Gotta tell this story...
I took a pt loader job XMas '88 in the San Francisco Hub, which shift was shut down about a year later. You could follow the work to North Bay, but that would be an ugly commute. I instead took an opportunity to transfer to the Preload and asked for one of the lines that was scheduled to transfer to South San Francisco when the expansion there opened up. I was on the driver list and if I ever made it to the top I didn't want to drive in the City.
On my second day loading package cars my supe told me the woman whose job was splitting the belt had gotten injured, and asked me if I was willing to do that job. Now, what they were thinking ever having a woman do that job is beyond me. You start as far up the belt as possible placing the packages forward center or back depending on zip code and which bank of package cars the packages were destined for, and as the flow increased you had to hold back the flow with your left as you flipped and positioned packages with your right until you were finally driven back to the spot where you had to jam in a stop bar. Then you'd start flipping packages over the bar in order to position them, and when the flow backed up over the riser that could take considerable force. Exploding Package Syndrome, as you and the belt combined to tear the package apart in the effort to force it over the bar, was commonplace.
At 6'1", 245 lbs or so I was definately a better prospect for this job than my immediate predecessor. And I look back at it fondly. I had fun doing it. But before agreeing to the switch I had one question -- I'd still get my $1/hr for working Preload, right?
Absolutely no problem, said my new shift manager. And next week when it didn't show up in my paycheck, he was apologetic. No idea why it hadn't gone through. Or next week either. Or the week after that. Or the week after that. Finally the line transferred to South San Francisco and he could stop lying to me about my missing $3.50 a night.
And after a manager in SSF talked to me about my bad mood he got me the dollar and back pay.
I was too wet behind the ears then to think of grieving. Never saw anyone from the union much, and didn't know anything about the contract.
But for the next almost-20 years whenever anyone asked me why I didn't trust management, I had a ready answer: "Let me tell you my Joe Schmoe story!" (not his real name)
Well, I was glad to see Joe Schmoe never went anywhere in the company, except horizontally. A card-playing buddy of his says he took retirement when he qualified for lifetime medical at 55.
Then I hear his name. For the first time, except when I'd brought him up, in a few years.
He's my local's new BA.
(The top spot, btw, is Secretary-Treasurer -- we have two or three BA's.)