Alberta oil industry smoking in work place

SS-SECOND HAND SMOKE

Contains approx. 4,000 chemicals, dangerous to the non-smoker who is near a smoker. Worse in the workplace where humans must work and stay all day long. A person who breathes secondhand smoke is breathing the same chemicals as someone smoking. During my over ten years in Alberta’s oil industry I was actively inhaling those chemicals.

While developing an unwanted craving for it, caused by second-hand smokers. I am a non-smoker. Sinus surgery, respiratory problems. Thank you, Mr. Oil company executive for your impressive social responsibility propaganda.

Alberta big oil – in support of smokers – against all principles of their proclaimed social responsibility.

Why ? because smokers are more productive ? or, at times of intense periods of oil companies’ takeovers and layoffs, its easier to kill employees with second-hand smoke, rather than being forced (for pretense) to pay them (Micky mouse) severance pay to get rid of them ? (Micky mouse meaning 3 months’ pay or a little over $10,000 – that was in the 1980s).

Here is the interesting part of this (my insider) story: Those who were heavy smokers on the job sites, in offices, remained in their jobs, when after another corporate takeover many positions were culled and long-time employees were laid off.

Examples of being exposed to second-hand smoke: In the systems and computer department we were mostly housed in one big area, each having their cubicle. On and off, I also had an office – as project leader. Some of the heaviest smokers, they put two in an office, pretending to somehow shut them inside away from others.

For many months, and years, I suffered, inhaling second-hand smoke. During that time I also had a sinus surgery – around 1983. Resulting to have to come to work with blood running from my sinus cavities into my throat daily.

Hudson’s Bay Oil & Gas Co. – first one I started working when coming to Calgary January 1977. As Senior Systems Analyst & project leader for computer projects. There was this one guy – always smoking. Carrying his smoking cigarette in his hand while walking in open spaces. I had just got myself a new office suit, he managed to burn a hole into it. No excuses or offer to repair.

Then in 1983 oil company takeover by TCPL (TransCanada Pipelines) Resources. By 1986 massive layoff campaigns had started. For this, Headquarters in Toronto sent down an ENFORCER. Who was charged with severe harassment of computer professionals and employees, daily changing assignment routines, moving people around, assigning me as senior project leader with company-wide studies on ‘How to eliminate certain positions’. Which entailed for me to interview former colleagues and friends. Needless to say, they were not happy with that ! And then present a report of recommendations to those now in charge with laying off the same people I was forced to interview. Filthy attempt of creating diversion and resentment.

At the same time I had to complete my major projects of converting all software to 4th gen DB systems architecture, lots of work still to do with all those programs.

As a result of all of this ? I lost my home in Alberta, and my family. My son left for the United States in 1990 to also do his graduate studies there, far away in Alabama. Stayed for thirteen years, then decided to move back to his homeland, the Netherlands.

While I staid behind alone, being unfortunately now a Canadian citizen. Just memories of corrupt companies.

[Previous posts on this s.a. [ https://renataveritashistory.com/2013/07/06/smoking-in-the-work-place-tcpl-resources/ ]

SECONDHAND SMOKE – TCPL Resources Ltd.

Innocent bystanders swallowing poisonous smoke from smokers. Basically, I don’t care if anybody smokes or how much they smoke, the more the better.What I as a non-smoker care about is, though, to be forced to inhale that poison that others blow out. In other words: Swallow it. So, that I can continue to live.

A horror story follows: While working in Alberta’s oil industry from 1977 until the beginning of the 1990s, I was exposed in the workplace, in the offices, to second hand smoke. Myself I do not smoke, but many employees – particularly in the computer systems departments – did. This kind of (socially irresponsible) behavior lacking any controls or policies for protecting their employees resulted during those years in sickness, diseases of the lung and respiratory diseases. This to employees who were innocent bystanders, so to speak. Not only did our clothing get burned by employees walking around the workplace, burning cigarette in hand, but also during the last few years in the beginning of the 1980s while employed with TCPL Resources [ http://www.transcanada.com/splash/ ] this situation defied all descriptions. Arriving before 8 am for work, by 12 noon the air in the offices and corridors could be cut with a knife. Worse, because we in the computer department were sharing the air freely while working in open cubicles.

