In July 2004 I made a change in my working life that I was sure was going to be the answers to all my prayers .
I filled out the application my then boy friend had brought home one day,and dropped it off at the store on my way to the worst paying job ever.
I had worked for Flynn and O'Hara for 3 yrs. I started at 7.00 an hr and 3 yrs later after working long hard hrs I was making 7.12 an hr and traveling across the bridge to make that wonderfully crappy salary. I needed a change a step up.
I waited 3 days , When I didn't hear from the store I stopped at the store on my way to work, I inquired if my application had been reviewed.How lucky for me that the General Manager was at the register helping to get thru the morning coffee rush.He said he would get back to me none to politely,Didn't mind all that much the rudeness in fact as busy as it was I'm lucky he stopped long enough to say that much. As I was walking out the door I heard the General Manager ask the young man in the core area "where was my application and why wasn't it in his office?" I wasn't feeling to hopeful as Drove across the bridge.
Later that same day as I was hard at work sewing school logos on to the collars of hundreds of blue knit polo shirts over the rhythmic hum of the machines I hear my name being called and see the phone waving in the air.Imagine my surprise when I hear" This is Joe K**** I spoke to you this morning about an application.(I am thinking I already like this guy calling me at my job to set up an interview for another job.)I answer "yes I remember" He replies without missing a beat "can you come in at 9:30am tomorrow for an interview?" I answer that I can, already trying to figure out what I was going to say when I called my job to say I will be late.
9:30am sharp I am at the store,bright eyed and bushy tailed.The interview went well.The most important questions asked where "Why can't you start until Sept" Answer: My vacation is in mid Aug.I want to be able to take that and that was what was on the help wanted sign.Joe's reply was quick and simple " You can start now, you won't get paid for the vacation but you would be able to take it.(well I wasn't going to get paid by Flynn if I took my vacation while working for them in fact I was going to be laid off if I took my vacation,another reason for the job hunt.) Also he told me that "the next year I would get paid for vacation 1 week, after 2 yrs 2 weeks after 5 yrs 3 weeks. The pay offered was 7.00 an hr with a quarter raise at 3mo and another quarter at 6mo.and so on so that the end of a year I would be making 7.75 an hr with yearly raises after that. It all sounded good to me so I said I wanted to give 2weeks notice to Flynn and that I would be ready to start.All was good. My back ground check and orientation were arranged I signed my name on the dotted line and that was that. Joe stood up stuck out his hand and said Welcome to WAWA........
I happy as a pig in poop went across the bridge knowing that I was about to embark on the career I have always wanted and had found the job that would see me thru to retirement.
I gave my notice fair and square.Only to be fired at 4:45 pm that evening. Yes I worked 9 to 5. That would be Flynn and O"Hara.They said they felt that I was leaving them at a bad time of the year, when they really needed my help.I smiled batted my eyes and replied that once I had been told that I was going to laid off if I took my yearly vacation I started looking for work and well this job is available now ,it won't be in Sept so I need to take it now. Well my ex boss didn't blink, didn't smile,didn't even breath I don't think he just said "you don't need to come back tomorrow"
So 3 days later I am happily at work in my new Wawa store, the company that really cares about you,puts family first and allows you to make a living with dignity.
My duties at this time will include cashier, deli,coffee and the most important and hated spot of all sizzle(breakfast sandwich ). In other words I am being trained all over the store.
My Boss Joe notices that no matter where he puts me when I leave the area I was just in is 10 times cleaner,so when we are not busy he removes me form costumer service and has me doing special projects. cleaning projects, things that require more then a dust cloth. like unscrewing a vent plate to clean behind it, stuff like that.
3 months down the road Joe calls me in the office and asks if I would like to transfer with him to another store, he tells me I would be promoted to a new position called FML Facilities maintenance leader. It would require all cleaning and NO customer service.I would get 10.00 an hr and Med benefits. I jumped at the chance.
We are sent to the new store, the problems with this store are cleaning and money. I am expected to fix the cleaning problems and Joe is expected to fix the money problems.
