Choleric Serpent on the Left: 2011.11

I started on November 8. The first two days of work were training and filling out forms. The first hour, we watched a video discouraging efforts to unionize. According to the video 1) unions are "private businesses" 2) unions are taxing on a worker's income because they charge union dues and 3) it's simply better to work non-unionized.

Towards the end (of three to four hour period) we did nothing but complete and sign paperwork. These forms included perennials, like the W-9 and your statement of right to work in the United States. Other forms that I was not familiar with included one that stipulated that the employee never represented the company, through speech, writing, or otherwise, in a "negative" way. I do not remember if we had to sign a statement to that effect, or if we simply read this form with this expectation.

I trained with three other men, all Caucasians. I found the last form to be the most interesting. Our trainer, Chandra, stated that filling it out and signing it was optional. In summary, she explained, by completing the form we would give FedEx Ground (to FedEx subsidiary) an opportunity to receive a tax break. I knew what it was about. It is the form where you tell your employer if you are on any kind of welfare, and if so, which.

In hindsight, I appreciate how Chandra informed us that the form was optional. Nowhere else, I have worked before. At Go-Staff Agency and California Marketing, they just threw it at you with the rest of the paperwork as it was mandatory.

Call it passive aggression, call it a failure of team spirit, but I did not feel like providing a global conglomerate to tax break, and thus exercised my choice not to complete it. And it was not one form. It was an entire packet. Larry, Moe, and Jack, my fellow trainees dutifully filled out the forms.

This is how Chandra framed the choice. It was, by the way, tacitly agreed that the default best choice was to give away the midday break:

"Think about it this way, guys. a whole lot extra hour here, or would you rather leave early !? " said Chandra, suggesting that the question was really a non sequitur and that, surely anyone who did not sign was mentally retarded.

From my point of view, I'd rather have something to eat in the middle of the day (and take my time to eat it) then repress my hunger throughout the work shift so that at the end of the day I may have to rush home in order to eat. Basically, for me, it was about my right to relax and take a midday break. Get away from the frenzy for a bit. And finally, if I wait all day to eat, I'm more vulnerable to buy something on the way home (an extra expense) or to gorge when I get home.

At some point during the training, we were given a pamphlet titled "Passport to Safety," which was a brochure all about how to get hurt at work. FedEx Ground insists that the MOST important thing to them, over and above profits and share values, that we are safe at work. This is probably why Chandra chose to skip the part of the Passport that instructed each trainee to show our supervisor that we had mastered proper package lifting techniques. I asked her about it, just to see her fellow trainees' reaction.


"Chandra, are we skipping the lifting demonstration?" I asked, in my most innocent, I-didn't-do-it voice.

I could tell it kind of bothered her, kind of put her on the spot, maybe even laid a bit of guilt on her.

Her reply was sardonic: "Why do you want to?" She chuckled at the end of her question, and my fellow trainees followed suit.

"No," I said, in the same endearing, innocent tone of voice.

In practice, these Purple Promise requirements are degraded to "suggestions." In the rush of the moment, first of all, packages of all sizes routinely fall off the rollers and onto the ground because the belts simply become overwhelmed. Second, as we hustle to move the constant stream of packages onto the appropriate pallets, handling "one package at a time," and always using "hand to surface" methods, are laughable luxuries that only CEO dictating from his 50th floor, air-conditioned office, could afford to fancy.

And speaking of CEO's! (

My second supervisor, a tall, young Latino who I'll refer to Barker, burst my Purple Promise-inspired bubble when on my first day of work, after looking

"What you do is you scan the belt and find common labeled packages! Then you stack < / i> them and carry them to the pallets! That way you take care of two, or three, at a time! Right now you are at the average pace of 150 packets per hour! "

Barker demonstrated with the tinge of violent, angry movement to his body, and then stormed away, with vapors of indignation floating off his skin. He left the same way he had arrived, like a tornado.

Friday, November 18 was my first payday. $ 120. Half of it went to Costco gasoline immediately. $ 10 of it went to my date with Kelle.

  • Adam Floyd