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Started by Joe Balkis Jan 1, 2012.
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Amazon made headlines Sunday night when it announced it was working on small drones that could someday deliver customers packages in half an hour or less. But the e-commerce giant isn’t the only company researching how to harness the potential of small unmanned aircraft: The Verge has learned that the world's largest parcel service, UPS, has been experimenting with its own fleet of flying parcel-carriers.
Sources familiar with the company’s plans say it has been testing and evaluating different approaches to drone delivery. Asked for a comment, a company spokesman said that, "The commercial use of drones is an interesting technology and we’ll continue to evaluate it. UPS invests more in technology than any other company in the delivery business, and we’re always planning for the future."
In some ways, say industry experts, this is no surprise. "I would be shocked if a company like UPS wasn’t considering this," says Ryan Calo, a law professor specializing in drones and robotics. "If you want to compete in logistics and delivery, drones and unmanned robots have to be part of the conversation about where things are headed."
So far UPS has kept quiet about its plans, perhaps because any drone delivery project is years away from being legal and operational. For Jeff Bezos, on the other hand — who admitted that his drone fleet probably won’t be available for some time— the news was perfectly timed to hit on Cyber Monday, driving tons of free publicity to Amazon on the biggest online shopping day of the year.
UPS has a number of different ways it might utilize drones. It could offer something similar to Amazon’s Prime Air, or it might use them to help move packages around its own warehouses. Calo was skeptical of the video offered up by Amazon, where a drone drops off a package in a family’s suburban driveway. "I think from both a tech and a policy perspective, delivering to consumers in residential areas is going to be tough thing to accomplish any time soon," says Calo. "But a company like UPS could use drones to bring packages quickly and cheaply from a major airport or city to pick-up centers in more remote locations, speeding up delivery for a lot of customers."
Others in the industry are more bullish on how quickly a drone delivery service could be up and running. According to Colin Guinn, the North American CEO for the drone manufacturer DJI, "A company like Amazon or UPS could have a safe, operational fleet in 18-24 months," he tells The Verge. "What we need in terms of tech is improved object detection and avoidance, because GPS coordinates alone won’t cut it if you got a car or some kids in the driveway."
FedEx founder Fred Smith has spoken repeatedly about his desire to move to a fleet of unmanned aircraft, something he believes could generate major cost savings. The impediment so far has been regulators. "We have all this stuff working in the lab right now, we don’t need to reinvent the wheel," remarks Guinn. "We need a set of rules from the FAA. It’s just a matter of getting the laws in place so companies can begin building to those specifications and doing some real field testing."
- See more at: http://tdu.org/media/ups-researching-its-own-delivery-drones-compet...
December 5, 2013: For the second time this year, a feeder driver in St. Louis has won $100,000 plus back pay and benefits for company violations of DOT regulations and firing drivers who are whistleblowers.
UPS Teamsters are feeling some holiday joy at the Earth City Mo hub this week. Tim Bishop has returned to his feeder job 2½ years after he was illegally fired by UPS.
UPS was ordered to pay Bishop more than $100,000 in back pay, along with back pension and health and welfare, and another $100,000 in mental pain and emotional distress. UPS also has to pay the fee of Bishop’s attorney, Paul Taylor.
Bishop was fired for recording his time waiting at the meet-and-turn point as on duty time. Management told him to watch his equipment, but to record his time as off-duty (his meal break), a violation of DOT regulations.
Under DOT rules, a driver cannot be directed to log off-duty unless he is fully relieved of any work or equipment responsibility.
Bishop was shut out in the grievance procedure which upheld his termination. But he won big before an Administrative Law Judge: the judge's decision.
It’s the second big case won by St. Louis feeder drivers; Local 688 feeder steward John Youngermann won $100,000 in punitive damages for being suspended for adhering to DOT safety regulations.
Tim summed it up this way –
“I think when UPS fired me, they thought I would just walk away. Well that didn’t happen, thanks to the support I got from my steward, John Youngermann and retired feeder driver Bob Wittman. TDU put me in touch with attorney Paul Taylor and I couldn’t have asked for better advice.
“I stood up to UPS on safety issues but it was great to know I had Paul Taylor standing with me. He treated me like family and I knew he always had my back. With lawyers like Paul, and an organization like TDU, working Teamsters have a fighting chance when companies do us wrong. We need to stand strong for what’s right because that’s what being in a union is all about.”
Credit goes to Tim and John for standing up for Teamster rights and safety.
