Drivers Liable For Bounced COD Checks?
NABER has heard of two cases, where package car drivers have been made to pay for bounced company checks taken in payment for CODs. These were not certified checks that were forged. These were not a company being taken when a certified check was required. These were company checks take for ordinary, plain, vanilla CODs.
One of the drivers grievances went all the way to the National Grievance Board. The board found that the driver had 50% liability. How can that be?
This sets a dangerous precedent for all drivers that take checks for CODs. A driver can't refuse to take a check when there are no special instructions. And a driver has no clue of viability of the check. The union obviously didn't protect the best interest of the driver
UPS vs. Murphy Cited As A Reason To Rewrite
The American With Disabilities Act (ADA)
"to reject the requirement enunciated by the Supreme Court in ... Murphy v. United Parcel Service, Inc., 527 U.S. 516 (1999), ... that whether an impairment substantially limits a major life activity is to be determined with reference to the ameliorative effects of mitigating measures." SOURCE In layman terms, if the disability's limitations are lessened by treatment the employee is not protected by the ADA.
Whistle-Blower Gets Settlement
A Watertown NY mechanic got $254,000 in response to a $2 million lawsuit brought against United Parcel Service. The lawsuit alleged that the mechanic was fired twice for:
* Complaining about the general mechanical condition of the company's truck fleet.
* Taking 4 trucks with cracked and rusted frames "out of service" against management's orders.
As part of the settlement, the company will post OSHA Whistleblower fact sheets (LINK) and agreed not to prevent whistleblowers from coming forward. NY's Attorney General (LINK) has opened an investigation into UPS's allowing unsafe vehicles on the street. UPSers should feel free to contact the attorney general with information concerning P500 rollovers, windshields that blow out and truck roll-aways even when the vehicle is in park and the parking brake set.
NABER can only speculate why management would order a mechanic NOT to take trucks with broken frames "out of service." What kind of supervisor would put a truck with a cracked frame on the street to possibly pick-up thousands of pounds of freight and being driven by an unsuspecting UPSer? Thank God, there are mechanics that will put their career at risk to protect the public interest (and safety). We can imagine who would have been hung-out-to-dry if a truck with a known defect had been involved in a serious accident. The mechanic and the driver, of course would have been at fault. REVISED 3/19/08
A Tale Of Two Lawsuits
Like most big companies, UPS has, at any time, a number of lawsuits filed against it. A class-action lawsuit can have a larger impact on the day-to-day workings of a company than an individual's lawsuit. Take for example, the 23,000 California employees that were denied breaks and lunch. They received a $87 million settlement..Now, employees in many states are required to take their breaks.
Right now, the deaf employees that are being denied any kind of driving jobs are getting a lot of press. This, at best, was going to affect a few thousand employees. The 9th Circuit court has reversed a lower court decision. And basically, UPS can impose the hearing standard for vehicles over 10,000 lbs. to vehicles under that weight.
But another action brought against UPS by the Secretary of Labor could have a huge impact (and a huge added expense) on the way the company does business. Yet, this OSHA egress litagation has received almost no press coverage.
"The upshot was that UPS—the world’s largest package delivery company and a cornerstone of the U.S. economy—could not place a package on a platform, or stop a cart that carries heavy and irregularly shaped packages (the “irregular train”) for loading or unloading, even for an instant, because any such action that reduced an area's width below 28 inches would create an “obstruction” in violation of the standards."
The Chamber of Commerce of the United States of America (no less) came to UPS's defense. The Chamber filed a motion to have this decision reviewed because as it stands, this decision would have a real and detrimental effect on the U.S. economy. Strong language. Imagine safely stopping and unloading "irregulars" so that employees could escape, in the case of an emergency situation, would impact the entire U.S. economy. Yet, you probably never heard of this OSHA egress suit. Why doesn't the press (or even some internet only news site) pick-up on news that may have such far-reaching implications? Is UPS's power to influence able to suppress a negative report about a lawsuit that might cost the company hundred of millions of dollars to rectify?
CA Drivers Get $87 Million Settlement For Backpay
Cornn v. United Parcel Service Inc. was a wage and hour class action lawsuit filed on behalf of 20,000 drivers, seeking unpaid overtime, meal and rest period pay, pay stub penalties and other remedies. To settle the case, UPS has agreed to pay up to $87 million. SOURCE.
