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rps, a word of caution.

updated sun 31 aug 97


Talbott on thu 14 aug 97

Here is one opinion ..and Yes I was given permission to forward this on....
Dear Talbotts
I have been hesitant to post my true feelings on the subject of RPS
to the clayart discussion group because I am not usually one to point out
negatives... But the strike of UPS employees has lasted longer than I
thought it would and it sounds like you've got some important stuff to send.
(not that others don't). If you would like, you may pass this info along
but please preseve my anonimity.
When I was an undergrad in Kansas City, I worked at the RPS hub they
had there as a "package handler". It was summer work and did it only one
summer in 1994. The company had a very difficult time hiring people and
then keeping them there. Quality control was very very low and they would
hire anyone at $5.50 per/hr. with a small pizza on Fridays offered to the
employees who actually did their jobs, or stayed for that matter!
Anyway, the quality control issue is what I think will interest you
the most... or the lack thereof. There was a game that some employees
would play (and I assure you that it wasn't me) where (and the supervisors
saw this as it went on) you were to see who could THROW the packages the
furthest into the back of the semi trucks! This included packages of up
to 100 lbs. And since the trucks were loaded by teams of two a hundred
lbs could go a long way! Their game included a point system if breakage
was heard from within the parcel. Packages which were labeled FRAGILE
were at utmost risk (because it was up to the senders to pack their parcels
properly) but even a properly packed package can break when THROWN!!!
My folks own a retail business and have for approx. 22 years so I
am familiar with packing and labeling freight properly for transit but
in my experience with RPS is that;
It doesn't matter if you label FRAGILE or THIS SIDE UP or HANDLE
WITH CARE, because (and most of the people I worked with that summer
were unfortunately the uneducated, burned out and overworked/
underpaid and constantly breathing in fuel for the entirety of
their shifts) there is very low incentive to good work in a dead
end job where the risks to your health and working conditions are
I was astonished by the system and the fact that to get hired you need
only know how to lift and then watch a 30 minute video (which many in my
group fell asleep in) to be hired! I saw boxes labelled HAZARDOUS or
CORROSIVE that were even LEAKING being thrown around! And if a package
handler was reprimanded it was a mere pat on the wrist... They couldn't
fire you cause they needed the help (and I don't even know if RPS is
unionized). They employed many at this hub too. At least 100 per shift and
there were maybe 4 (shifts). At the beginning of each shift the supervisor
would tell each team of two package handlers the packages that got shipped
to the wrong places and there were sometimes quite a few or sometimes
a couple.
This has become very long and I hope you get the point. This is why
I sympathize for the UPS people. From what I know (from friends who have
and do work there) UPS is a much better and well managed company.
Personally I think UPS is an astounding company second to none. I
have had no problems with them, their courtesy or ability to work with
me in any way. If it were me, I would weather the storm out or take some
insurance out on what it was I was sending via RPS.

Best of luck and hope this aids you in your decision!

2nd Annual Clayarters' Gallery details will be forth coming!!!

Celia & Marshall Talbott, Pottery By Celia, Route 114, P O Box 4116,
Naples, Maine 04055-4116,(207)693-6100 voice and fax,(call first)
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