[ Note : This has nothing to do with being Pinoy. Nothing to do with being migrant either. Well, in a way it has a little to do with both, because anything to do with me right now has to do with being a Pinoy migrant, so parang ganun na rin. Happy birthday Kuya JB Baylon! ]
Health and safety meeting. I’m seated next to Sam, who because we’re from different departments I don’t see everyday, but who always makes my day with his size and attitude. I say size because his biceps are the size of my thighs, and his thighs are the size of my torso (in diameter), and I say attitude because he’s always cheerful and upbeat.
Before I nod off to dreamland, I whisper something to him.
“Any chance you’ll get it soon Sam?”
“Easier to squeeze blood out of stone, Noel.”
I sigh at that. By it I mean getting regular status, because if any temp at the work site deserves it, it’s Sam.
Other things I know about him : He’s Tongan, and loves rugby, almost as much as he loves his wife and daughter, but not quite. He’s also downed 36 bottles of beer. In one sitting. And played rugby the next morning.
Lastly, when it still wasn’t politically incorrect, Sam (around my age) once ate a platter of whale meat, freshly caught and for breakfast. Breakfast! Probably more than a few years ago.
One more thing. On longevity alone, Sam certainly deserves more than a serious look by way of becoming regularized. I can’t tell you how long he’s been on site, but let’s put it this way. He was already the champion in drinks our last Christmas party. And we’re almost there again around this time. As Kris A. would say, deserving naman, daba?
***** ***** *****
Union meeting. Time to negotiate another CBA again. Of course, there’s the pay rise, lagi namang kasama yon sa bagong kasunduan between labor and management, but there are a few other items. Shift allowances, confined space allowances, working at heights allowances, redundancy packages, and all that. You might never get anything, but it never hurts to ask.
All the time the union rep was consulting us prior to negotiations, my thoughts kept returning to Sam. Here we were on the gravy train talking about getting an extra 12 dollars an hour just for using the forklift, and outside the room he was working today, not even sure if he was gonna be on the roster next week. Wasn’t very comforting.
[ We’re not getting into the nitty-gritty legalese of this situation, kabayan. Company has its reasons for regularizing any warm body doing work. Or not regularizing. On the other hand, if Sam wants to come to work anytime his bisor texts him, good for him and God bless him. Just sayin, you know? Wala lang.]
***** ***** *****
Uwian time. Nauna na ako sa locker room para di makalanghap ng mga amoy bawang at sibuyas, and that’s putting it mildly. Springtime pa lang, but it’s already getting sweaty around the work site.
Curiously, I see Sam, still not going home though, because there’s still overtime work available. No one wants to work overtime on a Friday (everybody’s already drunk thinking of their first brewski watching the All Blacks thrash Namibia, kahit replay), but beggars can’t be choosers, and Sam at least for today, isn’t a chooser. He will grab any overtime within 10 meters. I’m happy for him (that he has overtime money coming) but I would be happier if he was seriously considered for regular status.
Hey Sam, have a great weekend. May I take I picture of you I ask on a whim.
“If you’re gonna take my picture Noel, make sure I look good.”
The result is the pic up there. Does he look good kabayan?
Thanks for reading!