Wednesday, 17 June 2009

Job Security - The Real Thing

Job Security - The Real Thing
On Strike against Coke in Saskatoon


Anonymous said...

I have seen how non-union companies take advantage of their workers.

I often wonder how long before many of the jobs will be given to the most hungriest of workers.

I hate to be around if the master and servant act from the year 1847 comes back.

Could we be heading in that direction?

Trent said...

Ok, this is a bit off topic, but, then again, maybe not. I'll let you decide Larry. You won't hurt my feelings if you decide to delete it.

In 1994 I was driving truck for a company that had the contract to haul Coca-Cola from the plants in Richmond and Coquitlam B.C. to the distribution center in Vernon, B.C. We would load about 55,000 to 60,000 of soda and drive all night over the Coquihalla to be in Vernon for the morning. A hard pull, to say the least.

The guys at Coke in Vernon would unload their product from our trucks, repackage it according to the orders that came in that day and load it on their trucks for distribution to the local gas stations, convenience stores, etc.

Coca-Cola upper management decided that the cost of maintaining a full distribution center in Vernon was far too expensive. They came to the conclusion that they should close the Vernon center, sell the valuable land it was on and have the plants in Richmond and Coquitlam package the orders for the Okanagan, thus allowing them to save even more by laying off 3 employees from the Vernon distribution center. They decide to keep a forklift at a mall parking lot to do the transferring from our highway trucks to the local distribution trucks. I believe they even had a party to celebrate this brain wave. Seriously.

Ok, so they lay off the employees and the distribution center is sold and they have to be out of it in a few months. I load my first load of Coca-Cola that is pre-packaged for distribution in Vernon. I looked at my air gauge in the truck and knew something was wrong. I went inside to ask them why the load was so light. Apparently they couldn't load and stack as much product in a trailer when it is packaged to fit in the local distribution trucks. How much less? Half. I went from loading 55,000lbs to 26,000 lbs. I thought I was driving a Ferrari over the Coquihalla that night.

This was when the brainiacs first realized that they may have made a mistake. When you have between 4 and 6 trucks going every night to Vernon and now you need 8 to 12 trucks every night, 6 nights a week, well you can imagine the increase in freight. They pleaded for a cut rate, but it was already too low,$600 per load; no room to move.

This little genius move was going to cost Coca-Cola an extra $18,000 PER WEEK on freight alone! They also discovered that 1 man could not unload 12 semis, reload numerous distribution trucks and also drive a distribution truck. So they hired back 2 of the 3 guys they laid-off. The third guy told them to go to hell.

Now, it is about this time that the brianiacs also started to realize that 1 - 53 foot trailer still held enough product to fill 2 or 3 distribution trucks. This left several pallets off Coca-Cola with no place to store it while the drivers went about their deliveries. Leaving all this product in a mall parking lot did not seem like a good idea.( I was really surprised that they had the judgement to make that last call, considering their track recorded)

Now the grand finale, as difficult as this story is to believe, the ending is even better. The entire top brass from Vancouver made the journey to Vernon in order to buy their employees lunch and get their input as to how to solve the problems they were now facing. They got an ear full.

I tell this story often, even after all these years, because I just can't believe that people can be that stupid. Anyway, your Coca-Cola thread provide me an opportunity to tell it again. Don't know if you want to post it, but I'm sure you will enjoy it!

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