From Greenville, SC — 09/29/2009
I started at UPS as a loader on the local sort (5:30--9:00 pm shift) in the Fall of 2003, and I did so because I needed to get out of debt. The pay wasn't that great ($8.50/hr) to start, but I had a full time job so I was just thankful to have the extra money. I worked hard, received the customary annual raises, and increased my earning potential further by learning skilled positions. In addition, I started driving in April 2006 as a p/t Saturday Air driver, starting at $12.50/hr. In one year I went up to $13.50, and after two years, skyrocketed to top pay, which was $20.62 at the time. So to summarize, I went from $12.50 to $20.62/hr in two years (Saturday pay only), and from $8.50 to $13.22 working M-F after August 2008. Currently, I am a part time air bid driver making over $21/hr, Monday through Saturday. My primary point: I have no complaints at all about the pay!! (On a personal note, I am debt free as of October 2008, thanks in part to UPS). My secondary point is that I needed this job because my situation was desperate, and I was willing to endure the difficult working conditions to accomplish my goals.
I was fortunate to have the respect of my management team for the most part. My local sort manager was (and still is) a very level headed guy who respected his team and the employees that they supervised. He was tough, but he was fair. He held his team accountable and the ones that got out of line he dealt with immediately. Some of the sups did let their authority go to their heads though, and if you made a mistake you knew about it. But I must say that my supervisors usually would comment about a job well done, and the longer I stuck with it, the more respect I earned. Personalities would clash at times, but we'd work through it. My current supervisor is a cool guy and even though there are some communication issues, they are relatively minor compared to some of the issues I have read about in other UPS reviews.
The benefits are second to none. I could never afford benefits at any of the full-time jobs that I worked. After 4-5 months, I was covered, and then my wife and children one month after. They provide excellent medical, dental, vision, and prescription insurance all at no cost to the hourly employee. Currently, a $10 co-pay and no deductible are among the perks of the health insurance program. I currently enjoy holiday pay, 2 weeks of vacation, one week of personal days, and one week of sick days which I could bid as a vacation week if I choose.
Job security is especially certain for those in the union. Certain offenses (workplace violence, dishonesty, theft, etc.) are not tolerated, but lesser offenses (accidents) could mean termination depending on the frequency of their occurence. Most of the time though, with the lesser offenses, the union usually gets the employee's job back, whether it's justified or not in the eyes of management or fellow employees. My experience has been that if you are there to do your job and follow the UPS prescribed work methods, you really don't need the help of the union. I have received warning letters though, but I try to learn from my mistakes, so I've never received more than one letter for the same offense. I have been with UPS now for almost 6 years and thankfully I've never been suspended or threatened with termination.
Since I am currently a part time air driver, my work/life balance is excellent. Once my shift is done (7:30-11:30 am) as a bid air driver, my day is over and I have the rest of the day to do what I wish. Sometimes they need help on the evening shift, but it is purely on a voluntary basis. Rarely is holiday work required, but you're compensated well for it. Time off is easy to get, and they communicate well should an emergency come up. I still work Saturdays, but only because I want to, and it's easy money for me. Full time drivers get paid very well, particularly when they reach top pay after 3 years, but they are under far more stress than part time drivers, and their clock-out times can vary from day to day.
Career potential is great if you're interested in management. I have been encouraged by various supervisors through the years to consider it, but I like the freedom of being an hourly employee. Plus, I've seen the stress that management personnel go through, and it can be rough, particularly at high volume times of the year. You have the opportunity to go full time as a driver or as a specialist (tech support, business development, sales, etc.). The length of time one has to wait for a full time driving position varies from center to center nationwide, but here it was about 5 years before the recession. Part time driver positions such as I have are hard to get, and you can only attain them by beginning as a Saturday air driver.
Location is relatively safe in spite of having no security fences or gates. I am 15-20 minutes away with traffic, so proximity to home is good for me.
As an air-bid driver, there are only 3 others in the building where I work that have the same exact classification. They are all competent at their jobs, but we all work different geographical areas, so my analysis here is limited. When I was a loader though, there was quite a mix of both competent and incompetent workers. I need not say anything more on this issue.
The work environment is certainly not the greatest point about UPS. Hot during the summer, extremely cold during the winter. If you're not careful, you could injure yourself in a myriad of ways around the belts, rollers, chutes, slides, trailers, etc.
In conclusion, I want to say that my situation seems to be the exception rather than the rule (at least from reading other reviews). I am grateful for UPS and the opportunities I have had to advance, but I believe that the Lord Jesus Christ, my personal Savior, made my entire experience at UPS all possible.