Wednesday, October 5, 2011


In 1979, at International on 2nd Shift, one of my guys named Steve Schneider had called for the Committeeman because he felt that his job breakdown (for non-factory people that means the work assignment broken down into its individual elements) was unfair. We'd had a schedule change which meant that all the job breakdowns needed to be adjusted to accomodate the new schedule. All of the supervisors and managers worked on Saturday to re-write the existing breakdowns. My 1st Shift counterpart, David, and I worked on the breakdowns for our area. He had more experience than I and I deferred to his expertise. When our superiors, Leon and Gary, checked over the breakdowns they were approved.

When I tried to implement the new breakdowns only 1 duo in the department was having problems. They had done the job before the breakdown with no problem achieving production and I could see that were working very diligently but could not get the job completed by the end of the shift. There were four different models of floors on their breakdowns. I knew that their counterparts on 1st Shift had no problem (because my brother Neil and his co-worker were on the job) as they would be getting done when I came into work.

Every night Steve and his partner would work until the last minute but could not get done! I could not figure it out. I asked my boss Leon for help--he was known as the King of Breakdowns--and he looked at the breakdown--but NOT at the job, and he concluded that I needed to "stay on their asses". There I was, the formerly 100% Productivity Queen with a happy workforce, NOW with angry employees: not only were Steve and his co-worker unhappy but also others in the section were because they saw there was something "wrong" and it wasn't being fixed.

When the Committeman came, I saw him stop by the Steward and the Steward directed him toward Steve and his co-worker. They did not stop working so I did not interfere. Soon I heard Steve and the Committeeman having words, very loudly. They had quit working and I went to the area and heard the Committeeman tell Steve that they were not going to ask for a new time study because those times had been bought. ["being bought" meant that the Union had agreed with the Company on the time study when it was timed] I told the Committeman that he could not interfere with production. Steve said to the Committeeman, "Yeah, get away from me, you fat mother-f*****, at least Sue knows how to pronounce my name right!"

The Committeeman followed me to my desk and he said, "I told them the times were bought and they'd have to do the best they could." I said, "Well the best they can do isn't good enough, there's something wrong!"

The next day I stopped to see my brother as he was preparing to "hit the showers"; he and his counterpart had finished their quota for the day. I said, "What's wrong with the breakdown on Second Shift?" He laughed and waved a green sheet of paper which of course I recognized as a transfer paper; he would be leaving the Department in 3 days. He said, "When you and Davey did the breakdowns I told him that if he guaranteed that 1st shift did all #1 and #2 floors that I would guarantee him 100% production every day." I said, "But all the breakdowns have different times because of the number of nuts." Neil said, "BUT I did the time studies on #1 and #2 and I know how EASY they are!"

1st Shift dictated the daily schedule and my counterpart David had manipulated the schedule to fit my brother's demand.

I told Neil, "I'm going to Leon and Gary." Neil said, "Not for two days!" I said, "You're going to be here for 3 more days!" He said, "No, I've got a PAA Day on Friday!"

I went to Leon and we both went to Gary, who was Leon's 1st Shift counterpart. When David came in to the office after the shift, all of the 1st and 2nd Supervisors and Department Heads were there which was the usual daily routine.

If I live to be 100, I shall never forget how Gary handled it. Gary didn't even look up from his desk, but said, "David, change the schedule Friday and give those kids on Second Shift floors some gravy." Of course I knew that he later "reamed David a new one" because David told me about it. David said, "I don't know how Gary found out about it." At that time nobody knew that Neil was my brother; people only learned that during the strike! When David learned about Neil being my brother he said, "He's the ONE who told you!" I said, "Blood is thicker than floor panels, but it's not thicker than a job breakdown; he would never have told me except he was being transferred!" David said, "That S.O." Of course David was about to say "S.O.B." but he knew he would be referring to MY mother also! I said, "You shouldn't have been duplicitous, David!" David said, "Well, you beat me on Productivity every day and Gary got on me every day!" I said, "You should've trusted your mangagement partner instead of your Union buddy!"

I would never allow anybody to say a negative word about Gary and one time Gary asked me to help with an outside pet project of his--Junior Acievement--and he had asked several others to help who were "too busy"; one of them asked how Gary had "rooked" me into helping and I answered, "I would do almost anything I could for him."

Gary was a great boss. Demanding and fair.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

"GRAVY"--I love that!