This week much of my duties were focused on the upcoming driver bids. Anyone who like me hasn’t previously worked in a field with union workers may be unfamiliar with some of the rules, regulations and practices that are in place for delivery drivers. for clarity, I’ll just cover some basics. Bidding occurs once a year, where in order of seniority, the drivers choose the route package that they will run for that year. The standard route should stay mostly the same with small changes for business added or lost and some off day deliveries. There are still opportunities to cover other drivers bids when they take vacations or personal days, and there are other drivers who choose to stay on the “Extra board” meant exclusively to cover personal and sick days or week long vacations. Bidded routes that will be open for an extended period of time, due to most frequently injuries, must be posted so that higher seniority guys have the first choice over extra board.
Coming into this week we knew that we were losing some business out on the western side of the state and needed to completely reroute the businesses that were staying. This caused a decrease in need for shuttle drivers who would now be competing for the same bids as the other delivery drivers. There was a lot of questions swarming around who would get what routes and it was funny how it seemed like the drivers knew who would get what bid before we did because they all gossip so frequently. The process of creating these thick bid books for all 80 drivers was resource draining, but had to be followed precisely according to the union contracts. Also time consuming, was calling each and every driver as they were out somewhere on the road delivering their current bids and unable to answer sometimes for hours at a time. The bidding takes a full two days and at the end we had to create the schedule for next week opening a full 12 bids of vacations, personal days and injuries. These open bids then offered to the extra board in another series of calls. It is interesting to see how even in a large company these tasks are done mostly by hand as so much changes from week to week.