Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Contains 100% Post-Employment Content

I've been working on signing up for unemployment. As it turns out, it can be done on-line.

Unfortunately, I've hit a snag. One section asks about payments I'm due to receive for unused vacation and severance pay. I have to enter the amounts and dates of payment; the html coding will not allow me to continue with the application process until this data has been provided.

In a word, "nuts!"

As I had mentioned in a previous post, the company had been somewhat bogus in their handling of the severance pay. Also noted was the HR Manager's refusal to help anyone with anything specific, i.e. "It was all explained in the single-page, purposely vague lay-off notice we handed out three months ago."

I decided to call the Parent Corporation in Carthage, MO.

I talked to a very nice lady there whose job title is "Director of Employee Relations."

By Tuesday she had determined the gross amounts of both my vacation pay (nine days' worth) and my severnace pay (two weeks' worth - the maximum allowed!) She's still working on determining the disbursment dates, though.

This is good news, as it sounds like I'll have five weeks' worth of pay once my final paycheck is factored in.

The Employee Relations Director mentioned that my paycheck will not be directly deposited into my account, though. It will be a "live check."

Since ye oldde mortgage is coming due next week, I decided that the best course of action will be to make the 82 mile round-trip to the dish rack factory to pick it up, in person. I need to deposit that puppy ASAP.

Why the rush?

I'm going on a road trip. The family and I are going to drive up to Buffalo with my Sister-In-Law. We'll be leaving Monday and the funds for the house payment had better be in place so that there's not a disposses notice hanging on the door when we get back!

Next task: Filing for Medicaid for my daughter.

Friday, July 24, 2009

...And Guess What People...

"I am outta here!"
Unemployment, here I come...

In The Bunker: One Week Beyond The Last Day

Could this be my last day at the dish rack factory?

I got a call from our remaining customer's Quality Engineer this morning. He wanted to know if I could come in and look at some line rejects. I told him I'd find out what my schedule is and get back to him.

When I bumped in to my boss on the shop floor he asked me if I could get him the passwords for the customer's website. (Spider sense is tingling.)

I told him that the QE wanted me to come by their plant to review product.

"Should I go today or wait until Monday?" I asked.

He wants me to go today. (Spider sense is really tingling now!)

Let's see how the day plays out, shall we..?

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

In The Bunker: Beyond the Last Day (Day 3)

T-Shirt graphic from

You know, this plant was shuttered once before, back in the 'nineties. Yep. It actually came back from the dead and it could, I suppose, happen again.

In a rare employee meeting, the VP of Operations urged everyone to "hang in there" because the company would be providing "severance pay" for those who stayed put until they were terminated.

The veterans of the last shut-down remembered that they got one week's pay for every year of company service. Since there were people on the chopping block with ten, twelve or more years of service, this sounded pretty good. Heck, 12 weeks is three months of pay, right?

Folks who wanted an early out were told not to put their severance package at risk by quitting.

Well, the axe fell for the majority of folks and the severance package payments started to be handed out last week.

Guess what? They found out that the severance pay this time is being handled a little bit differently this time.

One week of pay is being awarded to folks with one to five years of service.

One additional week of pay is being awarded to people who have six or more years in with the company.

That's it. A maximum of two weeks pay, regardless of total years worked.

Since I only have twenty months in the plant, I am not expecting anything more than one week, so it is no big whoop to me, personally.

The bigger issue is how corporate was vague about the severance program and then kept silent while the rank and file jumped to their conclusion based on the last time such payments were made. Since nothing was actually said about the severance package details they have air-tight "plausible deniabilty."

Sadly, this is all too typical of the corporate culture, here.

I'm just waiting to see if Craigsy-Boy encounters some sort of nefarious screw-job from my beneficent corporate overlords.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

The Wisdom of Englebert

I'm still not laid off!

The boss says he wants me to come in tomorrow.

Note to employer: You're paying a Quality Engineer's salary to get minimum wage temp work accomplished.

"It just don't add up!"

