One of the best ways to protect yourself is to do the methods that you are taught. If you don’t know one, then ask your supervisor to teach you. Doing the methods can seem like the longer and slower way to get the job done, and maybe it is. But the methods are the way the company wants the job done and you get paid for the time it takes you to work.
Of course, the Company wants the methods done lightning fast, but what is most important is to work safely and at a sustainable pace.
If the job isn’t finished or “wrapped up” in the time demanded, it is the supervisor’s decision on how to handle the situation. If you feel their decision violates the contract: follow instructions and then file a grievance. Remember, if management does our work themselves, they risk a double time grievance.
If you skip methods, whether it is to get the job done faster or to “hook it up”, supervision may bring you in the office for it. So protect yourself and do the job right. Below is a list of a few methods.
Talk to each other and with your shop steward to learn more.
- Use hand to surface. Don’t use your feet to move boxes and don’t toss them, even if it is a short distance and you do it softly.
- Use proper body mechanics when lifting. Get close to the package. Bend with the knees. Grab opposite corners and test for weight or shifting objects.
- Remember labels up and to the left so your sorter doesn’t get hurt by a pile up of packages. If you bury your sorter in boxes, they can trip and hurt themselves. Watch your flow.
- Ask for help with over 70 lb. packages. It is your contractual right and it is spelled out in Article 44 of the national contract. Not only does this prevent injuries, Teamsters went on strike for this important right. Test your strength safely in the gym, not on the job which can result in injury.
- Punch in to work at your designated area. If you try to avoid appearing late by punching in somewhere else without permission you could land in hot water.
- Use markers or crayons when loading package cars. Don’t skip methods just to wrap up your assignment.
- Load packages in the correct section and shelf, do it in sequential order.
- Use shepherd hooks and loading stands. When you cannot reach something use a shepherd’s hook (pole with a curved end). Don’t jump or climb into a box line cage or walk up a slide.
- Use a load stand instead of tossing boxes up top or tearing down a wall of boxes in a trailer. It’s not fun when someone gets hurt. Use it for that top shelf in package car too!
- Get a supervisor right away if you discover an opened or damaged package. You don’t want to be mistakenly accused of tampering with a package. The accusation of theft is serious. Don’t put your job at risk. If a bargaining unit member (a fellow Teamster) does not tape the box, rewrap it or take it away, talk to your Steward about a grievance. Supervision should not do tape ups or repack merchandise! They can supervise it, but they shouldn’t do our work!