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Railroaders' Nostalgia > These men work for me, not you.


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Date: 01/27/20 07:38
These men work for me, not you.
Author: atsfer

I'm recounting a story told to me years ago by a good friend who sadly is no longer with us.  He had a neighbor who was an executive at a large family owned brewery that we shall just say was somewhere west of the Mississippi and this was many years ago.  
     At this brewery, there was a local that had a crew that had been regulars for years to work this business.   It was a preferred job, and so it took a lot of whiskers (seniority) to hold this job due to a lot of reasons and good pay that went with it.     This brewery had its own switch engines, and, each engine had a cooler of beer on it, the crews could drink beer on the job as long as they didn't let it get out of hand.  The family owners of this plant would be routinely seen walking about the workplace, and got to know the workers sometimes on a first name basis.   Loyalty was large here and many employees had been there for over 30 years.  This was a huge operation and shipped dozens of railcars of beer every day.   I know there will be a lot of controversy concerning the use of alcohol in this event, but, that is for another thread I hope.   
     The local crew would routinely take their lunch at the plant in the employee lunch room where cold beer was served.   And, yes they drank beer with their lunch along with the rest of the employees, this was a brewery after all and trying to restrict the drinking of beer seemed to be something the company had left in the hands of the workers they knowing that careful moderation was an unsaid rule.   These were different times.
    A new trainmaster had just been assigned to the area,  replacing one that had been there a long time, and somehow talked his way past security and got into the plant and found the crew with their beers on the table in front of them.   He proceeds to read them the riot act and promises an investigation and they will all lose their jobs for violating rule G.  A loading dock foreman sitting at the table hears all this, gets up and goes to the phone on the wall and makes a call.
     He interrupts the trainmasters rant by telling him that someone wants to talk to him on the phone.  He goes to the phone and says "this is trainmaster Smith" (or whatever his name was) and those were the last words he said.   On the other end of the line was a man with the same last name that appeared on the beer cans.   He then told Mr. Smith that if anything happened to "his" crew he would shift all the freight he could to trucks and tell the railroad it was his fault telling him these men were his employees when they were in the plant and he was trespassing and will leave immediately or will be arrested  and never come back.   I am sure there there was a lot left out in the telling of this, but I remember the description of the trainmasters face for the few moments on the phone, sort of like watching someone being shot through the head with a phone receiver.   He went from red faced to pale, and then back to red faced, hung up the phone, glared at the crew, and then walked out the door without saying a word.
     The man on the other end of the phone soon appeared in the lunch room and assured the crew that nothing would happen to them, and not to worry about ever seeing their supervisor in his plant again.   I doubt this could happen today, but, maybe somewhere it might, and for this crew, they knew staying on this job was now very important.
     



Date: 01/27/20 09:20
Re: These men work for me, not you.
Author: ldstephey

I'll gather that the beer and the owners last name began with "C".



Date: 01/27/20 09:40
Re: These men work for me, not you.
Author: alco244

in the mid 90's, i would accompany a farmer friend to montreal pq, to pick up used brewers grain for cattle feed, after loading we would go to the employee dinning room, $2.00 canadian for a cooked to order breakfast, and fresh cold beer. forklift drivers and others had them too, i never did see anybody abuse, it's part of the culture. now in my later life as a railroader, the worst drunks and abusers were management!!!



Date: 01/27/20 11:52
Re: These men work for me, not you.
Author: Drknow

Lets just say that many in RR Mgt. imbibe in the room that you keep your coats and hats in.



Date: 01/27/20 12:17
Re: These men work for me, not you.
Author: TAW

Drknow Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> Lets just say that many in RR Mgt. imbibe in the
> room that you keep your coats and hats in.

In the 60s, the B&OCT Chief Dispatcher's black book of phone numbers included Tile Craft, a tavern with a tile bar. That was where managers hung out and could only be found by the Chief .

TAW



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 01/27/20 14:44 by TAW.



Date: 01/27/20 14:38
Re: These men work for me, not you.
Author: usmc1401

The Coors Beer distributor in Torrance Ca did have a beer tap in the employee break room. They were also a ATSF curtomer and are no longer in business. But the beer tap was removed before they shut down.



Date: 01/27/20 14:55
Re: These men work for me, not you.
Author: Bob3985

I was related the same scenario about the Rock Island Hill job down in Peoria Illinois and the folks from Pabst had similar words with the new trainmaster. Needless to say the crew and job continued to perform their good service at least as long as I was working on the Rock.
 

