Welcome to our July issue. This is the place where we put together all the loose ends and weird stuff from the floor of your Editor's office.
Last issue I blasted the region meeting in Reno, Nev. I was taken to task by many whom I respect and was asked to lighten up a bit. Fat chance.
But they were right about one thing: It's time for a change!
So here's ..
Griever's Corner, Part 1
Well, I guess we've completely pissed everyone off except the great masses of grass roots union members. You know, the ones that stay home and run the trains while the rest of us go to regional meetings.
I may have given the impression that these meetings are a waste of time. If I did, I was wrong. True, some of the time spent was bullshit. I've been asked to lighten up on this, but I calls 'em like I sees 'em.
Listen, folks, the region meetings are open to any and all members. There's a lot of good stuff going on there, and the door ain't closed. Hell, last year our local offered to pay most of the expenses for ANY member that wanted to go. The result? Not one request to go! NOT ONE!!! If you don't give a rat's ass about your union, if your union meeting consists only of the officers and visitors and insurance salesmen, don't be surprised if things don't go your way. If you don't like what's going on, take an active role. Attend those meetings, run for office, change things. That's what I did a few years ago and look what a happy camper I am!
We Get Letters: Part 1
I agree that implementing TWC on your mountain would be a bad idea. I fail to understand the appeal of TWC except some dispatchers think it is easier to dispatch. Those folks cite the amount of talking that takes place with DTC as a problem. While in TWC territory, there have been a significant number of rail incidents including ones involving fatalities which were due to crew misunderstanding of operating authority, to my knowledge, there has never been an incident on DTC territory that could be attributed to crew misunderstanding of operating authority. None! One big proponent of DTC is a mountain territory dispatcher who works out of San Bernardino, (North Bakersfield to Slover on the West Colton line). He was a member of the team that designed DTC and remains a strong proponent of DTC over TWC. He told me that right after the UP take over, they tried to replace DTC with TWC system wide and it was the FRA that stopped them. The weenies seemed more concerned about the SP taint being a problem rather than
looking objectively at the respective systems. If anything needs to be junked, it's TWC.
From our spies in Omaha comes the following:
1. Some of the more unstable folks at CMS have taken to rolling ball bearings around in their hands ala Capt. Queeg.
2. Some of the even more unstable ones have been known to shave their heads in honor of a wooden idol someone has placed in their midst.
3. There is a rumor that there are twenty-five clones of a guy called "Dave" at CMS. Nobody has ever really seen him, though.
4. Dick D. has purchased 2000 sq. ft. of freezer space from Omaha Steaks so he'll have someplace to sleep next winter.
5. Rob Krebs is looking at an adjoining space so he can prep for living in Canada.
6. The bean counters have come up with a reason CMS is in charge of guarantee.
7. No, they haven't.
8. The ball bearings mentioned in (1.) are supplied by the carrier in small plastic dishes.
9. Nobody on the 12th floor has figured out what a "Punkism" is. Good.
10. Most people in Omaha still think Roseville is the greatest railyard ever built in all of human history. OK?
QUOTE of the MONTH
Always do sober what you said you'd do drunk. That will teach you to keep your mouth shut.
From time to time the muse comes upon our poet laureate, and we are obliged to share his prolific pentameters with you This month: Limericks.
The budget games finally got to me
Timekeeping has started to screw me
If they won't pay my claim
Then I'm not to blame
When they have to come out and recrew me
Discipline's the first course on the menu
And the officers enjoy sticking it in you
CEO sez the culture must adjust
In order to gain employees' trust
But meanwhile the firings continue
Shoe Duck came to town with a roar
"I'll get the trains running" he swore
But Roseville's a train killing pit
Caused by the redesign of it
And the end of a career for one more
Dear Dan Landers
I have wanted to work on the railroad all my life and finally got a job on the Circus Train as an elephant humper. (Not at all what you may think.) My job is to tell the elephants when it is time to get on or get off of the train. I wasn't exactly sure how to communicate with these beasts, but I did my best. Started with a low level cattle prod, finally got a Black and Decker 20k volt Buzz Master. It worked great!! One or two jolts and those babies were trotting out of the tent heading for the train.
I was so successful that we started arriving at the siding before the train did. The elephants had to stand in the hot sun for an hour or two and wait for their ride. They tended to get a little surly. It was not very pleasant for any of us.
