Fighting For Us All

Fighting For Us All

A Story by Barbara Walker
"

Trying to fight injustice for a group of employees. Their backbones turned to mush after I aired our complaint in a group meeting. Some names changed to keep me from being sued. True story.

"
 I always believed in fighting for the the underdog. I did it in elementary school long, long ago when it was unheard of to look, talk or be any different from the next kid. There was a chubby boy who was bullied by the other kids and I was sick of it! I suppose it did help that I was a tomboy and the other kids knew that I would back my play. During one of his torture sessions from the other kids, I spoke up loudly, telling them to knock it off. I let them know it was old and if they wanted to play that game, they could go through me first. They looked at me like I was a very strange specimen, indeed, but they left him alone after that.
Fast forward twenty-five years and I was working in a warehouse doing work I loved. It was the type of work I had been doing for six years, but with a new employer.

It was lunch time and many of us were in the break room. Someone began talking of there being a big move of our company to a bigger building across town. Bruce said the move was to be the following weekend. We, normally, worked Monday through Friday, but I said, "Well, it's a b***h having to work the whole weekend, but I could use the overtime."
I heard a few titters, then Bruce said, "Overtime? Overtime, hell, we aren't getting paid straight time! You all be sure to show up!"
I told Bruce, "Wait! If I have to work, I have to pay a babysitter. The owner of this company expects us to work the whole weekend without pay? That isn't right!"
Everyone agreed it wasn't right, they were upset and so was I. 
I announced that I was going to talk to the owner, Mr. Jackson, before the weekend.
Everyone nodded at me and I asked if they would back me up, as to how we all felt. 
Everybody nodded, enthusiastically, some saying, "Sure, right!"
Being thrown to the wolves never felt so good!

A few days later, it was announced that there would be a meeting of everyone before the move to discuss logistics. 
Perfect, I thought.

At the time of the meeting, we all gathered in a big room. We sat down and the owner began talking of the move;who would be where and what they would be doing. After the assignments, Mr. Jackson asked if there were any questions.
I raised my hand, he acknowledged me and I stood up. " Mr. Jackson, a few of us have to pay babysitters for the weekend and we were wondering if we are getting paid for the weekend move." 
He looked at me and his face looked like he had just swallowed a lemon. The room was unbelievably quiet. Mr. Jackson looked around at my fellow coworkers and they all hung their heads. Not one person would look at him. He exploded!
"Is that what you all want"?? I looked at him and nodded, but I was alone. Then, he said, " Well, maybe you all better decide if you want paid sick days and paid holidays!" 
(We had one paid holiday a year and four paid sick days. It was on the low end of the benefits pole for the times.)
He muttered and he sputtered, but never answered my question. He ended the meeting.
The next day, I was working amongst the shelves, when I saw Mr. Jackson. He approached me with an unreadable face. Then, he said that he had thought about what I had said at the meeting and he would pay us to work the weekend. I smiled and told him, "Thank you."
Then he said, "I'm paying you all straight time. None of that over time or double time crap!"
I figured I'd accept this small victory. 
As he turned to walk away, he said, " But, from now on, employees benefits don't begin until they've been here for six months, instead of 90 days."
I looked at his retreating back and thought, " You son of a b***h!"
I had been working there for two and a half months.
I was the only employee it affected!

© 2016 Barbara Walker


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Featured Review

this must have been from a while ago ... or now with a little Nazi owner-operator ... you should feel very proud of yourself for standing up ..especially in your growing years ... i know that my opportunities to take the side of an underdog have "came and went" .. and i am ashamed of myself because of it .. tho i got better at it after grade school ... high school we did have each others backs .. we get stronger doing "the right thing" ... may i assume you found a better company to work for after all that? ... love and peace!
E.

Posted 4 Years Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

Barbara Walker

4 Years Ago

Yes, it was about 32 years ago. I didn't work there, even a year. When I gave him my notice, he said.. read more
Einstein Noodle

4 Years Ago

ahahah! good for you young lady!! :)



Reviews

Oh my!! I am glad you stood up to that horrible man, what a jerk! At least you have a good story out of the experience, I very much enjoyed reading this!:)

Posted 4 Years Ago


Barbara Walker

4 Years Ago

Thank you!
this must have been from a while ago ... or now with a little Nazi owner-operator ... you should feel very proud of yourself for standing up ..especially in your growing years ... i know that my opportunities to take the side of an underdog have "came and went" .. and i am ashamed of myself because of it .. tho i got better at it after grade school ... high school we did have each others backs .. we get stronger doing "the right thing" ... may i assume you found a better company to work for after all that? ... love and peace!
E.

