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When Your Boss Sucks
Defining The Management Mangina With Samuel Finlay
“I have a disagreement with something you mentioned about unions and management. I’m in a union and every manager I’ve worked for has been a brown nosed, back-stabbing, spineless mangina. I think its part of management culture in corporations to promote this type exclusively. Easily led, easily terrified of losing face, pathetic creatures. Your experience may differ.”
Sam, our experience does not seem to differ much. The management creature you describe has generally been the one holding the reins of the union carriage I was yoked to.
First, I do believe that unions are necessary and desirable for trades, and do have two friends who have had all good experiences as union electricians.
Sam, you have probably taken offense to one of my many anti-union statements. I was in management for four years and in a union for 15. The entire time I was in the union I turned down management positions because I knew I would be unable to reward good employees. If I had a guy stocking 400 pieces a night I would not be allowed to pay him anymore than the guy freighting 45 pieces, as United Food and Commercial Workers Local 27 was a communist entity that stipulated that merit pay was not a management option. This was one of the few things they took a stand on. That union currently has [I think] seven contract tiers for the same classifications. I used to work in an aisle with a guy making 18 an hour who did nothing next to another guy who made 7.50 an hour, who was expected not to be demoralized by the fact that his salary capped at 10.40!
What was worse is that this union sold future employees out with every contract, giving the company most of what it wanted and getting current union members to vote for lower pay for future union members. The other thing they did, was get in lockstep with management to eliminate fulltime positions! By eliminating full time employment the company would have to hire twice as many people and the union would make more money, as the number of union members increased!
When I had a hearing for a suspension caused by store level management lying about me, I noticed that the female union rep came in with the Vice President, and head of HR, Mike Deagro—in Mike’s imported car, the dapper Italian and the fawning young lady, who he had breakfast and lunch with. I ignored her, other than to check out her ass and pretty face so that Mike knew he and I were on the same page, and then preceded to destroy my manager, who got demoted and transferred, with me offered his position. It was Mike and Me. I didn’t need his arm candy mouthing platitudes. She was just a piece of union ass. Mike was The Man, and I was Mike’s best man, and he knew it. But, he would not have known it had I not been able to converse outside of the adversarial union versus management box.
The worst thing about working in union retail outlets was the toxic relationship that the adversarial union versus management structure produced. Employees made lack of productivity an ethos. The employers, unable to reward a good worker with anything other than a management position—which open but rarely—resorted to exactly the type of manipulative, back-stabbing negative supervision you are describing.
I have worked in 4 non-union food markets as an employee. Three of these operations had management staff who encouraged, rewarded and helped me. The bad outfit, I eventually came back to as a GM and addressed those issues. In the four unionized chain stores I worked as an employee [as opposed to a consultant or vender] all were negative experiences, and remained so as new managers came and went, for the most part interchangeable black-tie cookies stamped from the same corporate cutter—many of them thieves. I was able to form positive relationships with key management figures by being very productive and gaining intangible benefits such as one redneck manager telling his redneck night captain, who had just written me up for being late, “Don’t fuck with my fuckin’ hippie, boy! My fuckin hippie is worth three men—fuckin’ throw that fuckin’ write up in the fuckin’ trash you fuckin’ idiot.”
Such “on the sly” rewards earned me the undying hatred of my union coworkers, who would even threaten me on occasion. Oddly enough, at the last store I was stationed, I became an informal shop steward, a mediator between management and the staff. Because the shop steward only held that position so he would have super seniority, and did not care about his fellow union members, which was very common. Rarely was the shop steward trusted, and often did they betray that trust they had been given. With the managers you knew going in that they were manipulative, backstabbing savages with no morality. But the shop steward was the snake in the grass.
Granted, retail food is the pits, so I expect everybody to be a pit-level person, and it is not right for me to categorize all unions like this low rent one.
One thing that did really bother me about the Teamsters union was the following, which is a perfect illustration of how the negative union mentality is triggered by the manipulative management mentality, which is set in motion by the adversarial nature of the union-management relationship:
When my brother worked for UPS, he was low man, so got the Reisterstown Road Route, where guys did not last because they were constantly robbed at gunpoint. Tony decided to max his speed on this route, was the first guy out the chute and literally ran through his stops. Tony did so good, that he came to the attention of management, who went to the other drivers and demanded they work as hard as Tony. So the other drivers blocked him in for two hours in the morning, literally putting him in hoodrat gun sights. He soon quit rather than get stuck up on a regular basis.
Overall, I think unions function better in the trades because they are still set up as brotherhoods and take part in preserving the trade skill set, as guilds of old did. I think unions are a mistake in menial occupations, in which they are just vehicles for collective job security that enable low productivity. Union supermarkets are continuing to diminish because of this. I think that a union is something that calls for high level members, and a guild organization committed to upholding trade standards, not lowering them.
As for your description of management as “brown nosed, back-stabbing, spineless mangina,” in my experience, 60-70% of managers in non-union settings fit this mold, and that in union settings, 90+% fit this poor mold.
Sam, this deserves more space than I gave it here, and is a symptom of a larger problem, namely our increasingly feminized men, and the fact that men who now wish to advance in management, are often selected for their passive-aggressive, pecking-order-focused, feminine traits, as the traits of submissive, natural slaves—who will demand likewise empty-headed compliance from those beneath them—are desired by the upper echelons of management, who wish to preserve the male role for themselves, even at the expense of function and profit, for this style of management does not grow a vibrant business, but rather a structure built on a self-destructive foundation.
Thanks, Sam, for getting my brain ticking this afternoon.
Sam is unfortunately accustomed to doing grunt work for jerks—he was in the Army!—and his story can be read in Breakfast with the Dirt Cult available via the link below. He has written a script for it, so lets wish him luck in Hollywood.
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Add Comment
Sam FinlayMarch 13, 2016 12:18 AM UTC

James, thanks for the shout-out, but I think this was the other Sam.
responds:March 13, 2016 10:42 AM UTC

Sorry, Sam—hey, it's press! I have four Sam's corresponding with me and I am a techtard after all.