For more information on drivers’ safety rights under federal law, order a copy of the STAA Handbook, a TDU guide.
Attorney Paul Taylor of the Truckers' Justice Center has provided many Teamster drivers with expert legal advice and assistance on truck safety rights and violations. Contact him at email@example.com or call TDU at 313-842-2600.
November 19, 2013: After leaving UPSers in the dark for months, Teamster officials are working overtime to sell a weak contract that would mean smaller pensions for UPSers in the Southwest.
The company’s offer is not good enough to sell itself. So Teamster officials have become full-time contract pitchmen. In Los Angeles, Local 396 business agents are even visiting hubs in the middle of night. They have never worked overtime like that to represent members.
Their goal is to convince UPSers that the contract is a done deal and they will not negotiate any improvements even if members Vote No again.
If that’s true, it’s time to replace every one of these officials who can pass out lies and PR, but can’t bargain a thing from a company that made $4.5 billion—even when they’re backed by a united No Vote by the membership.
The ballots were mailed last week and received over the past few days. They will be counted on December 10.
The sales pitch includes brochures, letters, and outright lies. Get the facts that they’re leaving out of their sales job.
Healthcare and January 1
One of the big lies is that: you will lose your health coverage on January 1 unless you vote yes. The truth is, your healthcare is secure. Download this bulletin and get the truth.
Hiding Contract Details
The entire contract was kept secret from members until it arrived with the ballot and the PR barrage.
It includes hidden concessions, including a change that requires UPSers to work one punch a week (not one punch a month) to get your healthcare.
Most of the time, this will be no problem. But if you get sick or injured late in the year after you have used your vacation and personal days, this could cost you a bundle. Download a bulletin with info on this and other hidden contract concessions.
Pension Accruals Reduced in the Southwest
UPS Teamsters in Southern California, Nevada, Arizona, and New Mexico will pay a steep price for the new Health Plan in the form of smaller pensions in the future.
Teamsters in Washington, Oregon, and the Rockies will accrue much larger pensions than Teamsters in the Southwest—even though they all work under the same Western Supplement and get their pensions from the same Pension Fund. Download a bulletin on the pension grab.
New Jersey Local 177 Teamsters
UPS Teamsters in New Jersey Local 177 will also have $1.50 per hour in new pension contributions diverted to pay for the new Health Plan.
This pension grab will cost the Local 177 Fund $30 million in contributions by the end of the contract.
Local 177 members will be asked to give up 30¢ per hour of their annual wage increases every year to fund a pension increase.
The wage diversion from Local 177 members comes to $1.50 an hour by the end of the contract the same amount of pension money that is being diverted into the Health Plan to pay for the benefits.
- See more at: http://tdu.org/news/big-pr-job-officials-west-go-all-out-sell-ups-c...
Lie #1: “If you don’t vote Yes, you will lose your health coverage on January 1.”
Truth: You will not lose anything on January 1, the contract extension will be in full force and so will your health coverage. In addition, there is zero chance this contract will be ratified by January 1. Several supplements and riders have not even been voted yet, and no vote is scheduled. The biggest local union of all, Louisville Local 89, is holding out for a good contract rider and has no plans to bring a crappy deal up for a vote. So in addition to our South West Rider going down, there are others in Ohio, Indiana, Kentucky, Pennsylvania and New Jersey open and active.
Lie #2: “UPS is getting out of the health care business.”
Truth: UPS is very big in the health care business, and insisting that all UPS Freight Teamsters stay in a company plan. Tens of thousands of managers and Teamster retirees are in company plans, and management is demanding that all UPS Freight Teamsters be in a company plan for the next five years at least. Why? Because UPS Freight Teamsters get inferior (read: cheap for the company) coverage, so management is only too happy to keep them there.
Why are they always lying to try to get us to vote Yes?
Because the truth is, after we voted nearly 3-1 against our contract and the South West Rider, they have not bargained anything from the company. They improved our health benefits by diverting future money that is supposed to go into improving our pensions. Voting yes will not get a raise a minute faster, because the whole contract must be ratified. Many supplements and riders are still bargaining, with no vote expected until 2014. They are fighting for a good contract.
One more No vote will force them back to the bargaining table for real changes in the contract.
November 12, 2013: UPS Teamsters in the Western Region Supplement and Southwest Rider are being kept in the dark about their new contract language. Click here to shine a light and find out about your contract details before you get your ballot in the mail.
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