If I'm ever sued, this site will go up for sale for the amount of damages sought, along with posting any documents I receive. If you think you can copyright a letter you send to me, go for it.
I'm still learning about blog design and I've found a problem when viewing this blog. It does not behave properly in small browser windows and if your display resolution is less than 1280 pixels wide and/or you are viewing the blog in a window less than 980 pixels blog wide, the right side bar is pushed below any visible post. I've searched the web and looked at the code for hours but can't find the problem. My next step, when I get the time, is to recreate the blog with a new template. Advice is appreciated.

Friday, March 20, 2009

The Law Of Unintended Consequences

I admit that there is something I never considered when I started my Don Quixote quest. My actions are costing every dues paying members of ATU Local 1001 some amount of money. I've come to realize that anytime you complain about the actions of any entity that can forcibly collect money from you, from the smallest HOA to the Federal Government, they will use that money to defend their actions. I offer my heartfelt apologies to the folks who are paying the bills! The only possible condolence I can offer is the hope that things will get better because of what I do and that perhaps the officers of your union will actually do the job you've hired them to do next time. Realistically, I don't think it my actions will have any great effect but who would have guessed that this country would come into existence because a few early Americans didn't think King George was treating them fairly? In no way would I ever compare myself to the great men who founded the U.S.A. but we all have our tiny part to play.

I think back, many more years that I care to admit, to my Business 101 course and remember that the primary objective of any business endeavor is to make a profit. I am a strong proponent of a free market but I've been spoiled. I spent my life in the computer industry and always worked for companies that certainly wanted to make a profit but also had a corporate philosophy that actually recognized the employee as as the lifeblood of the corporation. First Group (laughingly in my opinion) has a Corporate Social Responsibility Policy and perhaps there are those who actually believe the CSR has some effect, at least in some parts of the world. In reality, the policy is that unless you're able to drive a bus, you become a liability and the company will provide only the minimum required by law (and may fail there) unless the individual employees take it on themselves to acknowledge you still exist. To those individuals, I extend my sincere thanks, it meant a lot to me.

I am not trying to suggest that any company has a "cradle to grave" responsibility for an individual. BULL HN (formerly Honeywell Large Systems Division) laid me off in 1990 (with a tidy little severance package and other perks) but I will guarantee that had I become ill while employed by them, or any of the other high tech companies I worked for, I would have been treated much differently.

It would not have taken five months for HR to contact me for the first time, someone from HR would have been at my bedside as soon as I was able to talk to them and they would have kept me informed! Someone from HR would have would have insured my Short Term Disability payments were started and not made me wait six weeks to get my first check. Someone from HR would have checked on me regularly, not just because it benefited the company but because the company felt it was their responsibility. Loyalty begets loyalty. I was in a coma for nine days and not able to get out of bed for almost a month so I must have been pretty sick. The company did not have a legal obligation to help me put my life back together but what about a moral obligation? I'm a human being and it is immoral to discard someone when they lose their place as a cog in the machine. I'm not special, my statements apply to all workers. I attribute what I contend are legal violations, as being allowed because the individual is of little or no concern to First Transit or First Group. Fire me if you want to and any moral responsibility be damned! To the company, I was strictly a risk benefit analyses statistic. I have no animosity toward anyone at First Transit but a strong distaste for the corporate culture. Laws are laws and they are not meant to be broken as some would jokingly suggest.

If anyone had ever suggested that I'd learn to drive a transit bus when I was 60 years old, I likely would have thought they were nuts. Times change for the individual and driving a bus provides a necessary public service as well as an individual job. I always tried to give an honest days work for a (lousy) days pay. I was proud to be able to help someone in some small way; just being able to safely get someone home after they'd put in a hard day themselves made me feel useful.

Ron M. never lied to me when he hired me and I think folks will remember that I complained very little about the sixty hour weeks or the big stick the company wielded in very forceful manner. Besides, who can live on $11.67 an hour so the overtime was necessary just to live above the poverty level. I was spoiled and naive when I went to work for First Transit but I did it of my own choice so I won't complain about the conditions that existed for the 19 or so months I actually drove.

Some have suggested that I'm sarcastic (true, to a point) and that my sarcasm is uncivil and a sign of disrespect. Sir, it's pretty easy to earn my respect but you cannot demand it! As far as civility goes, I try to never raise my voice and I would never make a public statement that I think so-and-so is a moron even if I thought so to myself. I don't feel that way toward anyone at this time but I do believe that too many people feel I'm just a minor annoyance and should go away quietly. Sorry, that's not going to happen! Folks, I honestly believe they think we're stupid because we drive a bus and that makes us less important or "beneath them". That is a sign of disrespect!

It's also been suggested that I am too public with my protests. Yup, and proud of it! I'm a big Tom Martino fan (hmmm, I haven't talked to Tom yet) and he likes to say "cockroaches scramble when you turn the light on". Please don't take offense, I am not implying that the company, union or any individual is a cockroach, only that if you do or write or say something, be proud of it and when you make a mistake as we all do, take responsibility. My God, whatever happened to the notion of personal responsibility? For your information, Tom Martino is a Denver consumer advocate and AM radio host who calls himself "The Troubleshooter" You can find his website if you're interested.

I need a good survey question and I'll buy a beer (or soda or iced tea or..) for a suggestion. I see that I hold the minority view for my last question but I think there may have been some "ringers" in the mix

In closing this post, I'd just like to say that at one time, some folks could have admitted they made mistakes and said "Larry, let's get together and see what we can come up up" and I would have been satisfied. Well, with the help of family, friends and a lot of good luck, I put my life back in some semblance of order. I am reasonably healthy, I can satisfy my needs and I'm happier than I have been in a long time because I have a cause I strongly believe in. I could never understand how a 12 year old could blow themselves up for a cause. It still baffles me on a logical level but I think I'm starting to get a glimpse at the emotional satisfaction someone might gain.

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