15 comments on “Memoirs of a Teamster

  1. oh Paul how much I could relate to this post. I worked for Campbell’s on a six month contract when they decided to go third party with their distribution center. The new company came in and offered us jobs, half of us took them the other half took their buyout from Campbell’s. In the following months the third party slashed our benefits to nothing and our wages by half. also the company was violating Canadian employment and safety standards. We formed a union in response. because of my vocal nature and half-wit intelligence I was quickly nominated as a steward and eventually became the chief steward, I was also a certified member of the health and safety committee during this time. I ended up battling company employees and union, including filing a grievance against them and filing with the Ontario Labour Council for dissolution of union at which point the labour council would step in until we found another union to represent us. We did this because of backroom dealings between company and union. the union was not permitted afterword to meet with the company unless there was representation from the collective present. It is hard to get rid of a union once they in here in Canada and you must give your union the chance to correct its errors before dissolving. the work place was a political nightmare and after five years I left because it was taking a toll on my health I was developing ulcers and my blood pleasure was 220/180…I have avoided union shops ever since, people like us weren’t meant to work in unions Paul. for the record our quota was 250 cases an hour, with those 1’s and 2’s you described it was impossible to do no matter how good the material handler… our best pickers could maybe do half that, and as you know the best pickers are usually senior people and they don’t pick lose cases, they get the plum jobs of full pallets. under our collective we had successfully negotiated seniority got to choose it’s job function so of course senior people aren’t going to want to hump cases and didn’t unless everyone below them was humping cases. I started as a material handler and then moved my way up to where I ran the receiving department for my shift and I was the back up for the shipping co dominator… the jobs paid the same as senior lift truck operators made so in my last year I stepped out and returned to the floor as a forklift operator. thank you for reblogging I so enjoyed this post as it stirred many memories for me…


  2. I was a mainframe system programmer (like a unix system administrator) before I was a software developer (and now a technical support / help-desk monkey). I worked for one state government shop as a consultant where 60% of the staff were consultants like me. Why? The state employees were unionized, and couldn’t be relied upon to put in a decent day’s work. If somebody didn’t like their boss, they’d call up their representative in the state legislature and have them formally investigated…..


  3. being an an independent trucker up until retirement a few years ago.. this subject was oh so familiar…


  4. I worked for 37 years for GE, Appliance division. We had a warehouse at our Louisville Ky manufacturing plant that was the size of 30 football fields. Lots of places to hide. Although I was in management and not affiliated with the warehouse, we watched similar antics. Every year for instance when it came time to plant tobacco and in the fall when it was time to harvest it, the union would file a grievance and they would all walk out. It would get settled after the farming was done. Also don’t know how many forklift drivers I have stumbled across that were asleep. Don’t you just love it????


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