On Black Friday this year, UPS workers are getting the worst deal of the year. Instead of relaxing at home, enjoying a long weekend, and stocking up on the cheapest retail merchandise of the year, we all get to go to work on a contract-guaranteed holiday! How ‘bout that for “holiday cheer”?
UPS is very likely going to make a shitload of money by adding an extra shift during peak season. How do they get away with it? Article 15 of the Central Region contract supplement guarantees seniority employees eight paid holidays, including Thanksgiving and the day after Thanksgiving (Black Friday). But when you look at Section 4 of Article 15, the Teamsters clarify that any employees can be required to work on any of these eight holidays, and there’s nothing you can do about it. Well, almost nothing. As part of the Screw Ups peak season survival guide, here are some ways to SCREW UP Black Friday and make UPS pay for calling us in.
Teamsters Central Region and UPS Supplemental Agreement to the National Master UPS Agreement, Article 15, Section 4: “Except as otherwise provided in this agreement, regular seniority employees required to work on any of the above named holidays [which include the day after Thanksgiving] shall receive double his/her regular hourly rate for all hours worked with a guarantee of eight (8) hours for full-time employees and four (4) hours for part-time employees. Also, no employee shall be required to work on Labor Day unless authorized by the local union.”
Slow Down. We say this pretty often, but on Black Friday it is particularly important. This is an extra day for UPS to turn a profit, and chances are they are going to try to push us harder than on any regularly scheduled shift. What is the best way to show the company you’re pissed about them stealing one of your vacation days? Cut into their profit as much as possible. We’re getting paid double our usual rate, so we’ve got to make it count. Don’t let UPS pull their usual corner-cutting bullshit that keeps our hours at a bare minimum. If they can push a high volume of packages through at the usual rate, UPS is going to hit the jackpot. Before you know it, they’ll start doing this on every “holiday.” Black Friday is a holiday: so take a break, relax, and work slow.
Ask for your minimum hour guarantee. Try to get as many hours as you can bear. Your supervisor won’t tell you that you are entitled to at least four hours (eight for full timers) of work that day. Maybe they’ll even tell you that it is only 3.5 as usual. If you get cut before reaching the minimum hours, let your sup know that you want four hours and that they are required to find you work until that minimum is fulfilled. Since you’ll be working slow anyways, chances are you will be getting over four hours already, but the more people who hit that mark, the less money the parasites in suits will make off of our work. If Black Friday profits are significantly lower than what UPS hoped to see, they will have to think twice before pulling this shit again next year. When it gives us tools, we should be prepared to wield the contract as a weapon against the company’s greed.
But what good is a contract that “guarantees” us a certain number of paid holidays, but then allows the company to cancel those holidays without our approval? UPS relies on us to get the work done, then treats us like the dog shit on the bottom of a boot. Fuck that. We need to be the boot giving the company a swift kick in the ass, dog shit and all.