Monday, July 20, 2009

In The Bunker: Beyond the Last Day 1

It's Multitasking Monday!

I'm back at it, people.

Trying to cover for the missing inspector, handle production quality issues and get that guy on the phone about the Product Qualification issues.


Gotta go, go, go!

Friday, July 17, 2009

In The Bunker - The 11th Hour!

I kinda expected this.

One hour before quitting time my boss asked me if I "had any plans for next week."

Gosh, its nice that he cares!

The 411 is that there are some coverage issues and unfinished business issues next week and he says he would appreciate it if I could be here Monday and Tuesday.

I told him my only pressing engagement was to file for unemployment, so it looks like I'll have a couple more days of pay out of this place, yet.


Thursday, July 16, 2009

In The Bunker: The Last Days VII


This is me.

The HR Manager was here for two days but he did not speak to me. Not once.

At the end of March, a letter was handed out to the rank and file announcing the pending lay-off. There were some very vague generalities about possible benefits that might be available, with the last sentence directing the lucky ticket-holder to contact the HR Manager if they had any questions.

Seems like I heard this exchange more than once last week:

Employee [to HR Manager]: Excuse me, but how do I find out about (insert concern here).

HR Manager: Remember that letter we passed out three months ago? Look at that.

So, the letter says to ask the HR Manager and then the HR manager will refer you back to the letter. OK. Got it.

By rights, tomorrow should be my last day at this job. I have it in writing that my "permanent layoff" date is 07/17/09.

I should mention that a few of the people "permanently laid off" last week have been brought back as "temps" with no benefits to try to squeak out some product to our remaining customer.

Boy, is that what I have to look forward to?

Ah, well, the countdown continues...

Wednesday, July 08, 2009

In the Bunker: The Last Days VI

Wahoo! I'm still employed!

And what this means is, because so many factory workers have been let go, I'm out on the floor doing whatever needs to be done.

I just spent the last two hours pulling racks from an overhead conveyor, cutting off the hang wires and placing them on the final assembly belt. It is not quite as glamorous as it sounds. I am drenched in sweat and my arms and shoulders are sure to feel it later on.

Oh, yeah.

The HR Manager is still here from the "home office" which begs the question, "Are they going to boot me out of here any time soon?" (Just about everyone else got axed a week prior to their posted termination dates!)

After lunch... back to the killing floor!

Tuesday, July 07, 2009

In the Bunker: The Last Days V

Yep, that's what this place is starting to look like, a ghost town.

Most of the first shift was let go yesterday at 3:30pm.

We finished off coating and assembling the last stragglers to complete the final shipment of the final order for the contract this morning.

The HR Manager is here from the home office today, so I can only imagine what's going to happen now that the final shipment has been made.

To be continued, I guess...

Monday, July 06, 2009

In the Bunker: The Last Days IV

Tick. Tick. Tick.

Back at work after the holiday weekend.

Tick. Tick. Tick.

Will the HR Manager from Cleveland make an appearance here today?

Tick. Tick. Tick.

Just a matter of "when" rather than "if."

Tick. Tick. Tick.

Friday, July 03, 2009

In The Bunker: The Last Days III

Well, I finished up with that big project, which was getting PPAP (Production Parts Approval Process) samples made and measured. I cranked out the Part Submission Warrants, filled out the paperwork and personally delivered the samples to the customer yesterday.

There are some issues that will need to be resolved before the prints and the parts are in perfect harmony, but that's how it goes sometime. I suspect I will no longer be an employee soon, so I hope the survivors, i.e. Plant Manager and VP of Operation, are ready to address them. They've been through the drill before, so no worries.

I was so wrung out, that I fell face-down on my bed at 7:30 last night and slept though until 6:30 this morning. Ah, sweet, sweet exhaustion!

Thursday, July 02, 2009

In the Bunker: The Last Days II

Well, the whole second shift was let go last night.

I found out this morning.

Above, is a quick note that my 2nd shift inspector left for us.

Tick. Tick, Tick.