The chicken dance
There are those among you who are beginning to sound the alarm that the once sweet and wonderful Rosalie may have turned into a bitter old crone in her old age. You yearn for the days of wonderful prose about how great the world is, or how great the world can be. If you are a bleader in this category, you might consider skipping this edition of The $10 Life.
Yesterday, I got the news that two of my extended family members were unceremoniously tossed from their jobs for no good reason.
Family member number one has worked for Canada Post for a couple of years in its call centre. He is a good natured, punctual, polite human being. A few months back, he was told that Canada Post was outsourcing its call centre to whatever Third World country came up with the lowest bid, but he was assured that his job was safe until January. In the meantime, he’s been going to school part-time to become qualified for a real job.
Last week, his contract was terminated — three months early. Why? No reason given. Time to get his life together and find another ghetto job? None. He was told to finish his shift and get out. Pointe finale.
The other relative — okay it’s Nick — got a low paying job at Loblaws about a month ago in the section where you get your salads and pre-cooked chickens. He has never been late for work, and often went in early to help out. A couple weeks back, he had an entire flat of chickens — about a hundred pounds of cluckers — fall on him, leaving him in excruciating pain; still he persevered.
Last week, the health inspectors came in and gave his manager a citation for multiple health code infractions including running a faulty chicken cooking machine — salmonella come on down. In his quest to be a good employee, Nick expressed some concerns to his manager about the level of health and safety in the store. Yesterday, she rewarded his conscientiousness by giving him his walking papers. Actually, what happened was that his name wasn’t on the schedule, and he enquired about his hours and he heard this: “Sorry, it’s not working out.”
The manager gave no reason for letting Nick and another employee go because they were still on probation. So, Nick is out on his ear, with no notice. His only crime was that he was conscientious.
Here are two examples of how big companies use contracts and part-time status to screw their workers. Relative number one was on a contract, so he had no rights even though he had worked at Canada Post for two years. Nick had no rights because he was part-time and still on probation.
Both guys are now in serious trouble in terms of paying their rent and bills. Big Grocery doesn’t care about Nick or any of its employees. After all, it has spent months trying to bust its union while spending millions on warm and fuzzy commercials about ice cream and no bank fees. The Big Bad Post Office would rather send good paying jobs to countries where they can exploit workers — all the while treating its existing employees like fodder for the recycle.
Given its monopoly status, there isn’t much we can do about the Post Office — except use Fed Ex or UPS for our package delivery. We can vote with our grocery carts about Loblaws. Tell Galen Weston we don’t like the way he treats his workers, but I’m guessing the other grocery stores aren’t much better in terms of employee relations.
It’s the way the world is going, when we dispose of our employees like so much garbage. In the world of the Big Box Store, it’s profits not people who are important.
But do me a favor, huh? Don’t buy the roti chicken at the downtown Loblaws store if you value your intestines.