Friday, September 2, 2011

Punching in

When I was between 3rd and 4th year Medicine, I was living in Olympic City on the North Shore with my parents to save money with my summer job. I was working at the Canadian Fishing Company in the frozen fish warehouse as a piler. I had done this job in Prince Rupert the two previous summers. This was 1955 and the first ferry across Burrard Inlet left the foot of Lonsdale at 6:30 AM and docked at the foot of Gore street at 7:00 AM. I ran one block to the Canfisco Freezer and punched in at 7:04 AM every day, four minutes late for work! The last cheque I got at the end of the summer, was docked two hours for my unavoidable late punch in. For years I always felt a twinge of irritation at the company for being so cheap. I was the only student working there and they had only hired me for the halibut rush as I had worked in Rupert before, so was experienced. During the summer the union had threatened a strike and when we voted I was the only one who voted against a strike. I needed to work. I know the union was irritated! Then, years later, I had a patient who was a manager of the fishing company branch. I told him my story, thinking he would be embarrassed. He said, "I know about that! It wasn't the company! It was the union. They told us if you were allowed four minutes of grace every day, they insisted each member receive the same or be compensated two hours. It was easier for us to dock you the two hours. Besides that, he said, "You took home at least two hours worth of fish in your lunch bucket that summer." Hand in the cookie jar! He turned the tables on me . Don't start what you can't finish! I now extol the virtues of the management at Canfisco!

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