3 mos into this store Joe and I feel we are making head way when Murphy's law kicks in.I come in to work one day to see Joe clutching his lower tummy kicking his desk in pain. It took 3 of us to convince Joe to leave ,he finally calls his wife and heads for the hospital. While Joe is in the hospital there is a general managers meeting going on that he missing and WBS is in his store. Now when Joe Left the store he gave the keys to the next in line and then made it clear that if any one or anything happened he the next in line was to direct them to me...
WBS the hardest next to the fssa(FOOD) inspection to pass with a 100.( WBS no longer is in existence, a star inspection took it's place).At the time I had never been thru a WBS inspection so when the inspector walked in the door 15 minutes after Joe left my heart sank. I walk with the inspector thur my store we are at the last aisle looking at the elusive 100 when he finds price tags that are incorrect and it brings my score to a 98.
Joe and I are now on the map of success I got a score that most store only dream about, I did it while my GM is in the hospital trying not to die. Joe gets credit for being in the hospital trying not to die and scoring a 98 a score that most managers can't get when they are in the store....This makes us the golden children........
So now we are moved to another store this store could not pass a single inspection and did not make the money it should.
Joe And I show up at the new on a Monday morning, to frowns and less then happy people.Me having the position that I have I do no customer service, this always is a problem with the staff,a problem that last no more then a week. When they see that I work like a dog and clean what ever comes in front of me people start to realize that I am a helping hand.& the staff gets warmed up to me..I do my thing and Joe does his in less then a year this store that could not pass an inspection and didn't make enough money, now is getting a prize patrol party (highest score only gets this party) and is now making the money it should be,At this store I become the safety leader , a very important and powerful positions to have. With the snap of a finger and a properly placed word a safety leader can get Howard Stoeckel himself fired.. I am also being trained how to file reports and training files.
While Joe and I are there we train all the employees for the newest gas store that is about to open.. Feeling so appreciated in this company.
The Cherry hill store is fixed and now we are moving on again. Cherry hill gets the prize patrol party the week before we leave.The store was so clean that pictures were taken of the area manager eating his lunch in the trash room to set standards of the expectations of all stores and how clean they were expected to be.
We are in store number 3 and my duties will once again change, once the store is cleaned up and that does not take me long, with each store I learn more and more about how to get a store in order and how to get the staff to help me accomplish this task. Joe adds more duties to my day. I love this challenge it makes me feel as if I am an important part of the WAWA company.
I am now not only responsible for the cleaning and organization of the store, I am now doing the ordering for dry stock and cleaning supplies,I also am doing and keeping up to date the training files.I do 50% of the training of each new hire.I feel so useful so fulfilled.
By this time my pay hes been raised to 11.50 an hr I can't be happier. Less then 2 yrs with Wawa and I had surpassed my wildest dreams, not to mention Wawa had just blown Flynn out of the water.No way was Wawa as low as Flynn no way would Wawa make a living of the back of it's employee's.
So from 2004 into 2008 Joe and I clean up 5 stores.We bring the stores back to their prime, and in a few cases past their expectations.
In 2007 Joe gets his wish and we are moved to a super gas store. My pay has been raised to 12.50 an hr and I am enjoying a 40 hr week and full medical benefits along with 2 weeks vacation a year. Life is sweet. The gas store has no problems and is a high producer (be careful what you wish for) So well Joe has little to do and I have next to nothing to do, thank goodness for filing which is like dishes and laundry they are never done, or I would have nothing to do. This was the good life, this is what Joe and I had worked so hard for....We were so bored.....Joe started volunteering to help outside the store so he was barely there and I was doing more and more in other stores, training, helping to clean ,training for new stores and so on. I rolled out the porch appearance program and helped other AGM's learn to become safety leaders and taught others how to keep training files up to date. The store pretty much ran it self.(2 yrs later I would run into the fuel manager from that store and she would tell how after Joe and I left that store, the store could not get better then a 3 star inspection, I feel a certain amount of pride over that statement).
