CommunityMy FDL

Working for Mr. 1%er


After working for myself for over 30 years my business died so I landed a job in the “new” economy at a hardware store near me. I had over 30 years experience in construction industry including a year as a building  superintendant supervising construction of 56 houses I one year so I was well qualified for the position.


Starting pay for part time work was $ 10.00 /hour for 4 hours on Thursday, 4 hours Friday, 8 hours on Saturday and 7.5 on Sunday for a total of 23.5 hours. Benefits were available as a part time associate when you worked 24 hours. There was a full time associate reaching retirement soon so there would be a full time opening in the near future. I was able to work about 30 hours a week filling in for others days off or vacation time. We had 18 people working in the store at the time. After a year I received a dollar raise to $ 11 /hour and told  I would take the retiring person’s position . He was making $15.00/ hour. Shortly after my first year the head of the tool department , making 13.25 / hour, quit over pay. He wasn’t replaced and the retiring fellow and I split his duties. I was moved up to full time with a  $ .75 / hour raise. The head of the hardware department retired on January 1st and I was put in charge of both departments with no additional money.


My last paycheck was for $ 920.03 for 78 .3 hours. Taxes took $96.03 and my insurance co-pay was 342.16 leaving me $ 483.60 for two weeks or leaving me $ 6.17 /hour take home pay. My boss was doing well Lexus and a Mercedes hardtop convertible, nice home in the country and of course a shore house. Pennsylvania  is  a republican “ employment –at-will”  state. Which permits the company or employee to terminate  the employment  relationship at any time, for any reason.


Quotes from the employee handbook ‘ we believe in delivering 60 minutes of outstanding work for every hour of pay we collect. “and we were expected to provide “Amazing” service to every customer .  ‘


So this spring I was required to lift a paint shaker , along with three other people.  The shaker weighed 535 pounds not including packing. There are millwrights who install heavy machinery but they cost money so we did it in house. As I was lifting I felt a ‘”pop” in my left shoulder. I’ve strained muscles before and usually work my way through them, not this time. I reported the accident and was sent to a workman’s comp doctor who was in fact a  Physician’s Assistant who sent me to physical therapy, after a week off for medical reason.. I wasn’t given an MRI for seventy days .


After my week off I came back to work on Friday , had off Sat. And Sun. returned Monday and was fired on Tuesday for “ do to poor attitude toward customers and employees and was warned several times”. The only complaint in my file ,after working for 22 months, was  in August 2013 , Quote from my supervisor “ I asked a customer if he needed any help and he said no  Mr.  Grumpypants helped me with keys .  I said who? He said you know, the guy with the mustache who looks like he doesn’t want to be here “I was never informed of this single complaint.

If you are fired in Pa for cause you are not entitled to any workman’s compensation pay although they have to pay any medical expenses.


Well it turns out they completely tore the tendons from both of my biceps. I lost my ability to work around the house, work anywhere else and just yesterday had reconstructive surgery on my left arm to be followed with 6 months physical therapy, followed by reconstructive surgery on my right shoulder followed by 6 more months of  PT without any income. Welcome to the 1%ers world .

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I've been a self employed cabinet maker for over 25 years. Graduated from Bloomsburg with a degree in secondary education, sociology. Never taught and never fought in Nam. Live on a little farm>10 acres w/ my wife, 2 horses and four cats. I have one grown daughter who lives in New York.