Massive Layoffs At UPS A Big Win For The Union!

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BK's Comment
member avatar

Brett out of curiosity what is your first hand experience with being a union member. I understand your families past but were you personally a member. If so, was it trucking and for how long?

Yeah, Brett, fess up.

And did you ever have a heart transplant????????

rofl-1.gif

(Sorry, too early?)

Brett Aquila's Comment
member avatar
Brett out of curiosity what is your first hand experience with being a union member. I understand your families past but were you personally a member. If so, was it trucking and for how long?

I was never in a trucking union. My views on unions come from my family's experiences and what I've learned about unions over the years from both my family and my research.

My father was in the steelworker's union for 18 years, then the union for Correction Officers for five years after that until his passing. Most of my uncles, cousins, grandfathers, and other extended family members were in one of the various unions, including those for auto workers, metal fabricators, welders, brick masons, and more.

My one uncle and several cousins worked at Ford, and to this day, they might punch you in the mouth if you say the word "Chevy" so bring some friends if you're a Chevy guy (like me!)

My knowledge of our family history with unions goes back to my grandfather's generation. My one grandfather had six brothers, all of whom were brick masons. My other grandfather was a foreman at Bethlehem Steel, and my grandmother was a riveter on airplanes during WWII.

My grandfather, the foreman at Bethlehem, was also a golden-gloves boxer when he was young.

To my knowledge, almost no men on either side of my family ever worked in an office. My one uncle was a steelworker who later became a manager at a freezer warehouse. I can't think of any others.

So that's my background. I come from at least three generations of union workers that I know of, but I didn't go that path. Although I spent a little time in factories and warehouses, I was far more interested in travel and adventure, so I started in trucking when I was 21 years old and headed out on the highway instead.

My view on unions regarding trucking is that the old-school unions no longer fit today's business model. They were created during a much different era and haven't adapted. They became relegated to one part of the industry, their reputation is tarnished, they don't have the support they used to have, and they don't seem to have a vision for the future. They seem to be riding it out and doing their best while staying within the old paradigm.

That said, truck drivers and workers throughout our economy deserve fair treatment but will not get it most of the time without proper representation, especially if their skills are not in high demand.

The question for me becomes, "How can we organize workers and represent them in a better way?"

I've started a conversation for this: A New Type Of Organization For Drivers where we can all put our best ideas on the table.

But specifically for trucking, I feel we need a better type of organization to represent us, with a mission designed in a way that everyone wins. I don't want war, politics, or courtroom battles. I want an organization that works hard to improve its members, enforces high standards for everyone involved, and helps everyone make more money.

So, I envision a business organization whose members make more money because they perform at a higher level. That's not the same as representing everyone like a union does. That's a key distinction. My vision means you must earn your way into this organization, and you must earn the privilege of remaining by performing at a high level. If you can do that, you'll make better money.

So that's one of my ideas. I give more details in the conversation I linked to above.

We need a new type of organization to represent drivers. We can create anything we can imagine, so go to that link and put your ideas on the table. My vision is only one of many ideas that have already been discussed. Now we need yours!

Dm:

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.

HOS:

Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.

EPU:

Electric Auxiliary Power Units

Electric APUs have started gaining acceptance. These electric APUs use battery packs instead of the diesel engine on traditional APUs as a source of power. The APU's battery pack is charged when the truck is in motion. When the truck is idle, the stored energy in the battery pack is then used to power an air conditioner, heater, and other devices

Banks's Comment
member avatar
My father was in the steelworker's union for 18 years, then the union for Correction Officers for five years after that until his passing.

That's it? An industry that lost it's market share to foreign competitors and a bureaucracy that accepts whatever's put in front of them because in 4 years it's the next politicians problem? That's the basis for "unions will save everybody and make stuff fair"?

I was never in a trucking union.

That's not what Lion men do, Brett. I can't believe you let them take advantage of you. Let's write a skit about what those CEOs were saying about you when you were running hard for them. I guess you didn't care about "the future of everybody's kids" when you were lining your pockets.

