25 August 2006

What a day.

I've done fuck-all today, which was partly due to the fact that I'm not allowed to cut drywall per contract, and partly due to the fact that somehow I was magically transported to some kind of fascist police-state. Let me explain.

[Background info:] Since the middle of the month, I've been working on moving and finding receptacles in the west-side A-suites. Finding them is easy; sometimes other trades just forget to cut an opening out of the wallpaper or drywall for it. And, usually, moving receptacles isn't hard either. But for some reason, in order for me to move these boxes, in some cases the entertainment centers had to be removed from the walls, or the doors had to be dismantled and moved. Per contract, I can cut a small hole in drywall if it's square to the studs. But for what I had to do included removing parts of the entire wall, so we had to place a request for removal, all kinds of foolishness. And in one case, I'll have to install splicer boxes just to be able to reroute our cables.

On to the story.

First thing in the morning, I was asked to slip-sheet my foreman's prints. It's where you integrate newer revisions with originals or as-builts. He had this huge stack of architechturals, electricals, audio-visuals, and tele-data prints, all smeared around a huge pile of discarded framing members. Upside down, backwards, torn...it's amazing how guys won't take care of something so vital to construction. (And for the record, this isn't how my foreman keeps his prints; Julian is meticulous, it's the guys on our crew that fling them about.) So I spent no less than 2 hours separating them, and organizing, when Julian asked me to walk through inspection with him. Several floors were inspected (headboards, elevator lobby, and walls & celilings) with relatively few touch-ups needed, but still, it takes time. So about an hour later, when I returned to my prints, they were on the floor in a ball. I'm not kidding. Another hour I was on top of it, but the A-V's were missing, and it turns out a journeyman went through and took all of them out, since "apprentices aren't supposed to have prints" and he needed them. I convinced him finally to let me have them back so I could update them, and by noon (halfway through my shift) I had it all organised onto one stick. And there were complaints that they weren't separated onto two sticks, so likely I'll come in to work Monday and see them on the floor again. Typical.

About that time I learned of a new rule, from our apprenticeship hall. Classes--which are mandatory for remaining in the apprenticeship--start at 16h30. Our shift ends at 16h30, and lunch therefore is at 14h00. Since "normal" jobsites leave for the day at 14h30, apprentices decided to leave at 14h00...we were leaving at lunch, able to go home, take a shower, and get something to eat before classes, whcih don't let out until 21h30. I guess it was pissing off a few foreman (at least one in particular) so the official rule now is no apprentice can leave before 15h30. Granted, our school is close to 20 miles away from the jobsite. With good traffic, one can get there in about 40 minutes. So, today was the day for first-year classes, all of whome left their books etc at home, thinking they could go at lunch. But they weren't allowed, because of the memo. So while many of them took a tardy to class, one of the instructors (Les, my former foreman) left at lunch. You know, to take a shower, get something to eat, feel refreshed before a 5-hour class period. He sets a great example. In the meantime, he didn't even give his first-year apprentice a copy of the memo to show to his instructor as an excuse for being late.

Meanwhile, after all the angry protests that ensued after hearing this, I went to work on trying to move a few more boxes. And had issues, because whoever cut the drywall didn't leave the boxes intact, so I lost my marks. "Move box 1-1/2" east." East from where?? I have no idea where that box used to be. And yet, there's still one part of the wall that needs to be moved, so I was still unable to get all I needed to get done out of the way.

At the end of the day, we had our safety meeting. Our foreman suggested that if we want the rules about leaving for class changed, we needed to contact the appropriate directors. (No worries, that was done at break.) We were also informed of the new "one-minute" rule: the general foreman and superintendent will be walking the job and if anyone is a minute late or a minute early for anything (arrival, break, lunch, or walk-out), it's a write up, as the required verbal warning was implied upon start of employment. I doubt the steward will be present. With three write-ups, it's termination without eligibility for re-hire (which is about a year in construction) and for apprentices, it means we have to see the committee and aren't allowed to take a call to a jobsite until that time. The committee doesn't meet every month, either. So it was sugested to get to the site an hour early, "to be safe". Whatever.

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