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Re: Letter to the Union Hall
Arthur P. Bloom #636388 04/12/20 11:36 PM
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Arthur, what took so long to switch?

We haven't switched yet. The cable company switch doesn't have the correct software version to provide Centrex®-like features, and the town workers would rebel if the dialing procedures changed.


Arthur P. Bloom
"30 years of faithful service...15 years on hold"

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Re: Letter to the Union Hall
Arthur P. Bloom #636403 04/13/20 11:34 PM
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To be fair, I will say that the Union president got in touch after I sent the letter, but I have never heard from the Company about the issues. They're basically not interested in a small customer like us, with only 40 or so lines.


Arthur P. Bloom
"30 years of faithful service...15 years on hold"

Re: Letter to the Union Hall
Arthur P. Bloom #636407 04/14/20 07:00 AM
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In the early 80s, I tried and tried to get hired by C&P Telephone/Bell Atlantic/Verizon. I went to their local employment office in Falls Church, VA and went through all of the formalities, filled out all of the forms, took the tests and received the typical "don't call us, we'll call you" response by a front desk clerk. I did this for years. Each time, I received a form letter within a week thanking me for my interest, but they were unable to provide me with employment at this time. Keep in mind, they were advertising all over the place with available jobs. I was working as an electrician and making good money, so I didn't lose too much sleep over it. Still, I returned every six months (that was their required repeat interval for testing) and did it all over again. Same tests, same result. After my seventh attempt, I demanded to speak with a manager. I knew I was qualified and able, and I had also maxed the test each time. I demanded answers. I called and arranged to meet with the manager.

He knew why I was there and acknowledged that he had seen my package come across his desk many times. He thanked me for being so persistent and for my interest in working for the company. I then asked him why we kept going around in circles with their process for four years. He got up from his desk, closed his office door and gave me a pat on the shoulder. As he sat back down, he said that he would love to hire me. I had maxed the test every single time. I was in perfect health (fresh out of the military) and had no criminal or driving issues. They had dozens of positions available that were a shoe-in for me. He said that it saddened him to sign those form letters going out each time. He knew I was wasting my time and finally told me so.

When I pressed him for a reason, he replied: "I'll never admit that I told you this, so please don't repeat it, but you're not the proper race or gender that the company is seeking to fulfill its current quotas".

On that note, I got up, shook his hand and thanked him for his honesty. I never looked back. We kept in touch and he assured me that he'd keep me abreast of any future opportunities. I started my own interconnect company the following day in 1984 with the mindset "If you can't join 'em, beat 'em". Within two years, their Centrex sales reps were throwing more CPE business at me than I could handle. Something tells me that he might have had something to do with that, although he is long-gone and I'll never know.


Ed Vaughn, MBSWWYPBX
Re: Letter to the Union Hall
Arthur P. Bloom #636424 04/14/20 11:35 PM
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Ed:

Somewhere I have stored away a file folder from my N Y Tel days, that I swiped from the file cabinet where our personnel files were stored. It has my name and NCSD, (net credited service date, for you non-Bell heads) and SS# on the tab. Stamped in big letters is the notation "NOT ELIGIBLE FOR PROMOTION, PURSUANT TO EEOC RULES."

Like you, Ed, in a somewhat similar mind set, even though I WAS an employee, I figured "if I can't beat 'em, ph*ck 'em." Over the ensuing years, when our Union contracts got fatter and fatter, the company started messing with the salaries and pensions of the only class of workers that they could: first level management (foremen.) An executive friend of mine said "we consider foremen to be non-unionized craftsmen. They can't complain, 'cause if they did, we would just fire them." History proved him correct, and proved me to have been the "victim" of subsequent contracts and raises.

The last ten years of my career, working as a cable maintenance splicer, I grossed a total of $1,000,000. I routinely made $20,000 more than my boss, annually. When I retired with 30 years' service, counting the incentives, I walked away with a pension equal to that given to a worker with 46 years of service. My foreman got a lump sum when he retired the following year of $350,000. He had to pay tax on that amount, and even with creative accounting he wound up with a yearly income (interest on principal) of about $15,000. My pension plus stock options (again, a Union-created program) comes to a lot more. So much for not being the correct shade or chromosome type. The best thing they ever did to me was reverse discrimination.

The foremen once tried to organize (unionize). They met one evening in a huge hotel ballroom in midtown Manhattan, in NYC. Hundreds of them. In and amongst them were management "special agents" from the company security force. Pictures and videos were taken. The next week, every foreman who could be identified was called in to his boss's office and given a choice: Sign a "confession" and agreement never to attempt to organize, or walk out the door, with no pension. So much for their organizing attempt.