Wawa embraces change and in 2008 Wawa makes some of its biggest changes and they are not good for me, and so many other people as well. The changes I am about to describe took away jobs, cost people their vacations, their medical benefits and in more then a few cases peoples dignity as well.
In 2009 Wawa changed it's management layout.Up to this point there was GM General manager,AM Assistant manager,csm customer service manager. then there was the leader level, you had a customer service leader,fml Facility maintenance leader and fsl food service leader. .I was Facility. After the change in the management structure all leader positions were eliminated,and all other management positions were renamed.
Now here is where life starts to change for me. Wawa gave those of us losing our positions the choice step up to an M level position or step back. Step back you keep you pay and lose you vacation.
It was decided that I should step forward, I was going to by pass the new MIT manager in training program and be promoted straight to CSM.v46.5 hrs a week, all second shift work and weekends. I try it out I am transferred to a new store with a new manager. I like Patrick a lot and he is my saving grace during this time. The new hrs don't work in my life I no longer see my family,husband and grandaughter.When they are a wake I am a sleep or at work.I am sneaking cigarettes (after working so hard to quit this was a big huge problem for me) so I go talk to Patrick, who agrees this promotion was not the right move for me,Patrick thinks and I agree that I would make a much better FFM fresh food manager. So Patrick speaks to the area Manager Jeff and my position is changed to MIT with the promise that I would be made FFM when a store became available.I lost a 1.00 an hr with this move but I would get it back when a store opened up and I moved into the FFM position.
A store opens up, a store that I had worked at before, I am going to be transferred and once there Jeff says I will be made FFM with a 14.00hr pay rate.
I am mildly confused when I arrive at this store to find out this store already has a FFM, what it doesn't have is a General Manager. A week after the move Jeff is in the store and I ask about the promises that he had made to make me a FFM, he hymms and hawwwwwws and never gives me a straight answer.2 weeks later Jeff is demoted and a new General Manager is installed in the store. When I ask her about my promotion she has no idea what I am talking about and really doesn't care.
When a new area manager is assigned to our area and visits the store I am at I ask her about keeping the promises that where made in the name of Wawa she told me I would have to prove my self and go thru and interview and such.
So I set about proving myself, confiding in the AGM, working my tale off coming in on my day off to do an order that the then FFM didn't know how to do,and the AGM said I would be doing myself a favor if I came in and do it. Imagine my hurt and disappointment when I was never given the interview. I bent over backward cleaning up the deli doing everything the AGM told me to do to help my chances, I gave up my free time to do reports and orders that no one else knew how to do or didn't want to do. I cleaned everything she told me to and organized everything she pointed out and I did every cycle count,so imagine my disappointment when I found out that the she was stepping backwards and taking the FFM position. The AGM stepped backwards into the position I worked for and she took credit for all the work I did.
Life for me at Wawa is about to get even worse.
My pay is being reduced from 13.50 an hr to 12.50 an hr because I am no longer acting as FFM and I am not going to be promoted into that position so money was removed , I keep my 40 hr week because as a MIT I am guaranteed 40 hrs,I now work mostly in the deli with a day or 2 working as cashier(I dislike that job more then any job in the store).At this point life is still ok I make enough money to pay my bills , my benefits are in tact and I have 3 weeks vacation time.
A tour is coming to the store and we are warned by the general Manager be on our best behavior,and she wants to see happy smiling associates and remember safety first as always.The tour is our New Area Manager and the Regional Manager.
In the store they come all smiles and friendliness meeting and greeting everyone.As I was walking back to the cooler for something here comes the managers swooping down on me,Jim the regional Manager smiles a big smile and says "Hows is the newest FFM doing are you happy to be in your new store?" I answer with a question of my own"If even you know that I was suppose to become the FFM in this store how could the position being given to some one else and my pay be cut?" The answer was silence and all of a sudden no more smiles, all I see is Jim's back as he walks away from me saying I need to talk to Stephanie about that. Stephanie Area Manager. 1 week after that tour I am taken in the office.