My grandfather, the foreman at Bethlehem

Right in my back yard. A company that had horrible working conditions and had to be sued to meet pension responsibilities. Sign me up!

My view on unions regarding trucking is that the old-school unions no longer fit today's business model.

That's interesting because yesterday when I said

Because the unions membership numbers are dwindling

You said

Yap, thanks to guys like you.

Now it's

They were created during a much different era and haven't adapted. They became relegated to one part of the industry, their reputation is tarnished, they don't have the support they used to have, and they don't seem to have a vision for the future. They seem to be riding it out and doing their best while staying within the old paradigm.

So, I was right? Unions have little to no effectiveness in today's workplace.

Glad we hashed this out.

HOS:

Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.

DWI:

Driving While Intoxicated

EPU:

Electric Auxiliary Power Units

Electric APUs have started gaining acceptance. These electric APUs use battery packs instead of the diesel engine on traditional APUs as a source of power. The APU's battery pack is charged when the truck is in motion. When the truck is idle, the stored energy in the battery pack is then used to power an air conditioner, heater, and other devices

Brett Aquila's Comment
member avatar

rofl-1.gif

(Sorry, too early?)

It's never too early for a joke!

Banks said:

There weren't many jokes in it, other than the poor attempt at making fun of my childhood and the lessons that I took from it. Lessons that led to some massive growth and led to the person am I today which I'm very proud of.

I'm not making fun of your childhood, and you know that. What I'm doing is pointing out the fact that not all childhood beliefs make a solid foundation for proper financial planning. Sometimes our parents told us lies or led us to believe things because it was convenient or helpful at the time. They didn't think about what message they may inadvertently send or the implications for the future.

However, the bigger problem is that people won't allow themselves to consider new ideas if changing the old ideas will destroy their self-identity. Here is what I mean...

We saw this with Covid. The government said that obedient people have higher morals. If you went along with the mandates, you were the type of person who loved society, gave freely of yourself to others, loved your Grandma, and certainly were not racist. None of that was true for those of us who wouldn't comply. We were racist, selfish, and wanted to kill our own grandma and yours, not to mention we're wildly racist.

Now, we had a mild case of civil unrest, as the holy warriors, branded so by our government, were out to humiliate and intimidate those of us deemed monsters for our non-compliance.

The government's trick was more potent than many realized. Here's the thing - if you believed the narrative, you believed you were a better quality human being than those who did not. You believed you were helping society, they were hurting it. You believed you were more intelligent and morally superior to them. You were on the side of the law.

So what if new information came out that proved the narrative was wrong? What if nothing they told us was true? Think about the believers. What would happen if they no longer believed the narrative and wanted to change their mind?

They would have to destroy their own identity. They would have to admit they were less intelligent, on lower moral ground, and bigger fools than those they ridiculed. They already burned many bridges in their lives, and now they have to accept they're lower than people they disdain?

That's just too much. Do you think they were about to do that? Not a chance. To this day, we see people walking around with masks and getting injections. They are lost souls. They aligned their identity with a vision that turned out to be false, and the humiliation was too much to bear, so they block anyone who disagrees and will defend their hopeless position to the sad end. No amount of facts or reason will change their mind.

We should base most decisions on simple facts and opinions without tying our self-worth to it. Then we can change our minds anytime without destroying who we believe we are.

Truck driving is something I did. It's not who I am. I didn't lose myself when I retired from trucking. I just changed careers.

Now if I had gone on a rampage about how superior I am to the rest of the losers because I'm a trucker and they're not, well, I'd better plan on dying in that seat or face a reckoning someday.

Banks, I see you identify sometimes on a personal level with financial philosophies in a way that clearly implies, "high-quality, intelligent people with high morals do this" as if it's one of the Financial Ten Commandments.