Posted 4 Years Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

Barbara Walker

4 Years Ago

Yes, it was about 32 years ago. I didn't work there, even a year. When I gave him my notice, he said.. read more
Einstein Noodle

4 Years Ago

ahahah! good for you young lady!! :)
I like this story!
Keep it up!!

Posted 4 Years Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

Barbara Walker

4 Years Ago

Thank you!
There was a time when this kind of behavior was attempted. And I actually worked for someone who - because I was salaried, actually had us move on a weekend without pay. AAAAAND. When I asked for vacation time (I had four weeks accrued but as the accountant - it was difficult for me to actually take the time off) the owner asked me how much time I had. I told hm and he said "that's too much I need to talk to someone and get that changed" So the policy was changed and I lost a week of vacation time. I was in the administrative dept and not the operations department - those in that dept got to accrue up to four weeks but admin were dropped to three. We also lost two days of sick time. So, for me this is believable.

Posted 4 Years Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

Barbara Walker

4 Years Ago

That was a raw deal, especially making it retroactive. I can remember bussing tables as a teenager a.. read more
There is no point in trying to stand up for people if they are not willing to help you face the consequences with you. No offence but your fellow co-workers are pretty weak, to not stand by you. but i applause to you personally for standing up for yourself and the others, especially when they stayed the hell down during the meeting.

Posted 4 Years Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

Barbara Walker

4 Years Ago

Yeah, that's why I specifically asked them if they would back me up. If I had known they were all go.. read more
 The Realist

4 Years Ago

Your very much welcome.
Years ago my mother stood up for others and she got fired also. Your story happens often. Sad part, thanks to two weak presidents. Big business got stronger. Thank you for sharing the excellent poetry.
Coyote


Posted 4 Years Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

Barbara Walker

4 Years Ago

Thank you Johnnie!
Coyote Poetry

4 Years Ago

You are welcome my friend.
First sentence, you have a stray "he" that needs to be deleted.

More "standing up to the man" stories... it's been a theme lately.

Completely unbelievable. An employer would risk huge lawsuits and massive fines by demanding you move COMPANY property without being paid? Ha.... That's laughable, saving a couple grand by risking several million and the financial welfare of a company? Nah, not likely. Even a complete moron would understand he is risking his entire company for a really s****y reason.

Also, why would he specifically tell you about his change to employee benefits? Even if he was singling you out no one would be so stupid as to make it that obvious. He's just put that s**t in a memo or address you as a group. Again, the way you wrote it --- lawsuit.... a huge one.

Even for fiction this is not a believable story, therefore.... I don't like it. Sorry. The writing was fine though... you got that going on at least.




Posted 4 Years Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

G, David D

4 Years Ago

Ha... yeah. I've got some stranger than fiction things myself, I know what you mean. I should of.. read more
Barbara Walker

4 Years Ago

Ha! I could take that two ways-either you're being sarcastic (oh, no, not YOU) or you haven't seen h.. read more
G, David D

4 Years Ago

It's whatever you want it to be.
And since it applied to everyone who had been there under three months (just you), its all fair, right? Nice connecting of two stories.

Posted 4 Years Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

Barbara Walker

4 Years Ago

Thank you for reviewing S. Mi.
Hmm. So no one spoke up at all. Gotta love when people have your back and then back away. Still, you have to stick up for yourself.

Posted 4 Years Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

Barbara Walker

4 Years Ago

Thanks for reading Ana. I wrote this for a contest and think I forgot to submit it. yeah its ok no o.. read more
Matching Socks

4 Years Ago

You're welcome.

Maybe you can still submit? :)

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9 Reviews
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Added on April 1, 2016
Last Updated on April 13, 2016
Tags: work, warehouse, overtime, benefits

Author

Barbara Walker
Barbara Walker

Lake Havasu City, AZ



About
I am retired from the Postal Service. I find I write poetry to help myself through difficult times and I have written many poems in response to the chronic pain I've been living with for over 30 year.. more..

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