By Ron Pestone
I started with the GC because he was the one we had a contract with. Their VP, Mel was as tough as nails but he was fair. He made it real clear in the first thirty seconds. O’Riley the sheet metal union’s delegate was out to destroy us. I knew O’Riley hated my partners guts and that he never got over the horrible things my partner screamed at him in a really heated argument they had years ago. It was for that reason we had been so careful in making sure the sub we had put on the job was 100% union. While we were a full mechanical company we had always given out the air side of the job and concentrated on what we did best, piping.
While the freight terminal we were on was very large the design of the mechanical systems was very simple. Large roof top units feeding ductwork that ran in the open throughout the terminal. It was a dream of an installation, open ceiling with nothing in the way and 90% of it all straight. The layout gave us the ability to hire a local sheet metal contractor so we shopped the job and made it clear to all the sheet metal contractors we interviewed that the job had to be done 100% union.
The contractor we picked was young, smart, union and needed work. When we closed the deal my partner and I went over the union issue one more time with him and he assured the two of us that he was 100% union. It would not be a problem, so we signed him.
I told all this to Mel and he said, “That’s all fine and dandy but O’Riley claims differently. He says your sub might be a lot of things but one thing he isn’t is union.”
“Mel I’m telling you he is.”
“And I’m telling you straighten it out with O’Riley now. Not tomorrow, now. I can’t hold up the schedule for bullshit games. I already lost a day and I’m not going to lose another. You understand me. This ain’t settled by tonight you’re off the job.”
Getting a little hot under the collar, I asked, “What happened to the three day notice?”
“Don’t play lawyer with me. You got until 4:30pm. You don’t have it settled you’re off the job and we’ll let the lawyers handle it.”
My secretary came barging in again in near hysteria, “The union is on line two and the Police Dept. is on line three.”
I told Mel I would handle it and it would be resolved by late afternoon and hung up.
“What Police Department?”
So I picked up line three. The police officer on the other side of the line asked if I owned a blue Mercedes and when I told him I did he said matter of factly that it was wrapped around a telephone pole down town.
I asked, “Was my wife hurt?”
“Nobody was in the car.”
“How the hell can that be? The car can’t run by itself.”
Before he could answer line one lit up so I told him to hold for just a minute and picked up the blinking line because by this time my secretary was almost a basket case.
It was my wife, “Hon I can’t find the car. I got out of the bank and went to where I parked it and it’s gone.”
“Where did you park it?”
“On the hill next to the bank.”
“You put the emergency brake on?”
I asked her to hold on a minute and got back to the Police officer and asked him to do me a favor and send and officer to the bank and ask for my wife and explain what happened.
I then picked up my wife’s line, “Hon, a police officer is going to the bank to meet you. I think what happened is the emergency slipped and the car went for a little ride.”
“Oh my God!”
“No sense worrying about it. They think it hit a pole and luckily nobody was hurt. See if you can drive it, if not call back and I’ll have it picked up and I’ll send Irene for you.”
“Can you come?”
“I’m real sorry but I’m in the middle of something that I have to get resolved now or it will be real trouble.”
“I swear to God I put the emergency brake on.”
“Don’t worry about it. Stay calm, talk to you a little later.”
End of Chapter – No post for 12/25/13
Don’t Forget: We Build America