Sunday, February 5, 2012

Memories of a bad employer and all the broken promise and lies

I was working down on the river the other day on a tow boat doing repairs to its fire system . while taking a break with the rest of those working I recognized the one repairman as some one I worked with many years ago when I was working as security guard part time while getting my business started .
We had both worked on the project when they replaced the Sewickley Bridge in 1980 he was one of the barge hands who tied up the barges and tow boats with cranes they used each day and would hand off the gate keys to me as I started my watch along the river at night.
At the time I was working for CPP security also known as California Plant Protection which was sold and is now out of business. The man who ran CPP in Pittsburgh ,Maurice seemed like a decent guy that is till this job. One thing Marice promised me and 5 other who helped start CPP as the first 6 hired guards where we where going to be promoted to supervisor positions in the company
as time went on. Well I was the last of the 6 to leave and none of us ever got any kind of promotion
despite numerous awards I got while working as a guard. Nothing but promises and lies as usual from all the different company's I worked for seems like all I ever ran into where the scum of the earth when it came to company's who where hiring at the time. But those where bad times back then the steel mills and many supplying businesses had closed and everyone was desperate for work and just looked the other way when things where wrong. People wonder why I went independent and started my own company. Well if you went thru and saw in my life what I saw going on you would have as well.
It was great they could say they had an Eagle Scout working for them and that's as far as it ever went. Promises, promise, promises and lies is all I ever got from any employer .
I applied at a now closed hospital one time in the maintenance dept. after trade school counselor gave me the lead was told by foreman I would start at $6.50 an hour that was pretty good as minimum was $2.35 an hour to go down to HR dept and be told I would start at minimum needless to say I told them No that's not what I was told up stairs and walked away.
The school counselor was angry I did not take job till I told him what went on needless to say they never referred any one else there.
One time I walked from Neville Island to downtown Pittsburgh about 9 miles and put in applications every where , nothing. I waked and took a bus all over Pittsburgh and nothing but crap jobs and even crappier employers.
Strange thing now as I look back at all the places I worked for as a maintenance man till my 6 months and time to join union came up and they always had some excuse to lay you off just the way they did business back then or places guarded or guard company I worked for in my days before I went out on my own in 1981 . 99% of them are gone they no longer exist 30 + years later .
Just goes to show you what kind of employer and business practice they kept.

So on with what was going on along the river. When we first started guarding the river bank where equipment and staging was set up we also had to put on a life vest and walk out on the gang plank and make sure the barge lines where tight to make sure the barges where secure and not ready to slip away down stream in the Ohio river which could have been a bad situation.
Well in the summer time and it not getting dark till 9 pm not a big deal not having any lights along walkway etc and even when it was dark you could still see by moon light . The contractor whose name I forget t this point promised to get lights up in a few weeks and a phone close by well
time goes on and nothing is happening. Now come on how hard is it to string up a few lights and a phone there was no excuse for this. Well one evening when my shift was up at 11pm Denny came to relive me for the 11pm to 7 am shift.
and it was the usual warm normal night except he would supposedly get attacked that night along the river.( later found out it was all a lie he did it because he was afraid to work this job due to no lights. The next few nights I was assigned to a different site they needed help at and when I got back down to the river 2 weeks later still no lights or close by phone. Remember there where no portable or cell phones back then and no OSHA things would have been a lot more different today. Well I had enough I left a note on the superintendents desk wanting to know why things where not done and why they where putting our lives at risk now that a guard got attacked. Well next morning I get a nasty call from Maurice all upset I left the note I told him screw you,Its my life on the line down here not yours you where told and did nothing I was tired of excuses from everyone.
Needless to say after the note the lights and phone where put in. almost 4 months after we started the guard duty there. I stopped working for CPP that winter taking a better job with another guard outfit till they too lost some contracts and at that point I had had enough with the guard bit and since all the mills went down and no one was hiring and I had enough customers and income to run my business full time in 1981 .
and never looked back.
It is a shame how people are ready and willing to put other peoples lives at risk . especially during hard times I see it all going on again with the current economy and plenty of psychopath bosses and managers which studies now confirm .Thank God for OSHA who put these type of employers in there place when these corporate pukes will not do the right thing . I ran into Maurice couple years after that
and he was all upset that I had started an alarm business he said it took jobs from guards .
I laughed and said that's right so people like you can not exploit them any more and walked away.I understand Maurice is retired and lives up north some where now a days.
I have never run into any of they guys I worked with from back then, unfortunately most moved out of state to find work and many of them are now retired or dead.

There are still good employers around Pittsburgh they just where not hiring back then . But when you look at things all the way around all the great people I have met and people I have helped and lives I have saved it was a good thing I went out alone. having survived Stage IV Colorectal Cancer I do not know how much longer the good lord has planned for me to have on earth and my time working has been greatly reduced only part time now . But as long as I can keep contributing to this world in some manner as good ,bad and ugly as it is I will to try and do the right thing.

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