Daily Log Books Can Help Counter Harassment, Discipline
Keeping track of your day can give you back up if you’re facing production harassment or accused of stealing time—and it can help back off management too.
The UPS Committee of Teamsters for a Democratic Union has produced a Daily Log Book used by many UPS drivers.
“Management is less likely to pick on the drivers who pay attention and keep track of their days,” says Mark Day, a package car steward in Chicago Local 705. “When they know you’re prepared for them, they tend to leave you alone.” Shop stewards and other active Teamsters also use the log books to track management as closely as they track us—by keeping tabs on comments and instructions from supervisors.
That can help defend Teamsters from unfair discipline.
“I use the logbook every day,” says David Manolis, a package driver in North Carolina Local 391. “The company gathers so much information on us. I use the logbooks to help me deal with whatever they throw at me.”
The logbook contains a chart to record the basic facts every UPS driver should track each day.
* When you punch in and out
* When you leave and return to the building
* Total stops
* Driver release stops
* Your car number
* Road conditions
* Total miles
* Lunch and breaks
* Problems and delays
* Comments and instructions from supervisors
“Look out for anything unusual in your day, and make a note of it,” says Dan Campbell, a former package car driver and business agent. “Bad traffic; a load with a lot of out-of-the-way stops; poor driving conditions.”
One day to keep especially good notes is when a supervisor is riding along. If your load is set up like they are making a training video, take note.
Track Management Like They Track You
The log book includes blank pages to keep track of unusual conditions or comments from supervisors.
“When a supervisor gives you an order that doesn’t fit with standard procedures, write it down and date it,” recommends Ronald Dimsey, a package car steward in New Jersey Local 177.
The more drivers who are using the log books, the better drivers can protect themselves and each other.
Dimsey recently bought 100 logbooks and gave one to every driver in his center.
“In my center, the company tried to come after a driver for a claim on a Driver Release package,” recalls Dan Scott, a package car shop steward in Seattle.
“We had several drivers come forward and say that they were told by supervisors to DR in that same area. “Having that kind of information in a log book is invaluable,” Scott said.
Defend Yourself, Don’t Be Defensive
The Daily Log Book is designed to help members who are accused of stealing time or another disciplinable offense defend themselves.
“The logbook gives you a snapshot of your day in case management has questions later,” Dimsey said. “In New Jersey, management is starting to crank up the pressure on area trace. When they want to know why you deviated from your route, you’re able to tell them why.”
Use the logbook to defend yourself. But don’t be defensive.
Teamsters cannot be disciplined for production, and the log books are not designed to play into management fishing expeditions about your numbers.
“If you’re not stealing time, then you don’t owe management a whole song about every minute of your day” said Scott.
Improving an explanation can create a bigger can of worms and open the door to UPS management’s favorite charge: dishonesty.
Following UPS’s rules—instead of rushing to boost your production—is the best way to protect yourself.
“Don’t work off the clock. Don’t take personal time on the clock,” Scott said. “Within that we don’t need to pay attention to their numbers.”
Still it never hurts to have written records to back you up. “You’re a lot safer trying to prevent a problem than defending yourself once you have a problem,” says Dimsey. “That’s what keeping good records is all about.”
Do you have suggestions on beating production harassment or using a log to enforce members’ rights? Click here to send us your ideas and we’ll share them with other UPS Teamsters.