Ed, I hope you're not bitter about being turned down. From my experience in hanging out with you here, I'm sure you would have been a great asset to the company. It was, occasionally, a wonderful place to work. But it sounds like you had a great career in spite of them.


Arthur P. Bloom
"30 years of faithful service...15 years on hold"

Re: Letter to the Union Hall
Arthur P. Bloom #636425 04/15/20 12:11 AM
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On a similar note, when I was working in fashionable East Hampton, on Long island, during the last ten years of service, I went into a small German deli and ordered a toasted bagel with cream cheese. This was in, say, 1992 or 3. When a dollar was worth something. The owner of the deli was a big old jolly German man, complete with "aggsent" frummm der old country. He took my order, and handed me the bagel in a few minutes. I was wearing my Bell T-shirt and hard hat. He announced the price: "Three dollars."

I was slightly taken aback, even though I WAS in the fashionable Hamptons. "Three dollars???" I said. "Ja, three dollars" he answered. "One dollar for the bagel, one dollar to toast it, and one dollar for the cream cheese. You verk for the phone company, ja?...you can afford it!"

Turns out, as I learned from some of the older guys in the gang, when Otto came to the US as a teenager, having been a graduate, in fact, of a German trade school for electricians, right after WW2, he was denied employment mit the phone company, because he was, after all, a recent citizen of one of our enemies, and was not yet a citizen of the US. He was obviously a security threat. He bore a grudge against Ma Bell for 40-something years, because they wouldn't hire him, and took it out on telephone workers whenever he could.

I'm a kraut/mick myself, so I can say without the PC police chastising me, that he was the incarnation of the famed German trait of "Don't get mad...get even."


Arthur P. Bloom
"30 years of faithful service...15 years on hold"

Re: Letter to the Union Hall
Arthur P. Bloom #636426 04/15/20 02:12 AM
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Funny Ed....1980 I was getting out of the military after being an installer for 4 years. Like you I passed the test and heard nothing. When I called someone I knew at the local operating company they had one of the hiring mangers let me know the same thing. Looking for someone a little different looking than me. Went into the interconnect world and holy crap it was like robbing a bank. I can remember installing Northern Telecom PBXs in many locations. It wasn't uncommon to install 70 phone PBX systems in banks for $250K. Companies would get prepaid for systems and deliver them in 6-8 months. Picked up $600K checks for projects many times. I started at one interconnect that was one of the fastest growing companies in the US. When I showed up they couldn't buy enough vans. They told me to go get my service vehicle and I could get what ever I could work out of. The headquarters building was full of company bought Cadillacs. I asked if they were sure about anything to work out of. They said no problem. I drove a white Lincoln Town Car Cartier Series with a ladder hanging out of the trunk. Best riding service vehicle i ever had. Man I miss those days.


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Re: Letter to the Union Hall
Arthur P. Bloom #636427 04/15/20 02:52 AM
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I have a very similar story. In 1974 I applied to NY Telephone for a job. Went down to the employment office on...Madison Avenue? Anyway. I took the test. I aced it. I knew SxS stitching, PA, ICM and 1A2. I was rejected and I was told that "At this time we are only hiring minorities." I asked how many people of Jewish extraction they had working at NY Tel?

Let me say that NY Tel - in the 50's, 60's and into the '70s hired no one who wasn't Irish or German - or at least had an Irish or German name and looked like they could pass.

The fellow who was interviewing me said he had all the information in front of him and looked it up.

"Something under 1/10 of 1%" was his answer.

"I would think that in NYC with its current ethnic makeup, that would not only make me a minority - but a discriminated against minortiy" I said.

"Yes" he said, "but you're the wrong minority".

And I said.....

And they had Security escort me out of the building.

And I stayed in Interconnect and never looked back.

Sam

Last edited by Silversam; 04/15/20 02:55 AM.

"Where are we going and why are we in this hand basket?"
Re: Letter to the Union Hall
Arthur P. Bloom #636440 04/15/20 10:13 PM
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And if you wait long enough...as the Italians say..."What goes around, comes around." Now Mother Bell is an old lady with running sores, living on the streets in a cardboard box, as it were. And we all...every one of her children and the ones she refused to adopt (like Ed and S-Sam and Fishin'), are sitting at home getting our checks and laughing.

Time to get off the Negative Nelly soapbox, and get back to telling happy stories. Like the Hawaiian Music option. Or the beeping 2500 set. Or...


Arthur P. Bloom
"30 years of faithful service...15 years on hold"

Re: Letter to the Union Hall
Arthur P. Bloom #636441 04/15/20 10:20 PM
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I love these stories!


Jeff Moss

Moss Communications
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