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Thread: Union Story

  1. #1
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    Reading another post reminded me of something that happened to me when I was 21-years old and fresh out of HVAC tech school. I am now 54 and the company I worked for has long been out of business so I can tell this.

    The first HVAC technician job I had was with Montgomery Wards (For those of you too young to know, they were what Sears is today.)

    I was assigned to pick up window AC units bring them back to the shop, clean them and reinstall them at the customers home.

    This was a closed shop and you had to join the union in order to work for them. The union contract was about to expire and the union president held a meeting telling us that we were to get ANYTHING we could on the company that they could use against Wards during the contract meetings.

    Well, I was reading the newspaper and see an an that Wards took out for steam cleaning window air conditioners. I realized that that was me.

    However, we did not own a steam cleaning machine and I was directed to spray the units at the shop with water and dishwashing liquid and then hose them down with water using a regular hose with a nozzle spray attachment.

    The very next day when I was returning a window AC I had cleaned the customer accused me of not having actually steam cleaned the unit. As the honest kid I was, I admitted that we did not even own a steam cleaner.

    The customer called my shop manager and I was called on the carpet for telling the truth. I went directly to the union president and informed him of exactly what happened.

    The next day I was called into the office of the president for the local Wards store and was told I was no longer employed for Wards.

    I informed the president that I had already given all the facts to the union president and he was going to run to the local press with the story especially since the contract as nearly up.

    The Wards president smiled at me and informed me that the local union president will do no such thing as he would lose his 50% gold discount with Wards and he know that. He also informed me that the customer was well taken care of and will not be talking about what happened.

    With no other alternative and as young as I was I just left and located another HVAC job.


  2. #2
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    That was just my introduction to unions. I have been burned by every union I have been a member of including two teachers unions.

    This was not intended to be an anti union post. I just recalled this incident after reading another post.


  3. #3
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    in hindsight, it looks like the union president wasnt even on your side.

  4. #4
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    Norm, I am "pregnant with anticipation" to see what a post of yours will look like if it IS 'anti-union.' LOL
    Everyone has a purpose in life..........even if it's to be a bad example.

    Seek first to understand, before seeking to be understood.

  5. #5
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    Originally posted by lowtemp
    in hindsight, it looks like the union president wasnt even on your side.
    That was the point! He was in the pocket of the company all the time.

  6. #6
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    Originally posted by John Lloyd
    Norm, I am "pregnant with anticipation" to see what a post of yours will look like if it IS 'anti-union.' LOL
    John, if I said everything that I know and have had direct experience with they would send Vinny to see me.


  7. #7
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    Dat be "Two Thumbs" Vinny? Yo! I'm cool.
    Everyone has a purpose in life..........even if it's to be a bad example.

    Seek first to understand, before seeking to be understood.

  8. #8
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    Sep 2002
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    Norm ....I think thats pretty much the way it is most everyware that I have seen. Just from my experiance with unions they wont cross the company for fear that pissing off a boss that has it out for an employee he wants to get rid of, might put the other union employees at risk. Or at least make the boss question being union. Now not trying to start a fight here either but that is what I have seen. I also think it pretty interesting how the little battle is brewing with the unions on their dues going towards electing Democrates running for office. Is that really where they want the dues going , then for retirement and benifites? GONNA BE INTERESTING TO WATCH.

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