Landmark Disability Class Certified Against UPS
COLCHESTER, Conn., July 17, 2007 -- United Parcel Service (UPS) (NYSE:UPS), the world's largest package delivery company, found itself on the losing end of a landmark court decision yesterday. Federal Judge Joy Flowers Conti, of the Western District of Pennsylvania, in a carefully reasoned opinion in the action entitled Hohider, et al. v. UPS, approved the certification of a nationwide class of UPS present and former employees, dating back to May 2000, who were precluded from returning to work due to medical reasons because of alleged across-the-board policies and practices of UPS that violate the Americans with Disabilities Act. The decision will affect thousands of capable employees. MORE. The certification of the class means that between 30,000 and 50,000 UPS workers nationwide are part of the lawsuit instead of only the three men named in the original complaint,
UPS Caves To Pressure By N.J. Governor - Covers Gay Partners
10 days after Gov. Corzine's letter to Eskew. the company relented to public pressure to cover a gay couple.
(NY Times). "The company's interpretation of the law creates "inequity at the workplace and (furthers) the inequitable treatment of committed same-sex couples that the New Jersey law intended to eradicate," according to Corzine's letter to UPS Chairman and CEO Michael Eskew." (SOURCE) UPS spokesman blamed federal laws and the Teamsters for UPS's not extending family health benefits to a gay package-car driver. "The (NJ) law says civil union partners should be treated as spouses...United Parcel Service, refer to the Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974. The act, known as “Erisa,” pre-empts state laws and allows self-insured employers to choose how to define 'spouse'." (NY Times) Added 7/22/07
Why Shareholder Activism Is Impossible At UPS
The Annual Shareholder meeting was held May 10th. According to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution the meeting lasted 30 minutes. That's barely enough time to elect the board of directors, set the dividend, and affirm committee assignments. There was barely any discussion allowed from the floor. The UPS Storeowners organization had planned a demonstration outside the shareholders meeting. Mr. Eskew refuted the acusation that 60% of UPS Stores don't make a profit. MakeUPSdeliver.org questioned why the Teamster Union didn't make it is presence at the meeting. Why can't investors get their issues aired at the stockholder meeting like they have recently at Motorola, Apple, and Google among others?
When UPS went public in '99, the public was only allowed to buy "B" shares. The "B" shares have only 1/10th the voting power of the "A" shares. "A" shares can only be bought by UPS employees. CEO Mike Eskew (195,617 shares) and former CFO Lea Soupata (233,574 shares) by themselves have enough voting power to equal a $300 million investor in the company.. Add to this voting strength the fact that every manager is required to own a percentage of his/her salary in stock. While UPS does not release the breakdown between "A" and "B" shares, it is estimated that about 40% of the stock are "A" shares. Employees may also own another 20% of the company in "B" shares. Most of the employee-owned stock is owned by management which would likely vote with the board of directors in any shareholder activism issue.
How Bad Is This Job?
The company and the Union have always had an agreement that part-timers would work 6 months to qualify to go driving. There was a time in the not too distant past when it took 5 years of working part time to get your shot at driving. Well, times change. Not only have we now exhausted all of the people interested in driving who have 6 months or more seniority, but the company is asking the Union to drop the waiting period to 3 months. Do you realize what that means? You could hire in off the street, work part-time for 3 months then step into a job that in just 30 months will be paying $75,000 a year, have free health insurance, a pension and 3 weeks vacation with less than 3 years with the company. How many jobs are there like that in this country today? Even more amazing is that they still cannot find people who want to do this job! How ugly has this job become? (DenverBrown.com)
EEOC Sue UPS Over Disability Discrimination
The EEOC has taken on Brown again concerning the firing of an employee with a disability without making any effort to accomodate the disability. In layman's terms, the ADA law says that a company should make an effort to find another job or modify a job for an employee that becomes disabled. It goes without saying that the company isn't about to modify any job. But to say there isn't a position in the company for a person that in this case is losing some of his eyesite? The EEOC found that hard to believe. ARTICLE
"The EEOC claims UPS concluded D'Oliveira [the employee] could not safely perform his job and fired him without consulting his physician and without any objective medical or factual evidence. UPS failed to determine, the EEOC alleges, whether any reasonable accommodation could reduce the threat to safety it believed D'Oliveira presented. "
There seems to be a pattern of this disregard of the American With Disabilities Act within Brown. ADDED 5/18/06
Gallup Poll Of Workplace Discrimination
"Gallup conducted telephone interviews with 1,252 adults from March 7, 2005 to May 8, 2005, who were either currently employed, had been employed within the past two years, or were actively seeking employment during the survey's field dates. A disproportionate random sampling plan was used to permit breakouts of racial/ethnic minorities; specifically, blacks, Asians, and Hispanics were oversampled. Included in the final analysis were 302 blacks, 310 Hispanics, 104 Asians, 492 whites, and 44 individuals in the "Other" category...The poll found that while the overall discrimination rate among Americans employed either full-time or part-time is 15%, the rate varies considerably by
race and gender. Women are more than twice as likely to report that they have been discriminated against in the past year (22%) as are men (9%). Among racial and ethnic groups, Asians and blacks are most likely to report experiences of discrimination (31% and 26%, respectively), while 18% of
Hispanics and 12% of whites also report such incidents."