Bob Krieger
Cheyenne, WY



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 01/27/20 14:56 by Bob3985.



Date: 01/27/20 16:13
Re: These men work for me, not you.
Author: jmhemmer

Although less colorful, a similar arrangement was in place for Rock Island crews who switched the Jax Brewery (Jackson Brewing Co.) in the center of Oklahoma City, at least in the 60s.  



Date: 01/27/20 16:42
Re: These men work for me, not you.
Author: SWChief

I know of a Mfg concern in California that currently keeps a refrigerator stocked with a variety of beers and wine that are available to the office personnel (and most are not management level) to drink at will, provided the privilege is not abused. They also have regular pizza and beer parties, wine and cheese parties, and margarita parties, on any given day of the week at the owner's whim.   One of their other plants a few states to the east has taps on the wall in the lunch room, again available to the office personnel at will, provided the privilege is not abused.  The company is privately held and the owner (who is very active in the company) likes his booze. So while he himself regularly pounds the hard stuff, he provides the others with somewhat lower alcoholic content beverages, though the brews are mostly craft beers and IPA's and not necessarily the cheap stuff. Same with the wine and tequila (can you say Patron and Cuervo?).

While this is rather rare in this day and age (given how litigious society has become), I'm happy to say there are still a few places that "honor the old ways"!


Imbibing Chief



Date: 01/27/20 19:35
Re: These men work for me, not you.
Author: holiwood

In honor of the way the big boss at Coors handled that problem, I lift his product in salute

hollywood
enjoying a cold Coors 



Date: 01/27/20 19:43
Re: These men work for me, not you.
Author: CCDeWeese

I think that the Manufacturers Railroad at Busch in St Louis may have had similar accomodations, but I have no personal knowledge.



Date: 01/27/20 20:04
Re: These men work for me, not you.
Author: dan

coors has their own railroad



Date: 01/28/20 02:28
Re: These men work for me, not you.
Author: 4451Puff

I was surprised to learn that a real estate underwriting firm in San Francisco has a well stocked bar for employee use at any time, as well as a gym, snacks & other perks. This from a relative who worked there a couple years, who, in their early fifties, was older than everyone else in the office by about 25 years.

Desmond Praetzel, “4451 Puff”



Date: 01/28/20 10:38
Re: These men work for me, not you.
Author: PHall

dan Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> coors has their own railroad

They do their own switching inside the plant. The C&S hauled the traffic to and from the plant.



Date: 01/28/20 15:24
Re: These men work for me, not you.
Author: bigsavage

Over 40 years ago, I started working for a A-B distributor at age 19, the drinking age was 18. We drank in the warehouse, and since I could get kegs and the supplies for wholesale cost, I had a lot of friends at the local college!
It seemed that people grew up faster then, today it seems children stay children until they're about 30...




Date: 01/29/20 06:07
Re: These men work for me, not you.
Author: Drknow

Bigsavage that’s because parents and the Government don’t want to let/except young adults to “mature” at the same level as 30 years ago, unless it’s going to war or paying taxes, then they are adults at 18. Most European “kids” can drink at 14-16 and are done with the equivalent of high school at 16 and if not going to college are working or in the military. In the U.S. ?

Posted from iPhone



Date: 01/30/20 06:30
Re: These men work for me, not you.
Author: engineerinvirginia

bigsavage Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> Over 40 years ago, I started working for a A-B
> distributor at age 19, the drinking age was 18. We
> drank in the warehouse, and since I could get kegs
> and the supplies for wholesale cost, I had a lot
> of friends at the local college!
> It seemed that people grew up faster then, today
> it seems children stay children until they're
> about 30...

It does seem that way but one older nephew went out of high school, got a job, and built a house to put his future wife in, and they have set a date for not too distant future....my younger nephew is not quite that ambitious, but he is also grabbing life by the horns.....I know I gonna be proud of him too....it's all how you raise them. 



