of healthy competition. It should be somewhat easy to just compete and to out perform the competition. I believe fair wages would be forced into-out-of a healthy competing environment.

If all auto companies but Ford went bankrupt in the last century and only Tesla successfully started and is competing now -- this is an indication of an unhealthy environment of competition.

It'll take to much time to contextualize my opinion, interpret it how you like, just my 2cent's.

🤔 And let me just throw out some ideas on the complex systemic monetary policy issues, culture and a bit of spirituality. I believe in a Year of Jubilee or debt cancellation. There should be a clearing of all debt in every generation's lifetime or once every 49 years. It's a Biblical thing. I'm not sure exactly how but an ever expanding debt is one of the most evil things which systematically shake a good foundation of a healthy competing environment. Debt should be manageable otherwise time to restructure. However wealth is never destroyed but rather always simply transferred so the policy should be that it be transferred (if some transference is required) to the middle class for they are the most essential bread and butter. Everybody should be encouraged to be part of the middle class. Rich and poor classes should be discouraged, and to put it specifically -- it should be a shame to be a health degrading lazy snob or a self-obsessed greed. Lastly the whole middle class should just be gradually graduating from one living standard to the next higher one yet we should also celebrate this life as a temporary pass, living it the best way, in honor of our Creator.

Greg M.'s Comment
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I say this:


As of September 30, 2023, UPS reported having $7.27 billion in cash and cash equivalents according to their latest public earnings disclosure


That's right...over $7 F'in BILLION DOLLARS

Brett, I'm afraid this isn't the moral outrage you seem to think it is.

I just went out and looked over the Sept 30,2023 quarterly financials for UPS where you got the $7.27B in cash/equivalents . You are exactly right, actually its closer to $7.28B at $7.278B.

The Quarterly Balance Sheet shows their current assets as being $19.251B. That is made up of the $7.278B in cash along with $9.461B in Receivables and $2.967B in other short term investments. Assets however are only one side of the equation.

Looking at the Liabilities section of the report it shows that they have total current liabilities of $15.817B. That $7.28B in cash wasn't even enough to cover half of their current liabilities at the time of the report.

There is a financial analysis tool called the Current Ratio. It is basically Current Assets divided by Current Liabilities. It gives some insight into the financial health of a company. You definitely want the number to be above 1 and closer to 2 is better. Using the numbers for UPS:

$19.251B/$15.817B =1.2.

1.2 is actually on the low end of what you like to see.

Steven E.'s Comment
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I am quite sure there's a lot more to this story than your post covers. I will only say, I have no sympathy whatever for unions in general and the Teamsters in particular, for many reasons - not least of which is the damage they have done to a great many industries. This is to say nothing of public-sector unions - they have no business being in existence.

You and several other posters here seem simply to be bubbling over with class envy.

Brett Aquila's Comment
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You and several other posters here seem simply to be bubbling over with class envy.

You don't know the first thing about what class I'm in, but you made that assumption and went with it, didn't you? Some people have supreme confidence in what they know, even when it's patently false.

I have no sympathy whatever for unions in general and the Teamsters in particular, for many reasons - not least of which is the damage they have done to a great many industries.

You blame the unions, but not a word about any management teams or their greed, abuse, or incompetence, eh? Well, that seems like a well-thought-out response. Maybe you should teach a course.

I see we have another one ripe for the propaganda. You bought it hook, line, and sinker. Ten people walk away from a company with $100 million per year, the company goes bankrupt and they get an additional $50 million in severance, and people like Steven walk around blaming the workers for wanting a fair wage.

I can tell you one thing that really changes a person's perspective on the business world - math. If people would do a little bit of it, they would see things differently.

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