For instance, your recent example, "pocket-watching is frowned upon"

Well, let's recall what the bible says:

You shall not covet your neighbor’s house . . . your neighbor’s wife . . . nor anything that is your neighbor’s” (Exodus 20:17). The 10th Commandment looks at our motivations.

Ok. It's hard to argue with you. Even God agrees!

What worries me is if you give it a meaning like, "Good people don't mind if they don't get their fair share. Good people accept less than others, or less than their fair share, with grace and dignity. Good people don't see a fancy boat in the neighbor's driveway and want one for themselves because that would be consumerism and greed. We might be poor, but we're still happy with what little they give us and we don't complain when bad people take advantage of us, so that's something to be proud of."

Believing along those lines could put the prospect of financial success at odds with your morals. If you should be proud of getting less than you deserve, should you be ashamed of fighting for your fair share? If you should be happy having very little, should you be ashamed of achieving prosperity?

But doesn't a real man (you too, ladies!) go out into the world to fight for fairness and prosperity for his family? Damn right, he does.

And what about inspiration? Where should that come from?

When my neighbor brings home this beautiful boat, what if I'm inspired to work twice as hard on my business so I can get one next year? Is that a bad thing if it makes me work harder, learn more, grow my business, hire more workers, and give the salesperson at the boat dealership a nice commission before heading out on the lake with family and friends? It sounds like everyone wins to me!

It's all just stuff to think about.

Dm:

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.

TWIC:

Transportation Worker Identification Credential

Truck drivers who regularly pick up from or deliver to the shipping ports will often be required to carry a TWIC card.

Your TWIC is a tamper-resistant biometric card which acts as both your identification in secure areas, as well as an indicator of you having passed the necessary security clearance. TWIC cards are valid for five years. The issuance of TWIC cards is overseen by the Transportation Security Administration and the Department of Homeland Security.

HOS:

Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.
Brett Aquila's Comment
member avatar
So, I was right? Unions have little to no effectiveness in today's workplace.

There was a list of major victories for quite a number of unions over the past few years. That's what inspired me to start this conversation. But sure, you're right. Whatever makes you feel better.

BK's Comment
member avatar

0277918001711819731.jpg

These are exactly the principles Dave Ramsey espouses @ The Ramsey Show & Podcasts.

Brett Aquila's Comment
member avatar
These are exactly the principles Dave Ramsey espouses @ The Ramsey Show & Podcasts.

I know it. I disagree with all of them as core principles, though they all have their place at certain times.

For instance, back in 2017, when interest rates were near zero, I financed the entire cost of my truck and put no money down. If they'll loan money for 5 years at 1.5% I'll take all I can get. I'll literally take a million if you'll give it to me at that rate. I'll find a use for it.

This year, interest rates are near 9% for used vehicles, so I paid cash for my truck.

Neither decision had anything to do with being in debt or not. In both cases, I could have paid cash. I financed it all when they gave out nearly free loans, and I paid cash when I felt the interest level was too high.

So for anyone to say, "stay out of debt" is to give incomplete advice. You must learn to manage your debt wisely. In fact, there are times you would be a fool to pay cash for something instead of borrowing the money. If you don't know I mean, it's time to start doing some reading. Debt itself is not bad. Debt can be an immensely powerful driver of success. Bad debt management is bad.

About time management: Building wealth is all about leveraging your time. You must keep finding ways to make more money in the same amount of time.

For instance, you get a full-time job. You take your savings from the job and invest it in the stock market, and it grows. Now you're making more money in the same amount of time. Then, you take what you learned in your career and write a book. You spend some time to write the book once, but now you're finished, and you have a third stream of income, though you still only have that one job taking up your time.

You keep doing this. You keep finding ways to make more money in the same amount of time. If you spend all of your time doing chores around the house like working on your car and splitting wood to save money, you'll have no time left to learn better skills and make more money.

There is a saying on Wall Street: "You can't save your way to prosperity"

If you want to build real wealth, you want to focus your time and efforts on learning to make more money, not save money.

