Tuesday, July 3, 2007

A Potentially Career Limiting Move

My idea for the title of this blog came not from my activities as a swashbuckling book reviewer, but from a comment made by a former boss, who felt that comments I'd made in a resignation letter constituted "a real career-limiting move." Yes, that's right, in a resignation letter. No irony intended. In certain situations, I just have a hard time keeping my mouth shut and my head down, in no small part because whenever I have done that, I've felt dirty afterwards.

I won't get into the details in public, but basically what happened is my employer tried to tell me I couldn't do something that my collective bargaining agreement says I can do. Against the counsel of a few co-workers (who agreed that I was in the right but figured I'd get in shit), I stuck to my guns. Sure enough, when I got back into Vancouver today, I was called into the office and told that I was to be "investigated" and held out of service without pay until the investigation was complete. This is part of the intimidation/bullying/harassment arsenal they employ on a semi-regular basis to get people to give up their contractual prerogatives. I'm quite confident that I'll win in this case, but even if I do, I'll have a bullseye on my back for a while. Nothing I ain't used to.

The trip itself was a bit crazy. Everything was running smoothly, until the morning of the third day, when I woke up and realized we were still in Melville, SK, which we should've left an hour or so earlier. Turns out a train ahead of us had derailed, so the road was blocked. The derailment of freight trains is a pretty routine occurrence, so I didn't think much of it. It could be as minor as a car or two being off the tracks, but still upright. That wasn't the case here, however. After moving up the line from Melville to Yarbo, we finally got the go-ahead to proceed, the derailment having been "cleaned up." As we approached the bridge over the Cutarm River, I could see that it was a pretty bad derailment, a couple of cars completely tipped over. But as we crawled over the bridge, I looked down into the river valley and saw this incredible wreckage of cars and containers. Seems a wicked wind had blown some double-stacked container cars off the bridge and they took a whole bunch of other cars with them. Crazy mess. I was looking for some pictures on line, but the media don't seem to have picked up on it much.

After that, we were delayed again by some bozo trying to use the train as the instrument of his self-destruction. Unfortunately, he failed in his objective. Then, because of the compounded delays, our engineers ran out of legal driving time and we were delayed further waiting for a relief crew. I never did make it to Winnipeg, as the train I was supposed to head west on left the station before we got there. So at Portage la Prairie, I and all the other Vancouver-based staff hopped off one train and onto another. Which was the point at which I did what got me into trouble. Fortunately, I have a spotless record with the company to-date, which I think lends a great deal of credibility to my case. We'll see.

3 comments:

rob taylor said...

good on ya, and good luck.

Steven W. Beattie said...

Best of luck, brother. Integrity, she's a bitch.

Brenda Schmidt said...

Without pay! Sheesh. For how long? At this rate we'll have to throw together a care package for you. Or set up a foundation...