TAKE FARLEY TO WORK WEEK, PART I: ROAD MAINTENANCE CREW
Farley spends three, full seven-hour workdays with the City of Hamilton’s most misunderstood workers: Road Maintenance Crew, City Managers and a surprise first – for any journalist – to end the week. Today, Farley sits in with Darrel Vinetti, a 25-year veteran of the Road Maintenance crew.
Following the dismissal of 29 city workers for time theft, tampering with the transit routes, and other grievances, Darrel Vinetti and his buddy, Chuck Semple, are the last survivors of the department. “The big boss ain’t replacing them. So, me and Chuck here are the only two left,” says Vinetti over his morning smoke behind the garage.
That means snow removal, usually the job of 6-8 trucks, is left to just Chuck and Darrel. “I’ll be honest,” says Darrel Vinetti “morale is extremely low between the two of us, so we decided instead of doing the main roads first, we’re doing them alphabetically, starting with Aberdeen right through to York blvd.”
This move wasn’t popular with drivers on Friday afternoon – Main street is halfway through the alphabet, and the QEW is further down the list. I have to admit, though, it may have been worth it to see them smile, pouring over the map like it was a crossword puzzle.
It’s clear that there’s been a lot of adjustment. Squeezing lunches into an hour and fifteen minutes, and reducing breaks to three thirty minute blocks, the two-man crew feels the pressure. “I’ve never worked so hard in my life. There needs to be a balance – my body is used to a small nap in the afternoon. I don’t feel like it’s safe to operate something like a snow plow without a few naps. I mean, just one is enough.”
We spend a lot of time checking the fluids in the plow, not hitting the road until after the second break. Once we’re out there, we get Aberdeen, Augusta and Barton Street finished before lunch/nap. After lunch, we head over to Bay Street and back to the garage.
As the day is almost over, Vinetti looks tired. People on the street have been throwing garbage and food at us all day, and rough-looking men in pick up trucks have made several inquiries concerning the price of asphalt. Vinetti brushes them off with a curse and a wink. And that’s how these two get through their days – with a curse and a wink – heads held high.
Stay tuned Wednesday for Farley’s Day in a City Office