The following story is an example of members standing up for themselves to ensure that they are paid properly. The names of those involved have been shorted or changed to protect the privacy of those involved.
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This is my own story. Brother Kevin is the only other hand I remember from the job. He is now a 48 hand, I believe, and 100% traveller – like owns a big RV and lives in it. He’s 50ish. Janet Lewis also can verify this story, and she may well know some others on that job.
We took calls for a project at SeaTac airport for runway lighting work in August 2002. This was preparatory for the 3rd runway. I was actually a “poacher” here, as the e-board had declined my membership transfer from local 134. Tony was the night foreman, and I actually don’t think there was a day crew.
Things started off badly with Tony saying something to Kevin that Kev took as threatening. Tony didn’t apologize, he tried to minimize it as “just street talk”, and gave Kevin a continual hard time.
We weren’t ever making it to our cars, parked in the same yard as the trailer and connexes, by end of shift, which was 3 or 4 a.m. I think. Except for one real worm trying to get on steady, everyone was complaining, and a few spoke directly to Tony about it. Tony again refused to apologize, but would take an attitude of we had no reason to complain. In fact we weren’t even off the airfield/tarmac on time consistently. We were only getting 40 hr checks.
One evening, a few weeks into the job, all but Tony and the worm were back at the trailer, just a few minutes before end of shift, and I piped up and told my co-workers that somebody needed to deal with the situation, and I’d be willing to deal with it, but didn’t intend to take over, especially since I was not yet a local member. Everyone was happy to let me do it. I’d been keeping accurate notes on my Palm Pilot, and called the hall and got Janet. She was surprised and pleased that I had such meticulous notes. She told me to continue to do so, because they were vital for dealing with the situation. I don’t know if she ever called the contractor or not. Things didn’t change, and on the rare occasion that we were all back to the trailer on time, nothing was said. I reminded my co-workers that I was keeping accurate records and working with Janet. In any case, we all got laid-off the same night in late November, at the end of the job, and I gave Janet final and complete records of times we arrived at, and left the trailer at the beginning and end of the shift every day.
About a week later we all got a call from Janet to either go to the contractor office or call them to mail a check for unpaid time. Although it should have been paid as O.T., we were paid for about 40 hours of time, which is what Tony had attempted to beat us out of. I don’t know if Janet didn’t think of the O.T. element or what.
Kevin thanked me, and so did Janet. Believe it or not, I still hold Janet in higher esteem than any of the Rep’s! She GETS SHIT DONE!!!