So it's more nuanced than what Ramsey gives most of the time. He gives tips and one-liners like, "Stay out of debt" because they're catchy, they're easy to remember, and they make perfect sense to people who don't understand money very well, which is most of his audience.

I mean, you don't think wealthy people listen to Dave Ramsey, do you?

rofl-3.gif

Then, once people have the basics down, they move on from Dave to higher levels of sophistication. So naturally, he's keeping it simple.

OWI:

Operating While Intoxicated

Banks's Comment
member avatar
What I'm doing is pointing out the fact that not all childhood beliefs make a solid foundation for proper financial planning.

I agree with that, but I believe what somebody has attained has no bearing on my life. If you told me you have a million dollars it doesn't benefit me or harm me in any way. Why would I care?

Good people don't see a fancy boat in the neighbor's driveway and want one for themselves because that would be consumerism and greed.

I think that's freedom of choice. I live in what's now a high tourist area because of the water parks, hiking trails, AirBnBs and other attractions. Every summer I see all these 100k+ cars. When I was younger I'd think "I wish I had one" and now that I'm older I think "that dumb ass spent 120k on what my Toyota does". It's just a material tool. I think it's stupid, but it's their money, their choice. It doesn't benefit me or hurt me in anyway and I have no control over it.

That's how I look at corporate execs. I think they're grossly overpaid, but I understand how they arrived at that number. There's absolutely nothing that I or a union can do about it. It's a decision made by board members and majority share holders. I'll never be either one, so I have no say in it. What I do have control over is who I choose to work for and what I agree to work for. Nobody will ever ask me what I think the CEO should make, just like Knight never asked Old School if the CEO should get a severance package. It's completely out of our control, so I don't lose sleep over it.

My life and even 2023 has been filled with sucker punch after sucker punch. It felt like every time I turned around there was another tragedy or obstacle waiting for me. I don't have the energy to care about how much money somebody else makes or what they have.

If you should be proud of getting less than you deserve, should you be ashamed of fighting for your fair share? If you should be happy having very little, should you be ashamed of achieving prosperity?

I don't think anybody is happy accepting less, I think that's they're only option. I've worked hard to make sure it's not my only option. 50 years ago, you could buy a house working at a steel factory or managing a supermarket. You'd work for 45 years and die 5 years later. That's not how it works today.

People are more concerned with making people believe their well off by flaunting material positions, than actually being well off. Just look at the repo data.

And what about inspiration? Where should that come from?

For me? It comes from success and the success of others. I have no intention of reinventing the wheel, so I just follow the blueprint. More sacrifice and hard work. It wasn't easy to leave the only home I've ever known and move 100 miles west because it was the only option I had for home ownership, but I did it. Lots of other people could've done it too, but they chose not to. Now they complain that rent in NYC is at about 5k a month.

Now I have the opportunity to build on it further so I use tools available to pick the brains of people that have already done it. I can avoid their mistakes and know what to look for. Do you know what I did when I was on furlough? I did grunt work for a guy that flips houses. I cleaned up all of his construction projects and he paid me like 12/hr, but I didn't do it for the money. I did it to get information from him. He explained to me how he finds these cheap properties, how he learned to fix them up, how to contract out work and he hooked me up with his realtor. I could've easily said "I'm not doing that hard work for 12 dollars" like a lot of people would've, but then I'd just be sitting at home doing nothing. And you know what's the craziest part? He was excited to share all of this. I simply asked "how'd you find this place?" And he became a faucet. He wouldn't stop.

That is what inspires me. Not a Benz, not a boat and not a tacky McMansion.

Staying at a single employer for 45 years does not benefit anybody. At one point it did, that time has passed. That's why I believe unions don't really serve a purpose anymore. If a person wants to work for a union employer, more power to them, but I don't care. I want to get paid as much as I can and invest as little of my time as possible. FedEx checks both of those boxes.

That's how I think and the stuff I think about.

HOS:

Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.

OOS:

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.

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