Date: 02/01/20 00:53
Re: These men work for me, not you.
Author: aronco

Wow, does this bring back an old memory.  Way back, I was an assistant trainmaster for Santa Fe at Fullerton, California.  We had 4 or 5 switchers at Fullerton and 2 based at Santa Ana.  There were two trainmasters assigned, and we alternated working days and nights.  Around Christmas, we tried hard to give every crew the holidays off, but in 1972, fate forced us to work one crew on New Years Day to haul some cars over to Santa ana and pick up two or three loads of vegetables being loaded at El Toro.  I apologized to the crew that got stuck working, and they were good natured about it.  About one or two PM on New Years Day, I met the crew at the Fullerton station, and saw them off on their hopefully fast trip.  Of course, I went home as there was a football game to watch!
About an hour or so later, I was told by the packing shed that they were running late, and the carloads of cauliflower and broccoli wouldn't be ready until about 600pm.  I thought I would run the 20 miles or so to Santa Ana and tell the crew, and possibly we could change some work and get them headed home sooner.  Their switch engine was parked by the station, which told me they probably decided to get something to eat while waiting for the cauliflower.  I drove to the coffee shop a couple blocks away, and found the four man crew seated in a large round booth, apparently having just ordered.  I was just starting to discuss their working and the changes when the waitress approached, carrying a round tray above her shoulder, with 4 large frosted mugs of beer.  "Here you are guys!" she happily said.
All four of the crew men had a "oh shucks" look on their face.
Usually I am not this quick, but I turned to her and said "you must have made a mistake - these men are on duty and they couldn't be drinking!".
She caught right on, taking the beers back to the bar.  I told the crew that this never happened, and they agreed.  We were the best of buddies for the rest of the year I worked at Fullerton.  I always wondered, though, what would I have done if I had been ten minutes leter?????

Norm 

Norman Orfall
Helendale, CA
TIOGA PASS, a private railcar



Date: 02/01/20 22:32
Re: These men work for me, not you.
Author: Greyhounds

aronco Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> Wow, does this bring back an old memory.  Way
> back, I was an assistant trainmaster for Santa Fe
> at Fullerton, California.  We had 4 or 5
> switchers at Fullerton and 2 based at Santa Ana. 
> There were two trainmasters assigned, and we
> alternated working days and nights.  Around
> Christmas, we tried hard to give every crew the
> holidays off, but in 1972, fate forced us to work
> one crew on New Years Day to haul some cars over
> to Santa ana and pick up two or three loads of
> vegetables being loaded at El Toro.  I apologized
> to the crew that got stuck working, and they were
> good natured about it.  About one or two PM on
> New Years Day, I met the crew at the Fullerton
> station, and saw them off on their hopefully fast
> trip.  Of course, I went home as there was a
> football game to watch!
> About an hour or so later, I was told by the
> packing shed that they were running late, and the
> carloads of cauliflower and broccoli wouldn't be
> ready until about 600pm.  I thought I would run
> the 20 miles or so to Santa Ana and tell the crew,
> and possibly we could change some work and get
> them headed home sooner.  Their switch engine was
> parked by the station, which told me they probably
> decided to get something to eat while waiting for
> the cauliflower.  I drove to the coffee shop a
> couple blocks away, and found the four man crew
> seated in a large round booth, apparently having
> just ordered.  I was just starting to discuss
> their working and the changes when the waitress
> approached, carrying a round tray above her
> shoulder, with 4 large frosted mugs of beer. 
> "Here you are guys!" she happily said.
> All four of the crew men had a "oh shucks" look on
> their face.
> Usually I am not this quick, but I turned to her
> and said "you must have made a mistake - these men
> are on duty and they couldn't be drinking!".
> She caught right on, taking the beers back to the
> bar.  I told the crew that this never happened,
> and they agreed.  We were the best of buddies for
> the rest of the year I worked at Fullerton.  I
> always wondered, though, what would I have done if
> I had been ten minutes leter?????
>
> Norm 

Well, I hope they tipped that waitres well.

It seems you were a good supervisor.  No sense making a big deal out of things that haven't caused a problem.  Just stop it, correct it, and go on.  If it keeps happening then you're going to have to escalate it.  Of course, if it's really dangerous that's another matter.  Let 'em know there's a line and you'll hold to it.  But use common sense.



Date: 02/02/20 17:22
Re: These men work for me, not you.
Author: RabbitHogger

Back in the 80's while working a switching job as engineer in the Houston area, we were switching the local Coors Distributor and took a lunch break in their hospitality room.  Sitting there eating my lunch and having a cold Coors, I was engaged in a conversation with a very nice gentleman who worked there.  I noticed that there was a lot of NASA related memorabilia in the hospitality room including pictures from the moon landings and really didn't think anything about it since  NASA's Johnson Space Center was just a few miles away.  

A week later I was reading a Time magazine about the former astronauts that walked on the moon were doing since they left NASA.  That nice gentleman that I was having a conversation and a beer with was Alan Shepard who owned the Coors distributor.  I then realized what an honor it was to have a beer with a man that walked on the moon.



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