Interesting Stuff

The UPS Shooting In Birmingham, And My Bad Experience Being A Driver

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Today, major news happened out of Birmingham at a UPS facility.  A former UPS employee, who was fired on Monday, returned to the facility this morning wearing his uniform, not to work, but to use a gun.  Three people are dead, including the gunman.  Employees at the facility were questioned and interviewed, and UPS sent out a statement about the incident.

Instead of talking about the victims and their families, some people on the comment sections of sites like AL.com, and the comment sections on Facebook and Twitter, have already inserted their two cents saying “this is what happens when a place is gun and weapon free.”  Or “if other employees were armed, this would not have happened.”  Obviously some people have nothing good to say about this news event.

What I really want to talk about in this post, is how hard your delivery driver has it in their jobs.  I was once a former delivery driver for FedEx in Anniston.  And my route you ask, was 70 miles up the road and took 90 minutes just to get to the route area of Guntersville.   I was often out for around 12 hours a day. But on some days, I was out delivering up to 14 to 16 hours a day. The shipping companies set up their delivery routes based on zip codes. And Guntersville has such a large zip code!

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Guntersville is very unique because of the lake and mountains. Most of the time, I had to take one windy, narrow road for a couple of miles to deliver one package. And this took up to one hour at times to deliver one package. This meant I was out up to 10 pm some nights. There was another truck where it did businesses and homes in the downtown area.  I did all the areas outside of downtown.  The other truck had to be back to the terminal by 7 pm so the picked-up packages could be shipped out to Atlanta, and remember it’s 90 minutes down the road. I gave all of my pick-ups to the other truck and continued to deliver the rest of my packages, even if it was 10 pm at night.  People were not happy seeing me at their front door so late at night.

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I got calls from the terminal every night to send my scanner information wirelessly back to the terminal.  This was at around 8 pm at night, and I still had a 90 minute drive ahead of me.  Some nights when I got back to the terminal, the office had their lights off and the door was locked, I hate being the last one there.  To sum things up, the delivery company brought in a lawyer and I was interviewed, then fired me for breaking federal law.  The contractor who I worked for was also fired but sued and brought me in to testify, but the delivery company won.

Drivers got to the terminal at 6 am and were out by 7:30 am to 8 am.  Drivers were often out for a very long time, some were out up to 16 hours a day and were delivering up to 10 pm and even midnight. Yep, I did some deliveries like that.  And the people at those homes were angry!  Who wants a delivery person showing up at their door at 10 pm at night?  I had a couple of times where the person answering the door was pointing a gun or was about to call the police.  And did you know that federal law requires all drivers not to drive over 11 hours a day?  During the Christmas Season, the rule book was thrown out the window.

If you are expecting a package from UPS, FedEx, or another delivery company, here are some things you need to consider!  One, be thankful to those delivery drivers who are working up to 12 hours a day five days a week, and 14-16 hours six days a week during the Christmas Season. They are tired, hungry, and can’t wait to get home. Drivers mostly don’t even have the time to take a break to get a bite to eat.  And yes, male drivers will find a quiet spot on a rural road to take a pee break to save time. I did that several times.

I am afraid during the upcoming Christmas season that some customers will ship at the last-minute, and whine that their Christmas package did not make it by Christmas.  Here is some advice if you are shipping during the Christmas Rush,  I would not choose standard shipping after December 1st. It is worth your time to choose express delivery and pay extra after December 1st.  One, because there are many more express terminals than standard ground terminals.  And two, unless you ship right before Christmas, you will get your packages.  UPS and FedEx needs to end guarantees for 2-day and next day delivery after December 20th.  You should NEVER order something that close to Christmas and expect it by Christmas, never!

The driver who was fired from UPS, then took revenge, probably was doing something not right, and was told he was no longer welcome.  I have gone through that nasty firing from a delivery company.  I was fired from FedEx, then the contractor I worked for was fired, then the contractor sued FedEx, and I was brought in to testify in court, and the contractor lost, and end of story.  People who work in UPS, FedEx, USPS, and other delivery companies, work extremely long hours (11-13 hours a day) for little pay.  While I was working at FedEx and working up to 14-16 hours a day, I was only paid around $350 a week.

UPS and FedEx are increasing hiring for the upcoming Christmas season after the failures from last year.  I am just afraid the shipping companies are going to mistreat more employees, and this could cause more violence.  I think it’s time FedEx, UPS, USPS, and other delivery companies to treat their employees with more respect.  How about making the routes shorter, increasing their pay, treating their employees with respect, and how about FedEx end their practice of classifying employees as contractors, that would be great!

If you want to read more about my experience at FedEx and being a delivery driver, read my article “Confessions From A Former Delivery Driver.”  Delivery drivers needs to be treated with more respect, it could have prevented this shooting in Birmingham today.