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2/8/12

FedEx Ground's Au Revoir

It's been many weeks since I last updated this blog. I am sorry. I fell through the rabbit hole, and other things. Allow me to bring you up to date. In case you are wondering what this blog is about right now, it's about work: finding work, working, work conditions, and so forth. 

My last job was at FedEx Ground, where I was a seasonal package handler. That assignment ended on January 5. I have a couple of things to say about that and FedEx Ground. 


The managers at FedEx Ground San Diego broke their promise of employment through January 11. That had been our initial agreement. FedEx Ground's "Peak Season" was not as "peak-like" as they would have liked it to be, so they decided to take it out on us, by letting us go early. In management's infinite wisdom, this turned out to be a big mistake on their part. The next few days after letting us go, they were slammed with an unexpected surge in packages. 


I learned this through Mara (a fictional name) who is a permanent package handler. She was working at the beginning part of a belt, pushing them down. The personnel down the line were failing to keep up with the packages, so they started falling off the belt and onto the floor. Barker, one of the very poor lead managers, tried to blame the chaos on Mara. Mara stood her ground, clarifying to Barker that if they had not let go of key seasonal workers so early, this would not be happening. She added that if Barker kept harassing her, she would quit. Barker, characteristically, backed off. 


In addition to letting go of us early, San Diego FedEx Ground also paid us with Citibank Pay Cards instead of a good old fashioned paycheck. Apparently, they wanted to be cut of all ties with us the moment we stepped off the dock on January 5 because before we left they issued us Citibank Pay Cards with the full balance of our wages up until that day. 


Pay Cards look like credit cards. You can claim your wages in different ways using them. They come with checks, so you can write a check out to yourself and take it to your bank, or a Wal-Mart. You can take the card into a Citibank branch and withdraw the balance of your funds. You can also use it as a debit card and consume until your wages have been spent. 


I don't like Pay Cards. I didn't like these Pay Cards, specifically, because they were issued by Citibank, one of the financial institutions that trashed the United States economy. So when I saw the card, I thought to myself: Do I want a card from such a crooked organization like Citibank? 


Pay Cards are a way for corporations to try to control your wages by encouraging you to consume, since they work like debit cards. They are also a way to make Citibank money through the fees it can charge you for using it as a debit card. 


None of this would have been a problem for me because I have enough discipline to take an instrument like this and figure out a way to get my wages without giving them one more cent of my hard-earned wages. This is what I would have done if SD FedEx Ground had not FUCKED UP in the issue of these Pay Cards. 


They made two major mistakes in processing them to us workers. One was that the checks that came with the Pay Cards were not processed correctly. These checks in order to be validated at any respectable bank, or a Wal-Mart, needed to be printed with a serial number across it. These checks were not. 


The second mistake they made was that they simply put some checks in the wrong envelopes. I learned about this mistake from my friend and co-worker Thomas. 


He told me that when he got home, management called him and said that they had accidentally given him another worker's card, and vice versa. As if this wasn't bad enough, they then expected for Thomas and the other co-worker to meet on their OWN time to exchange checks! Never mind that these people lived on opposite sides of the county! 


As for me, I overreacted to the fact that my checks were not printed with the necessary serial numbers across them. I thought that I was going to need to spend my way to my wages, rather than being able to claim them and then deposit them in my checking account (where they belonged). In my frustration and anger at FedEx Ground, I overlooked the option of going into a Citibank branch and using my card to withdraw my funds. 


This lapse of knowledge on my part resulted in a permanent schism between myself and a key manager. I called her and told her that they needed to do the Pay Cards RIGHT next time. She didn't take this very well and she never accepted responsibility for the fact that, indeed, they bore some responsibility for the Cards not being issued properly. 


But still, why in the hell did I need go out of my way to get my wages after the hard work that I gave FedEx Ground during their peak season? I had electronic deposit setup by the way. Why did I have to drive an extra ten miles, spend an hour on the phone with Citibank trying to figure out the original problem with my check? In a world where time is money, this driving around and phoning cost me MONEY. 


Did FedEx Ground keep me on the dock one minute more than they needed ME? No, they did not. Fuck FedEx Ground, and while we are on the subject, FUCK its consumers. Yeah! You! Fuck speed, Now, overnight - for patronizing an abusive, union-busting, predatory corporation.