The next time I blasted them with my handy Buzz Master they revolted. They didn't want to go out and stand in the hot sun. They wanted to stay in the comfortable tent and eat hay. But, my job depended on getting these elephants out to the train at any cost, so I jolted them again. This time one of them grabbed me with his trunk, threw me up against the wall then another one held me down with his paw (hoof? Foot?) while another one dumped on me.
I would not be discouraged . I dusted myself off, turned the knob all the way up on the Buzz Master and blasted them with a double jolt. This time I was successful in getting them out of the tent. As we started down the road towards the siding the Ringmaster wanted to know where we were going. I told him and he went ape (so to speak). Told me the circus wasn't going to leave until the next day and these elephants were needed for the afternoon show.
I told him I already had enough problems with these elephants and if I allowed them to go back into the tent I may never get them out again.
The show went on that afternoon without the elephants and I got fired. What should I do now?
Dejected in Orlando
Don't despair. Your training has qualified you for a position with the UP as a Chicken Coop Herder. (Not at all what you might think.) All you have to do is show up at Roseville, stand around the chicken coop (the place where the trainmen report for duty) and make sure they get out of there and to their train as soon as possible. Very similar to humping elephants. It doesn't matter if they have their lists, checked their track warrants, etc. All you have to do is get them moving. You must not listen to their complaints because they're just like the elephants. Once you listen to them they'll take advantage of you every time. They'll come up with all kinds of excuses, like, "Our train hasn't left Sparks yet." Or, "I don't have a consist." It doesn't matter. Just like the elephants, give them another jolt and shove them out the door. And, unlike the elephants, they won't dump on you. Not physically, anyway.
Up-isms: or, How to speak UP!
Let's see, there are a lot of UP ism's out there. A few, for instance:
Just look in your dictionary under up....
UPdraft - hot air rises, like when Dick Davidson is talking.
Upheaval- Also known as UPchuck. A common employee reaction to UPdrafts
UPbraid - The very first name and fitting description for UPgrade
UPbeat - Level 6 under UPbraid
UPshot - Level 7 under UPbraid
UPwind - Ike speaking about "changing the culture" on UP (also causes UPheavals)
UPstroke - The purpose behind UPwind speeches
UPrising - What will happen once the employees quit blaming the unions and each other and figure out who is really screwing them.
UPhill - The direction flat cars roll in Roseville Yard
See. Ain't this fun? Open the dictionary and add some more UPism's
MASS MARKETING, UP Style
As most of us know, the UP has set up a vending machine system so the bean counters can justify their jobs in Omaha. Of course, anyone with a brain has already figured out they spend more money on vending machines, bean counting and the bozos that keep track of this nonsense than what it would cost to give this stuff away, but that would be way too easy.
The UP vending machines that dispense those gloves, batteries and ear-plugs to everyone are now administered by a group in Omaha identified as UPtake. This new focus group has identified more items that they believe operating employees need. Coming soon to your shanty will be these fun & handy items:
1. Edible "gummy-bear" ear-plugs in day-glow colors.
2. "Limbo-time" blow-up pillows for when you're out there over 12 hours.
3. Solar-powered lanterns. If this works out, no more batteries.
4. H.A.H.T. time "inflate-a-family." Been gone to long? Inflate this lifelike family ensemble to feel right at home.
5. Sidewall Heater Recipe book with a pull-out section on which foods do not require refrigeration for 12 or more hours.
6. Deadheader's personal "carry-on air-bag" Just plug it into Rentzenberger's cigarette lighter and set it on your lap the next time you go on "Mr. Toad's Wild Ride."
7. Combination Temple-stick and lip balm in five fruity flavors!
And more to come, of course.
Railroad History Lesson, Part 3
Early in the spring of 1869, UP vice-president Thomas Durant was on his way to Promontory, Utah for the driving of the Gold Spike. When he passed through Wyoming he was kidnapped and held hostage by the UP tie cutters working there. Seems they hadn't been paid in SIX MONTHS!! They held Dr. Durant until the money was coughed up. Some things never change.
After arriving at Promontory, Durant and Leland Stanford, President of the Central Pacific, both tried to drive in the fabled Gold Spike. They both missed and it was driven home by a construction Foreman. Some things never change.
After the ceremony it was reported that $3000 worth of food and booze (mostly booze) was consumed by the celebrants, paid for by Durant and Stanford.
Some things ought to change!
SNAKEBITES is brought to you by the Roseville Switchmen as a public nuisance. If you start to take this stuff seriously, ask for a transfer to Omaha. They need folks like you. Criticism, comments and cash are welcome.