First of all, the back story.
Back in late 89, early 1990, after looking for a job, to no avail, for 16 months. My Uncle Gerard “Chin” Finney had called my mom and said there was a job available at his place of employment in Edmonton. I bit the bullet and sold everything I had to try and raise enough money to get a plane ticket. It took almost 2 weeks and the job was being held, but for not much longer, so I was off to Edmonton, first time on a plane, freighted to death at what was ahead of me.
The job was with Grinnell (formally Tyco Ltd.), I arrived and the next day, I was working there! Things moved fast, and Chin let me stay at his place until I raised enough money to move out on my own. He threw his keys at me a few days later and told me to go get lost in his pickup, the best way to get to know the city was to go get lost and find your way back.
My girlfriend from back home joined me a few months later. We got ourselves an apartment and shortly thereafter I injured my back at work. I was climbing the mini stairs on the carts we used and was trying to pull a box of fittings off the rack and twisted the wrong way, excruciating pain shot through my back to my legs.and I went off work, had to make a claim, fought with Worker’s Comp, even though they (Grinnell) falsified my time card for that day and had people sign a document saying that I did not work that day (they actually falsified that document as well, told the guys that by signing it, I would get my claim settled faster), I did manage to get some money from Worker’s, I’ll leave it at that for now, that’s a whole different story.
A couple years later, Chin called me and said he was now working for Dominion Oilfield Supply and my cousin Steve was the boss of the warehouse and they were looking for people, so, Chin got me another job. Steve hird Chin, with a guarantee that he would be getting 2 weeks holidays, as opposed to 1 week as a new employee, nothing was ever put in writing, more about that deal later. It was a while later that we were moving warehouses and amalgamating another company into a bigger warehouse, although, as it turned out, it wasn’t quite big enough.
To try and make a long story short, I’ll cut to the chase. Steve was let go a while later and they put me in charge of receiving. So I was now Chin’s boss. During an inventory one weekend, a couple of guys were caught outside by The New Big Guy, who had just taken over for the guy that Steve made the deal with about the vacation time for Chin. They were drinking and smoking drugs out in the parking lot, and they were fired immediately. They both were guys with long hair, hippy looking dudes. So a few days later, I received a call from The Big Guy and he said “All the Long Hairs got to go”, I told him one of those guys was my Uncle, he said he didn’t give a shit.
So, here was Chin, pissed off that he was only getting a week vacation time, and here I was trying to save his ass from getting let go. Not sure if he was aware of that or not, but his actions over the next week or so, did not help in the least. Break time would come and go, Chin would not be seen anywhere, then after the break was over and the crew (9 guys) went back to work, Chin would arrive in receiving and stand around smoking cigarettes for 15-20 minutes or more, depending on his mood that day. Wouldn’t you know it, every fucking time he would be standing around, fucking the dog, as they called it in Alberta, The big guy would appear at the top of the stairs, peering down at Chin, standing there doing nothing. This went on for about 10 days or so, until finally, I got the call from upstairs, and was told, he had to go, or we both were gone! I did what I could, but it was a losing battle. I had warned him many times that this what not the way to go about settling this. In hindsight, I should have gone with him and filed a report with The Department of Labour and The Human Rights Commision, but I was pretty green and after what Worker’s Comp.and Grinnell did to me, I didn’t feel much like fighting another company.
I didn’t have the balls to fire him, so I had the acting warehouse manager do it for me. It was a fucking sad day all around and I am still ashamed of how it went down, but that was then. Sadly, Chin passed away home, in St. John’s in 2012 after a battle with Cancer. I never knew he was even home, let alone sick. If it wasn’t for a post that my cousin Steve made on Facebook, I would never know he passed.
My Cousin Steve Lyver
with his daughter Kendall
Gerard “Chin” Finney