Arlene General manager closes the door and proceeds to tell me that if I step down to CSA customer service associate she would see to it that I keep my pay level, benefits,and vacation as well as personal time. She tells me to go ahead home and talk it over with my husband and let her know the next day.
The next day I talk with Arlene again about the fact that I was hired as an associate and was given the vacation when I was hired so shouldn't I keep my vacation any way. We call HR and I am told that I was not given paid vacation until I was made an FML. So therefore my vacation is not grandfathered in. I don't understand this because my first paid vacation was Aug 2005, 1 yr exactly from my hire date. I became FML Jan 2005 so if my vacation was a part of the FML package I would not be eligible for paid time off until Jan 2006.At the time Wawa moved your start date to the date of your promotion .Any way before I move with this let me explain that to keep your medical benefits you must work 35 hrs a week, so by guaranteeing my benefits Arlene is saying I will keep my hrs.So after talking to Arlene again and her again saying that if I step back I will keep everything I have at this point. So I say ok I will step back thinking that I will be lot happier this way.
I am told that I have to put my agreement in writing. So I type up an email to send to Stephanie. I type this with Arlene and the FFM looking over my shoulder telling me just what to type.I pause a second take a death breath and push the send button. I turn around just in time to see Arlene and the FFM exchange a smile and a give a high 5 kind of hand motion. I was worried from that point on.
Stephanie comes to have a personal meeting with me. This meeting is in the office door closed and the AGM taking notes. Stephanie Say's she accepts my choice to step back. I ask about my pay and vacation she tells me that she knows nothing about any of that and I will lose it all except my medical benefits. I will keep a 40hr work week and my benefits. I say then that I don't want to step back because they are not keeping their word. Stephanie tells me "To late I already accepted your resignation, and that I didn't mention any of this in my email , so if I said any more she would fire me for lying.The end result of this meeting is I am no longer in the MIT program, I have no vacation time ,I will keep the PTO time I have acquired and I will get the needed 35 hrs a week I need to keep my benefits,my pay would now drop to 11.50 an hr.
Wawa didn't keep its word at all in that meeting so I am so not surprised to see my schedule for the next week is 20 hrs.For the next 2 months I get between 12 and 15 hrs a week. I don't lose my benefits only because all the overtime up to this point gave me a small cushion of hours to use.Thank goodness.During the next 2 months I get written up for I don't know what because I never saw the write up,I get a safety violation for something I didn't do or I should say don't remember doing, the coaching and actual paper work didn't come until 3days after the violation did or didn't happen.This violation was issued by the FFM, she says she saw me in the deli from the register not using proper procedure. To bad I wasn't allowed to issue a violation because the procedure I was written up for, the FFM never did her self.I was written up for being abusive to an associate during training, again weeks had passed between the actual act and the write up, this one I refused to sign because I know for a fact was unfounded. I also had another safety violation issued to my name I don't know for what I was never shown the paper work and never asked to sign anything. I only know about the write ups because a friend told me that they where there.I know this is true.It doesn't matter that I didn't sign once the paper work is printed from the computer it automatically forwards a copy to wawa cooperate.I went from never being written up in 5yrs to 4 write ups in 2 months.
March 2010 I am transferred to a gas store in fact the store I am in now. I am given the FSA position facilities store associate. This position guaranteed 25hrs a week cleaning and organizing the store. any other hrs you get are to be customer service tasks. My new General manager is happy to have me and gives me 35 hrs a week helping me to keep my benefits a bit longer. He sticks rigidly to the outline of my job and I am able to produce a job well done. I am feeling good about my job again I feel I am home. I like the people I work with they like me. I feel and I am getting feed back that says I am correct that I am doing a great job.I no longer wear the rose colored glasses I see Wawa for what Wawa is but at least for now I can be happy and enjoy the work I am doing.
Murphy's law is about to kick in once again. I wake up one morning very early and find I can't move very well and I can't control my arms and legs they don't want to work. I was so dizzy I was having a hard time getting dressed, I called work and told them I over slept and I would be there soon.I never made it to work I made it to a hospital. I was having a possible stroke,by the time I left the hospital the next day it was decided that I had had a TIA a small stoke that left no damage. I was to return to work the following week and see my family doctor as well as the Nero surgeon for more testing.
