One of the few tangible benefits of working a service industry job is the flexibility. Whether it be a schedule that works with classes, a full time job or vacation, it is one of the true perks of this job.
Well I suppose I should be careful what I wish for, I’ve always been a proponent of wait staff/bartending being treated like a “real job” in many areas such as paid time off, benefits, respect towards sick days as well as following Department of Labor statutes, shocking, I know.
Of course we won’t be getting any of that on a decent scale, the one thing they have decided to give us is a static schedule, taking away one of the few things I like about this type of work.
First off, fearless leader wanted to take away “request off” shifts completely and let the staff work out days we need off amongst ourselves.
Because that’s what we get paid the big bucks to do, the management’s scheduling and “work it out ourselves.”
Secondly if we wanted be able to take time off we were to use out vacation pay (I made $150 for the week after taxes at minimum, the usual amount I make for one of my shifts). I suppose the part timers (32 hours and under) just wouldn’t be able to take a week off since they don’t qualify.
However one of out few competent managers managed to talk him out of it. I’ve seen server revolts before friends, it isn’t pretty, and one was brewing. I made it quite clear the shit-storm myself and others were preparing in response if this arbitrary decision was to come to pass.
Since this initial plan fell to the side, fearless leader and the minions did what they do best. Exert their authority in the lamest ways possible, be reactive instead of proactive, vindictive instead of professional and most importantly, to show who is in control.
They start fucking with our schedules and our request offs.
Requests off work kind of like this at my and many other restaurants. Usually you talk to a manager a few weeks to a month in advance and write it down. We have a book that has a certain amount of slots on each date, get in early and you should have no problem. As in all realms of life, fail to communicate and get in late, well it may be questionable if you get the time off.
So far a half a dozen of us have been affected. All of us communicated our vacation/time off needs months in advance, all of us put it in writing so there would be no questions. This is what happened to the six individuals, the names have been changed as usual to protect the innocent.
Jessica was the first case. She had requested when she was HIRED that she needed a week off in July to go on a cross state biking event. Cara put it in writing and was given the week off, with one exception. Management had scheduled her a crappy Tuesday lunch shift in the middle of her time off, like she was to drop her vacation plans for one shitty shift.
Alicia is our second case, she has family in Ohio and was visiting them for the first time in months. She had plane reservation for certain dates and certain times, management was aware of this in writing. They scheduled her for a shift that would occur while she would be sitting at O’Hare Airport on a layover. She missed her shift, was written up, and threatened with termination.
Third case is Tony and Cara, they are a prototypical restaurant couple. Been together for years, work the same shifts and pretty much kick ass. Every summer they go on a week long camping trip, they requested off two months ago. I think you see where this is going, Tony was scheduled one shift in the middle of his request time, Cara scheduled two days before they were to return.
They barely covered their shifts.
By this time every one of these employees had talked to management. In some cases they were listened to politely, in others certain managers took liberties with their income, sections and cut them off of profitable parties. As well they are mysteriously in trouble all of a sudden and being scrutinized instead of being allowed to do their job and make a living.
At any rate nothing was done…
Tim was scheduled the night he requested off , his girlfriend who he cares about was leaving town.
Stella was scheduled on a weekend she had her child and a family function, request off denied.
Then there was my situation. Every August I go up north and fish for a week. Frankly the prospect of this trip is the only thing keeping my sanity intact as far as work goes. A month ago I went to the scheduling manager and told her what week I wanted off. I was told to put it in writing and I did, as well I filled out the request off book, I made it to the very first spot on every day I needed off.
I bet even you 10% tippers could figure out what happened.
I received every day off I needed, except for Thursday’s lunch shift, three days after I leave the state, three days before I return.
I immediately went up to the scheduling manager to issue a complaint, I tied the nice guy approach.
“So what’s up with that lunch shift next week? I won’t be in town.” I said politely (believe it or not).
Using incompetent manager byline 173 from the handbook she snidely said what I expected her to, “That’s why they’re called requests and not days off.”
“What am I supposed to do if I can’t cover it, stay in town and work one shift for the entire week, and miss vacation?” I said, my demeanor taking a sharp, condescending tone.
“If you have a problem with it we can talk about this in the office.” She snapped back at me.
Which is manager code for I’ll find some reason to write you up, reduce your section size or otherwise act like an ass.
“I don’t think that will accomplish anything,” I said, “maybe I’ll take it to human resources instead.”
“They’ll tell you the same thing I told you.” She replied.
“I wouldn’t be to sure about that, regardless, I won’t be in town next week, that you can count on.” I said.
She just shot me a dirty look and returned to leaning on the wall, the only thing she does with competence.
To be continued Thursday, after I get some results…