.. formal education and training. UPS invests more than $300 million dollars a year in employee learning programs. Managers can take advantage of full-tuition reimbursement for advanced degree programs that apply to their careers. Drivers go through extensive training both in the classroom and on the road.
This training is done to ensure efficiency and to guarantee customer service and satisfaction. At UPS, every member of the senior management team began their careers at the front lines of the company as package sorters, drivers and administrative assistants. The idea is that you can’t manage a business unless you know how it operates. This company sounds like one that you would want to jump right in and work for. They seem to be there for their employees.
You ask yourself then, what brought on this strike? Union members were waiting for a contract but UPS could not meet their requirements before the deadline, therefore a strike. The demands that the Teamsters called for were, for more full-time workers; a company proposal to take over the workers’ pension plan; and proposals for improving workplace safety. The union wanted a large number of part-time jobs converted into full-time positions, with full benefits in order to provide more job security. Why did UPS hire only part time emloyees? Of the 46,000 workers UPS had hired between 1993- 1997, more than 80 percent were part-timers. The reason behind this type of hiring , UPS says, is in order to keep up with its non-union competitors, it has been forced to hire more part-time workers.
Fifteen days later, workers prepared to don their brown uniforms and return to their jobs. The Union took the first step to ratify the settlement and to get a contract signed. Among the major provisions of the tentative labor agreement between UPS and Teamsters union were: the contract would be for 5 years, not the 2-3 year deal that the Teamsters asked for. To change 10,000 part time jobs to full time jobs. This was a plus for the teamsters since UPS wanted only 1,000.
The Teamsters will still keep control of the multie- employer pension plan that is solely for UPS workers. Pension Benifits will also increase. Increased hourly wages by up to 36%, so over 5 years full- time workers wil gain $3.10 an hour, with the top rate reaching $23 an hour. Part- time workers will gain $4.10 an hour with the top rate reaching $15 an hour, which is up from the $8 an hour before the strike. After the strike UPS hurried to rebuild its business and make up a $1 billion shortfall in revenues.
The 1999 year’s financial performance indicated that the company seemed to be recovering spectacularly. However, the improved financial performance has not necessarily meant improved employee relations. Negative effects of the walkout remained, despite the management’s efforts. Empoyee moral is up but it was met with claims of non- compliance to the agreement. Drivers were still complaining bitterly to union officials and UPS management about productivity demands (employee performance) and what they saw as a decline in service. Many drivers felt the increased productivity levels since the strike were unattainable, and there were reports of nervous breakdowns because of the pressure put on drivers to produce. Management however, pointed to the company service index being at its highest level ever while the company had cut back on service.
As drivers urged the company to choose between increased productivity or better service the response has been give us both, because you can’t be productive without good service. UPS management saw the union as us-versus-them and were not going to engage in win/win strategies. They also reported that since the work stoppage they had not had an inordinate increase in the number of calls to their toll-free business-conduct line where employees could call in anonymously and report their feelings or any incidents. There had been a record number of grievances since the strike due to petty harassment and post-strike vindictiveness on the part of some supervisors claimed teamster Rand Wilson. Some progress was being made, admitted by both sides, but lots of bad blood remained. Supervisors were called upon to keep the business running during the strike, and were subjected to harsh language and threats when they crossed the picket line to do so.
Even UPS drivers admitted that some very nasty things were said during the strike, and there are still some sores there that are mending. UPS hired consutants and they stated that employee morale was higher than ever but, some union activists said that there was still widespread dissatisfaction. Somewhere between the two, layed the truth. UPS handed out surveys which revealed that employees felt wounded by the blows to the company’s reputation and problem areas surfaced around improving communications. Conjugate that and it seemed to be that employees were still proud to work for UPS, but needed positive reinforcement. Workers in the field were reported to still respect the head people in the company, who came up through the ranks.
However, there were some workers who felt that top executives were out of touch with the workers themselves. Union leaders, activists, UPS leaders and supervisors all voiced optimism for the future.While UPS looked to dismiss last year’s strike as a minor glitch, much of the bitterness and anger lingered on. There seemed to be a trend of policy makers for both the union and UPS management to downshift their relationships from collaborative to confrontational and splits between the rank-and file workers and supervisors, as well as workers and UPS itself are likely to increase. All in all, it seemed profits had increased, and the dynamics of labor relationship at UPS were still looking for a degree of stabilization and the Union had lost over $3.5 million a year in dues. So where is UPS now? Since the strike they have gone public, selling 10% of its stock on the New York Stock Exchange to the public, making it the second largest initial public offering by an American company in history. Today, UPS is not just in the delivery business, but in the customer satisfaction business, and customer needs will continue to be the company’s driving force.
The highest priorities for UPS over the next five years will be: growing internationally, deploying technology that will allow UPS to continue introducing new services; to electronically connect customers to UPS so even more comprehensive information about shipments is available; to continue creation of new services and solutions for customers that add value all along the supply chain, and, finally, to move further into all three converging flows of commerce – the flow of goods, information, and funds. UPS has always been a good company since they first days of business in 1907. They expanded tremedously. Even though have had their shares of setbacks, they still remain strong and have succeeded through it. The strike hurt them the most and they have overcome it to bring their company to the top.
UPS is and always will be a household name. I remember running out of the house to that oh- so- familar brown uniform and truck when I was a kid and hopefully my kids will too. Business Reports.