Thursday, August 16, 2018

Stub 2.8: Good fences make good neighbors

Raymond looked around the stand-up table at his first shift crew. He could tell by their expressions that he was not going to get much cooperation. Whatever.

“I am the new, first shift, Electrical supervisor. The Project Manager authorized me to be the lead coordinator for all shifts, all skills. You don’t like it because I am not an Electrician. I am, however, a good listener.” Raymond said.

“Davies got canned because he was not meeting tomb-stone dates. We are behind. We will catch up.” Raymond said.

An old, grizzled electrician growled, “I ain’t running for nobody!” and several of the other electricians nodded their heads in agreement.

“I am not asking you to run but I am directing you to stay on the job site all eight hours and to keep working.” Raymond said. “I am also directing you to not touch work started by any other shift.”

“In fact,” Raymond continued, “each shift has been assigned specific areas to work on. You will be fired and not hired back if you are seen outside your shift’s designated area. There is not going to be any more one shift blaming another. Your area is your area and nobody else’s.”

“That ain’t gonna be efficient.” the old guy said. “How are we going to get our tools and supplies?”

“Got that covered.” Raymond said. “I have two trailers per shift being brought on-site; one for tools and one for materials. The trailers will be parked right outside your assigned area and your crew will be the only ones with the key to YOUR trailers.”

“Another thing we are going to do is have the start-of-shift meeting 90 minutes after the start of the shift. The crews will come in, break into teams of two and start work. They will pick up working right where they stopped the night before. I figure 90 minutes will give problems time to float to the top.”

“What about shift-to-shift coordination?” the old guy asked.

“Won’t need it.” Raymond said. The only time we need to coordinate with the other shifts is when we power up junction boxes, and if they are following approved lock-out that should be self evident.” Raymond said. He had learned a lot in the last two shifts. “We have our own tools. We have our own materials. We have our own work.”

Looking over at the Union Steward, Raymond said, “I need to have some conversation with you after this meeting. Are you available?”

“You might as well talk to me here.” the Union Steward said. “It is counter-productive to talk behind people’s backs.” The steward had a good point.

Raymond said, “Fair enough.”

“I know that some workers on each crew go out for lunch. It would be in my best interest if you could identify one or two food vendors to come on-site and sell burritos, sandwiches and soft drinks before lunch.” Raymond said. “My thinking is that you have contacts in the area and would help me pick some vendors who have fair prices and won’t give my guys food poisoning.”

"After all, I don't want anybody running. I don't want you running all over looking for tools. I don't want you running out to lunch. I don't want you running around to look for somebody to blame. It ain't safe and takes up energy that I want going into electrical work." Raymond said with a bit of a smile.

The electricians looked around. They had expected Raymond to be pushy and to “squeeze” them for more work. They had not expected Raymond to try to take care of them.

The old, grizzled guy cleared his throat. “I gotta son-in-law who runs a burrito cart…..”

Next Installment of Stub

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