On the day I return to work I don't feel well and hadn't since having the TIA,I go in any way and start my daily list and wow I get so ill I tell the AGM I don't feel well I want to go home he says ok I call my family doctor and go straight there. Bottom line I am not returning to work for at least a month. This was may 5th.
I am out of work until Sept when all is said and done, during that time I get State disability and Wawa as usual drags their feet taking 2 months to approve my disability then it is unapproved then approved again I am fired and rehired. My benefits are stopped and started twice making managing my medical treatment a bit tricky.I get thru all this and get my return to work papers
I take my papers to work the week before I am due back so I can be fit into the schedule, while I was gone another GM has been let go so I once again have a new GM Lane. Well Lane gives me a song and dance about hrs and how he has none. I need to be back to work by that week or I will lose my benefits so I really don't want to hear the song and dance he is giving.I call when the schedule is posted and I am not on it I call for the next 3 days until I speak to Lane who tells me I have to get a letter from my doctor stating that I was cleared for full duty. My original paper work wasn't enough for him. It took a day or 2 because I was informed of this need of more paper work on a Friday. Dr office closes early on Friday and opens again Monday. so Now another week passes and I am not on the schedule, the requested paper work was there in time to put me on the schedule but the AGM forgot to put me on. Oh I spoke to Hr during this time and found out that well basically unless I wanted to file an in house grievance they didn't care what GM's did in their stores.Lane also spoke to HR and they basically told him he didn't have to Honor anything about my job,in other words give me hrs or don't it didn't matter because of all the approved not approved business my job was no longer guaranteed.So instead of doing the Honorable thing and let me go because of no hrs so I could just go get unemployment and look for a new job(not that there are any at this time) I am put on the next schedule for 2 days 8 hrs total,week2,1 day 3hrs total,week3 2days 6hr total and so on.
This continues for almost a month. My father in law passes away I call work and get my one 3 hr day changed to a different day a day earlier so I can help the family get the funeral arranged. I go into work and give the GM the paper work showing the date of the services, I ask that I not be scheduled on that day, I only get at most 2 days a week so this should not be a problem.Yep you guessed it the service was scheduled for 9am Monday and Lane scheduled me Monday 9am to 1pm. Then wanted to write me up for a call out.As far as I know he removed this as a call out, he also considered my changing days as a call out and I had to fight to get that removed from my record as well.
Because Stephanie said some thing to Lane I am now getting 20 hrs a week.It is better but still wrong the position I am in is guaranteed 25hrs. Also I had benefits when I came back to work so I should have been given the hrs to keep them.
At this point in time I have been given 2 weeks of 20 hrs each not enough to get my benefits back but better.My unemployment is pending because of the funeral I will get it back I hope I just have to wait for the review.
So as I say Wawa what a goose, This company has embraced change so much that it changed itself from an Honorable company that was good to work for into a big cooperate business that has no idea what is going on in its store's and I believe encourages the work them to death and give them nothing mentality that is the normal way of business lately. Example: offer medical benefits but not the hrs needed to get them.
As long as I am standing here with out my vacation, without my benefits,and with out the hours I have always worked,Wawa can not honestly say they care about their employees ,they should not be able to advertise that they are a good place to work that puts their employees needs first.
I know I am not the only Wawa employee with a story like this to tell, I know of at least a dozen more stories like mine some much worse like firing an associate for a safety violation just months before retirement. Letting people go for small stupid things just months before they are vested. Scheduling a women to work during HER MOTHERS funeral and then cutting her schedule for the next 2 weeks because she called out.
I am a 51 yr old women that has had a TIA,because of decisions made by my bosses and the approval of the company we work for I have had to stop the physical training I was doing to recover from the TIA, the medicines I can not afford to have them refilled so I no longer take any meds.Worse of all is I am a 51 yr old women and I have to look for work and start all over again,all because Wawa is not an honest,caring company,but instead Wawa is a goose