Almost a third of Blacks experienced discrimination within the year. More than a quarter of Asians interviewed reported discrimination. 22% of women reported some form of discrimination in the previous 12 months. While this poll was a good first step, more in-depth research seems necessary. A larger sampling with a time period of more than 12 months would give a more accurate picture of workplace discrimination. A better breakdown of discrimination is needed also. "...17% of those reporting such incidents mentioned age discrimination, 9% cited disability, 4% sexual orientation," These numbers seem to indicate a high percentage of older workers, disabled workrs and gay workers experience discrimination within those groups.
- For example: if 11.6% of all workers are disabled and 9% of all workers report discrimination because of that disability then 78% of disabled workers report discrimination
NABER hopes that businesses do not legitmize workplace discrimintion because they report internal numbers that are better than the averages in this Gallup Poll. Also, this poll really should be asterisked
*These percentages should be used with caution due to small sample sizes. ADDED 12/18/05
Discipline For COD Errors Changes
Teamster Locals in California report that UPS has suspended issuing disciplines for COD errors in response to a recent legal challenge against the UPS repayment policy. Reports have been circulating recently that the widespread practice of requiring employees to indemnify for such losses through forced repayment to the employer (for example; accepting a personal check instead of a cashiers check; accepting a non-negotiable check; or accepting a fraudulent check), may be in violation of California labor regulations.
Union officials in Southern California claim that UPS is expected to issue no disciplines for COD errors in their jurisdiction until the legal dispute is resolved.
CA Supervisors' Class Action For
Overtime/Lunch Breaks Is Dismissed
NEW YORK, Aug. 23, 2005 -- (Bloomberg/Edvard Pettersson) – UPS Supervisors Class Action Lawsuit in California Is Dismissed: United Parcel Service Inc., the world's largest package shipper, had a class action lawsuit brought by supervisors in California dismissed because as managers they don't qualify for overtime pay. U.S. District Judge Dean Pregerson granted UPS's motion for summary judgment. The company had submitted substantial evidence the supervisors ``spend the majority of their time performing exempt managerial tasks,'' the judge said in a ruling filed yesterday in federal court in Los Angeles. The lawsuit, representing a class of about 1,200 current and former supervisors, accused UPS of violating California labor law by not providing overtime pay and meal breaks. UPS showed the supervisors fall under an exemption the law makes for executive and administrative employees because, among other things, they are required to use discretion and independent judgment in ``matters of consequence,'' according to the ruling. John Furutani, an attorney for the plaintiffs with Furutani and Peters in Pasadena, California, didn't immediately return a call to his office after business hours. ``This is a very significant ruling by the court,'' said Peggy Gardner,'' a spokeswoman for Atlanta-based UPS in a telephone interview. ``It underscores our position that our supervisors are an essential part of the management team.''
The case is Michael Marlo v. United Parcel Service, 03-4336, U.S. District Court for the Central District of California. UPDATE 10/31/2005
The California Supervisor's class action lawsuit, summarily dismissed by the District Court for Central California in August 2005 apparently on a jurisdictional technicality, is currently being appealed to the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals. The District Court judge allegedly erred in deferring to federal labor regulations, instead of adhering to the California regulations under which the suit was originally filed. As this ruling would set new precedent in California case law, the lawsuit has received considerable attention and support from legal-rights advocates. The District Court's ruling is widely expected to be reversed on appeal.
Fired For A Minute... Awarded $21 Million
A former manager who was terminated for allegedly deducting a minute from an employee's time has been awarded nearly 21 million dollars by a California court. ARTICLE, "Gnesda alleged that in order to generate more income, UPS regularly charged customers additional fees even when those customers had packaged items in accordance with the listed tariffs." This case involved retaliation for reports to management of what Gnesda perceived was an illegal and fraudulent billing scheme. This was not about UPS simply violating its own internal policies or procedures. Court Case UPDATED 7/9/2006