Monday, September 2, 2013

Labor Day repost: I Made the 1% Rich

Labor Day is a good time for a repost from October of 2011, in the midst of the Occupy! days.

According to that pizza-making idiot who wants to be president next year, it's my fault I'm not an entitled elitist rich raging asshole like him.

But actually, it's because of minimum-wage workers like me that he's an entitled elitist rich raging asshole. He didn't get there on his own, no matter what he wants you to believe.

No. His millions came because of waitresses and kitchen staff in his Godfather's restaurants, people who worked for whatever the company could get away with paying. His money came from regular people like me busting their asses for 40 hours a week, or maybe working more than one job.

I knew people like that in my last job, as a delivery driver for one of the national auto parts chains. I hired on in early 2007, working full time and getting a little more than $7 an hour. Because it was February, once my 90 day probation was done, I still couldn't get into the health plan, since enrollment only happened in January.

But their plan was utter crap; the one I could afford wouldn't cover much of anything. The one I needed was too expensive. I did without.

No raises for ANYbody. Most of the other drivers and counter staff who'd been there as long or longer than me hadn't gotten a raise in years. Every time someone brought it up with management, they'd get runaround, or told to talk to the district manager, who would just give more runaround and excuses.

But the store managers got their bonuses. The DM got his bonus. His boss got his bonus, and so on. Us non-management types got a share in the "store bonus," which was based on overall sales for that store. If your sales are down, you don't get the extra few bucks.

All the while, the DM was screaming that payroll had to be cut, no new hires, no overtime for anyone. This meant that everyone but the store managers got cut back to 30 hours or less and the stores were running on skeleton crews. Customers would complain--both walk-in and commercial--because there weren't enough people to handle the workload. There were only 4 people in my store in the morning: two drivers, one at the Commercial desk (selling parts to local repair shops), and the store manager running the front, alone, until the afternoon guy came in. This freed the manager to go do paperwork, make the bank deposit, and grab lunch. The Commercial side closed down at 5 pm, the store manager left, and the evening guy came in, leaving two people to run the store to close.

And so both walk-in and commercial customers would go to the competition, because the store managers couldn't do anything about it--can't hire anyone, can't bring extra people in to help--and so the DM would scream about getting sales up.

We two drivers did an awful lot to help--checking in stock, putting it on the shelves, helping customers, re-stocking, putting up displays, answering phones, cleaning, anything and everything. I knew the system well enough to do parts lookups and run a register, run the test equipment (batteries, starters, alternators, ignition modules) and brake lathe, maintained the delivery trucks, maintained store equipment (I rigged up a drain for one of the air conditioners when its pipes got clogged up, re-stocked half the hard parts when the part numbers changed or new stuff came in), and other stuff that a "delivery driver" didn't need to do. This is assuming I wasn't out on a run, where I interacted with the customers, listened to their complaints about how long it was taking to get their parts, told them about the company's cutbacks, and asked them to call Corporate and give them an earful.

Basically--and this isn't an exaggeration--I did everything. Most of us in that one store could handle someone else's job and chip in, because we HAD to. Most of us were making about the same, without raises, with our hours cut, and we heard the same bullshit from Corporate--"More sales! Less payroll!"

We got a new DM in January 2010, the third one since I got hired. This asshole went on vacation in February, but not before showing everyone a sales brochure for his $50,000 boat. Nice.

He started shuffling people around. I got moved to the hub store, which warehoused more parts than the others. I was back on a 40-hour week, which was good, and all I had to do was make 8 circuits a day from the hub to two other stores and back. During one stop, I learned that the Company had posted record profits for 2009, $300 million. The Company guys simply gushed about it on the employee indoctrination information website. We were expected to gush, as well, because we're all one big happy family!

Record profits--but at the cost of cutting payroll hours, running stores with minimal staff, running off customers who weren't getting good service, freezing any raises...basically fucking us over for their big profits.

It was people like me who made that $300 million for the Company, people like me who made those sales and helped those customers, people like me who busted our asses so the Company assholes could enjoy their bonuses and record profits while we decided whether to pay the electric bill, the phone bill, or insurance this pay period.

Car broke down? to juggle the bills around. Maybe one of the shops'll cut me a deal. At least I get a discount on parts.

Lights got cut off? They want HOW MUCH to turn them back on? Well shit, there goes that paycheck. Guess we're hitting Dollar General for mac & cheese, ramen noodles, and tuna sandwiches for the next two weeks.

But did you SEE the District Manager's new $50,000 boat?! It's got wells for keeping bait, it's got a cooler under this seat, a stereo...everything an entitled asshole could want! Maybe if we're productive enough, he'll let us buy some of the fish he caught on vacation while we were keeping his stores alive for him and earning him his next bonus!

Since the Aorta Fairy visited me last year, things have actually gotten worse for my former coworkers. No raises, payroll cut ever further, and the Company's entitled elites making ever more money.

No, we don't owe the fuckers any thanks for allowing us to work for them and bask in their light. They owe us for making them rich. They owe us better wages, better working conditions, some fucking respect for all the work we do to keep their companies going. Without us, their companies die and the money stops flowing. Without us, their customers go somewhere else.

They owe us the courtesy of keeping American jobs in this country, instead of sending them to places where people will work for much less than we will.

Fuck you, Herman Cain.

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