The Time the Teamsters Almost Beat Me Up

I don’t usually tell stories here, but it occurred to me that I actually have quite a few funny stories from my strange life that I could be sharing. You all probably won’t mind a break from the monotony of my Obama bashing either. You’ll know I’m about to tell a story if the title of the post starts with “The time…”

When I graduated from high school, I went to work for Herff Jones in their yearbook division. I literally started the day after graduation. I started as a lowly peon doing manual paste-up (I took photos and text and stuck them to grids for the walk-in camera). I did that for two seasons, and then my boss decided to let me move onto the computers, which in 1998 were just starting to find their way into the business. I spent two seasons doing digital paste-up (during which my boss was promoted and the old group leader became supervisor), and then was (oddly enough) promoted to group leader for the department. That meant I got to do training and troubleshooting along with regular work. After two seasons of that, another supervisor left the company and my old boss promoted me to supervisor.

That’s when the fun began.

Realize I was still 22 when I became a supervisor. I had direct reports who had been working in the department since before I was born. Needless to say, not everyone was pleased with my promotion. Especially since I had to fire a bunch of people. No, we didn’t have Teamsters at Herff Jones… I’ll get to the part where the Teamsters try to beat me up.

At one point, I had to fire a person who could only be described as unstable. This particular person told me during the firing that they “knew what car I drove and I’d better watch my back.” A couple of days later I found nails propped under my tires, so I decided I should take the threat seriously lest I find myself driving without brakes.

So after discussing it with my boss, I decided it would be best to park at another building and walk. At the time, there was an abandoned building nearby, and there always seemed to be a few cars parked there. I thought that would be a good candidate, so I parked and went to work.

It was a Saturday, so the crew at Herff Jones wasn’t very large. I had a class that afternoon, so I left a bit early and walked back to my car. As soon as I got into the car, five other cars screeched up and surrounded my car, and a bunch of thugs jumped out. I locked my doors (like that would really help) and they started pounding on the windows telling me to get out.

I may be thick-headed, but I wasn’t about to get out of my car. I got out my cell phone and called the police, making sure the thugs could see it. After I called the police, I called my boss and told him I was about to be killed. The fact my call to the police didn’t sway them from their thuggish behavior should tell you how serious they were.

After what seemed like an eternity, a bunch of the Herff Jones guys came out of the building and headed my way. They were fairly thuggish in their own right, so I felt better right away. Before they got all the way over to me, the police arrived. Whew! The cop came over to my car and told me to get out, and I told him I wasn’t opening my door till all of the thugs backed off.

The police rounded up all these guys and questioned them. There were about 15 thugs and by the time it was over there were at least that many police cars there. I laughed when I saw the small crowd of Herff Jones people watching from the patio behind our building. It must have been quite a sight.

This happened in Mission, Kansas. If it had happened 2 blocks away in Overland Park, there probably would have been some tazers deployed (the O.P. cops are some angry thugs as well).

After the police got all of the thugs to leave, I finally got out of my car to give them my side of it. They had dented my car pounding on it, but the cops had already let them leave. (Thanks Mission police)

It turned out that they were Teamsters who were on strike from the Associated Wholesale Grocers, and the parking lot I had inadvertently parked in was the lot that the scabs had been using (and then bussing over to the AWG 10 miles away).

I felt fortunate not to be a scab (hence dead meat), but it forever solidified my feelings about unions and union members. I already felt they were silly and wealth-destroying, and now I had first hand experience with how violent they were. When I see a “proud to be union” bumper sticker now, I think “hmm. there goes a thug who doesn’t deserve his job.”

Yes, I’m biased. Now you know.

  1 comment for “The Time the Teamsters Almost Beat Me Up

  1. livieloo
    May 20, 2009 at 11:28 am

    I’m glad you lived through that experience.

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