Friday, August 28, 2009

Fred Meyer employees fired for random mistakes

I am a regular customer at the Fred Meyer Tacoma/Pacific store, as it is literally a 5-minute walk from my house. Today as I walked past a house on the next block, a rolled-up flyer in the cyclone fence caught my eye. It was about a couple of former Fred Meyer cashiers fired for accidentally handing back customers' checks for $12 and $26, asking that the customers who mistakenly received those checks return to the store to make good on their purchases.

I didn't take the flyer with me, in case by some coincidence that homeowner was actually one of the check-writers. But I remembered the name Juanita Carroll, and as soon as I got home I searched the Internet for some kind of petition or blog post about this lady's predicament. Nothing. I called the store and spoke to a manager, and even offered to pay the amount of the check, but the manager told me that unfortunately this was the store policy, and even if the employee offers to pay the amount, they must still be fired (they are eligible for rehire if they remain active in the union).

That's when I went back to the house where I'd found the flyer. I knocked on the door and explained that I would like to take it with me, once the man had read it just to be sure he wasn't one of those customers. He seemed to find my request rather laughable, but I didn't care. I came home and called the union straightaway. Apparently this has only recently become a problem with Fred Meyer. And it's a problem I really can't understand. Why would you fire an experienced 19-year employee who says she loves her job (that kind of person can't be easy to find -- I'd have to pop happy pills or wear a hidden vibrator to make it through a day as a cashier!) only to have to turn around and go to the expense of hiring and training someone new, someone who might not even last once they got a taste for what it's really like?

I couldn't believe the union didn't have an online petition set up to pressure Fred Meyer corporate to amend or at least reconsider this policy. I couldn't believe they didn't have diaries posted at DailyKos or HuffPo or even our local newspaper, the TNT. I rely routinely on Fred Meyer for many of my shopping needs, but I would boycott them in a heartbeat to get them to change this heartless policy. In today's economic environment, a job loss can literally be life-threatening. I didn't go put my life on the line in Iraq only to come home and see my fellow citizens' security jeopardized not by fanatical terrorists but by greedy corporate policies.

This is not the end of this, but only the beginning.

Sunday, August 16, 2009

For those who think government can't do anything right

From an email forward -- I can't take credit, but this belongs in a blog:

Once again, for the benefit of the government-can't-get-anything-right flock:

This morning you were awoken by your alarm clock (powered by electricity generated by the public power monopoly regulated by the US Department of Energy). You then took a shower (in the clean water provided by the municipal water utility). After that, you turned on the TV (to one of the FCC regulated channels) to see what the national weather service (of the National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration) determined the weather was going to be like (using satellites designed, built, and launched by the National Aeronautics and Space Administration). You watched this while eating your breakfast of (US Department of Agriculture inspected) cereal and taking your blood pressure medication (which have been determined as safe by the Food and Drug Administration).

At the appropriate time (as regulated by the US congress and kept accurate by the National Institute of Standards and Technology and the US Naval Observatory), you get into your (National Highway Traffic Safety Administration approved) automobile and set out to work (on the roads build by the local, state, and federal departments of transportation), possibly stopping to purchase additional fuel (of a quality level determined by the Environmental Protection Agency), paying in cash (legal tender issued by the Federal Reserve Bank). On the way out the door you deposit any mail you have to be sent out (via the US Postal Service) and drop the kids off at (public) school.

After spending another day not being maimed or killed at work (thanks to the workplace regulations imposed by the Department of Labor and the Occupational Safety and Health Administration), enjoying another two meals (which again do not kill you because of the USDA), you drive your (NHTSA) car back home (on the DOT roads), to your house (which has not burned down in your absence because of the state and local building codes and fire marshal's inspection, and which has not been plundered of all it's valuables thanks to the local police department).

You then log on to the internet (which was developed by the Defense Advanced Research Projects Administration) and post on, and fox news forums about how SOCIALISM in medicine is BAD because the government can't do anything right.

The only reason government doesn't work NOW is because conservative Republican administrations defunded and/or patronage staffed them with people with ties to special business interests: to wit the last FDA, Dept of Interior and Agriculture under Bush. No one seems to have a problem with pumping over $500Bil to the Defense Department, which last I heard is a socialized entity.