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I work for a private company, who operates telescopes for the US Air Force. It's a regular office building, it has a kitchen for long shifts. The only difference is that it has three deep space optical telescopes attached. We have sister sites. One in Maui, HI, and one on Socorro, NM. We have one US Air Force representative, who's rank is a major, he is the Commander of the facility. We also have my boss, the site manager. He is the civilian boss of the facility.
I work on Diego Garcia, a small British island, below India. In the states, my peers are all union. They get overtime, time and a half, and various other perks associated with unions. Diego Garcia is not unionized, because it is so remote, our site is minimally manned, and other excuses. The union guys in the states work 8 hour shifts, I work 12.
Anyway, being so remote, at my office, everyone rotates cleaning the bathroom. We all use it, we can't hire anyone to do it, so everyone rotates. Managers, operators, maintenance technicians, our one company snitch (company Quality Assurance guy) and our one systems administrator.
I'm an operator and a maintenance technician. Every Wednesday and Sunday, trash is taken out. From the kitchen, the bathroom, and the break room. I don't mind doing it. I use those areas a lot. The management work 8 hours a day, five days a week. I pull 12-hour shifts, usually 5 days a week, sometimes four, but then again, sometimes 10 days in a row, when we are low on personnel.
The management wants me to take the trash out out their offices on the trash nights. I told my boss I disagree. If you spill a drink, you clean it up. If you make a mess, you clean it up, it's just common sense. I am getting paid to be an operator/maintainer, not to clean-up your mess. I told my boss, if he leaves dirty dishes in the office sink, am I expected to clean it up? (He answered no). Then why am I expected to take out your office trash? He did not see a correlation between dishes in the kitchen and his office trash.
He said that in the states, they have people who do that, but out here... I said, yeah, they are called janitors.
The union in NM won't let operators/maintainers be maids (they hire janitors), and rumor has it in HI, the managers take out their own trash.
We got into a big heated argument, so last Wednesday, I took out the people who have offices trash, just to be the bigger man and smooth things down. I say the people who have offices, because my managers have offices, but the company snitch and systems administrator have offices as well. They are not management, they don't approve my time card, they are my peers.
So I go into the site manager's office to take out his trash. I'm in the process of fighting this rule, so he told me to take out the office (his) trash. So until I change it, I'll observe the rule, trying to follow protocol. I go into his office and his has his trash neatly tied up, ready for being taken out (the dumpster is in the parking lot, you drive by it as you leave to go home). He has four small boxes neatly stacked-up, ready for the rubbish bin. I checked the customs label on the packages, comics and trading cards.
So, he opened his mail, removed the comics and trading cards, place the boxes on the ground, went home thinking, someone will clean my mess later.
I had this discussion with the maintenance supervisor as well, about having to clean his mess. He's an ex-Marine, 20 years, and an ex-drill instructor. While we were arguing he asked me, do you expect the Air Force Major, the military commander of the site to take out his own trash? My answer was, um, yeah. We're all men, I'm a civilian man, and we're all adults. I was hired to watch satellites and space junk, not to take out your soda cans and candy wrappers from your office.
I'm torn between how far I want to take this. How many enemy's I want to make over cleaning up someone else' mess.
Rumor has it, the company may open up a new telescope site in Spain. I really want that gig. I'm kind of afraid of pissing off too many people, and not getting the transfer, that may open up.
On the other hand, at some point in your life you have to, "I'm talking about drawing a line in the sand, dude. Across this line, you DO NOT..."
So I sent an email off to my immediate supervisor (after our intiial discussion) reiterating my stance about cleaning up his, and other, offices, but he is new, and just has two years until retirement. He came to my work place just to ride his time out. He's a nice guy, but seems not to really want to make any waves.
Man! I'm pissed!