Friday, September 23, 2016
Flagging Don't do that! Part 2
For our third day of flagging we were sent to Jaffrey NH. We met up with the guy we were working for at a gas station. We were working on a very busy 2 lane hwy going thru town. The people we were working for were digging some sort of huge hole in one lane of the road.
I knew from the get go it was going to be an interesting day by the look on the guy's face when he realized he got stuck with 2 women as his flaggers. Some men like to make it impossible to work with. I know language can be hard to some but some sort of communication is crucial when working together. Michelle and I were standing there waiting for instructions, then standing there waiting for cones to be put out. Wasted time really... Then we just had to read their pea brain minds to know they were ready to start working... Pretty much when they just went out in the middle of traffic with no warning was our cue.
They finally put out cones and the traffic was constant. No rest for the weary. Back and forth we let the cars thru as these guys dug a whole in the middle of the road... Then for quite some time stared down the hole in the middle of the road. I was almost hit by a car or two, had a guy come right up to me and started waving his arms. I gave him the bird and made him go around. Another guy thought if he got in the other lane from over a block away I would change the sign to slow... Then when I didn't he sat in oncoming traffics way. I was sure to tell him he was an asshole and made him go all the way down a side street to turn around. Soon I was starting to feel light headed... I was getting hungry and needed a break.
The guys working had stopped and were packing up for lunch. So, I called over to the head guy we spoke with and asked him when was lunch break. We had been working straight with no breaks for over 5 hours. He told me to call my manager he doesn't give breaks. I told him someone has to give us a break. He said he didn't have any certified flaggers on his team so we didn't get a break. I told him it is the law... We need a break. Then he gave that snort laugh that makes you want to kick a man in the balls so hard he kneels down, singing like a soprano and beg for mercy. Then he gets in his car and drives away.
While directing traffic I got on my phone to call our manager. He told me he was sorry we didn't have any break and he will call the guy who was an ass and tell him he has to give us a break. He hangs up and I wait about 10 minutes and call our manager back. He told me the guy will give us a bathroom break when he gets back. I told him that was not acceptable. We had been working 5 1/2 hours by this time and we needed a lunch break. Our manager said "we normally work thru our lunch break and just take two 15 minute breaks."
I told him "you may choose to do that but I need a lunch break, especially since we have had no break for over 5 hour."
Manager said "well, that is the way it is. You get two 15 minute breaks"
Mind you, we have no idea when we start the day how many hours we will be there. It could be 7 hour or up to 15 hours. No one says anything... Even after we arrive. We had been there for 5 1/2 hours with no break, no one willing to give us a break and we had no idea when we would be done. We are directing traffic that doesn't care about people on the road. They would run you down for sport or complete obliviousness while talking on their cell phones. We need to be aware and people who have not eaten or drank anything in hours are not at their best. At this point I felt we could be in danger... Especially since I was having to rely on the stick to hold me up because I was feeling dizzy from lack of food and water.
After the guy came back one of the workers came to take my stick and told me we could go use the bathroom. By this time I was pissed to say the least. I got on the walkie talkie to Michelle told her we were leaving... They were not giving us a lunch break and I was done. So we left them with no signs and walked away. I laughed as the men started yelling at us to leave the signs. We kept walking.
The traffic was starting to build up and we saw a police officer where we parked. He asked us if we were done for the day. We told him we were done because they wouldn't give us a break. The police officer was surprised that the company took that stance since now they don't have flaggers. He told us he would go look at the situation. When we left the police officer was directing traffic.
I did look up the the law on breaks for New Hampshire and it is 30 minutes for every 5 hours worked. It says nothing about 15 minute breaks. It does say if an employer can not give a break one can work thru their lunch if hey are able to eat and work. They are also paid for that lunch.
I sent this info over to our manager, told him we quit and we would pick up our checks when we dropped off our stuff the next day. I also contacted the New Hampsire Labor Department, who unfortunately doesn't care about the workers of NH.
The next day I got a call and many text messages from our boss saying he was sorry and wanted us to come back to work. We said NO THANKS!
We figured out quickly why this business was whacked... Our boss looked and acted like Tweedle dumb. How many people can say their boss truly looks like Tweedle dumb!? He wore these long shorts that hung down, a t-shirt and a cap on sideways strutting out of the back office like he was 12. We dropped off our stuff and he told us our last paycheck would be mailed to us. No problem... Except when we got our last paycheck they didn't pay us for all hours worked... So that screwed me over to getting to the beet harvest for my next gig.
Supposidely it is fixed and we will get our check in the mail in the next couple days...as my time for the beet harvest is passing. So, after all that I don't have a job and no money to get to my next spot. I rearranged a few things and will be leaving this weekend to spend some time with a friend in NC and hopefully find work for the fall. I have just enough money to get there... Keep you fingers crossed that I get there without any Blue or TicTac issues. It's only 800 miles. 😳
I have mixed feelings as I am excited to be on the road to somewhere new but sad it will be just me and Yoska as Michelle is staying back for school. It will be different being by myself after almost a year traveling with someone else. Guess we will see what happens!