TCPL Resources took over our company Maligne Resources (a division of Dow Chemical) in 1983 . By fall I needed my first sinus surgery. Since the atmosphere inside TCPL Resources was such that we were not allowed to take out extended sick leave, I needed to go back to work soon after the surgery. My days were horror! My bleeding throat was almost choking me, while at the same time choking on others’ cigarette smoke. Of course, I commented on this situation, especially since already in all elevators in those Calgary, Alberta, high rise offices were notices posted on NO SMOKING. Result: By 1986, the new management (sent down from Toronto) started laying employees off in droves.

First to go were those (complaining about the smoking) and single mothers – like myself. The heavy smokers were kept.1986 was a bad year for finding any employment as a female systems professional (single mother with child). Not only did I loose my (almost vested) company pension benefits, but had to leave behind my home in Alberta and my son, go East (Ontario) and finally launch a job as a Systems (self-employed) contractor.

Years later, I found listed among others in relevant sources on companies and their social responsibility status, TCPL Resources (this arm may not exist anymore). Makes me really sick, when companies deliberately ‘kill’ their employees, than apply dirty business practices for layoff, then appear – newly born and re-invented – as socially responsible!

SMOKING CAN KILL – the Lung Association British Columbia : [ http://www.bc.lung.ca/ ] [ http://www.ilo.org/safework_bookshelf/english?content&nd=857170157

ALBERTA OIL INDUSTRY

BLACK GOLD/Alberta oil companies.

YOU WANT TO SUE ME, GO AHEAD, MAKE MY DAY

Public media articles on the oil industry are abundant. Off-shore drilling in rough seas, heavy oil (or diesel) spills, long term damages to the environment, contribution to green house gas emissions, ruthless handling of employees. Alberta oil industries at the foreground.

How about some inside experience ? Sixteen years working for Canadian oil companies in Alberta was an eye-opener for me on their culture.

The oil industry is well know for ‘boom’ and ‘bust’ cycles, largely caused by rising or depressed oil prices. I went thru at least two bust cycles, layoffs caused by company takeovers or by company downsizing.

This is common practice, but should not be reminiscent of a “world war III” scenario. Employees are only pawns in this game.

Example Trans Canada Pipelines (TCPL) Resources Calgary [HQ.Toronto]:

After takeover of Maligne Resources company in 1983 [Maligne, a subsidiary of Dow Chemical], TCPL started initiating projects for the purpose of massive layoffs. Using typical scare techniques.

I was forced to complete for the Controller a company-wide work flow analysis study for the purpose of identifying which positions are not needed. This included hundreds of interviews of my co-workers (friends, colleagues), to identify layoffs. Very distasteful exercise. On completion I ‘got the boot’ also.How ? I was called in to the “Enforcer’s” office and presented with a 100page report (about myself?) and some document to sign. I ignored this report, nor signed any a**hole papers, of course. They offered me 3-months salary (after 7 years as a Sr. Systems Analyst & Designer/Developer). During this time 1986, there was a deep recession in the Canadian oil industry, because of falling oil prices. Even 167 letters of application for a job didn’t do the trick. I was forced to leave my son alone in Alberta and travel east to Ontario, together with hundreds of Albertans out of work.

This is a company who allowed heavy smoking in the workplace and had decidedly a dirty culture all around.

!!Companies such as those now call themselves “socially responsible”!!

I am happy to say that I had received from upper management excellent written references before leaving. Including one from the then President.

PLUS SUR LE PROGRAMME DE L’ENERGY.

Le Canada a bien l’intention de devenir une superpuissance énergétique. Stephen Harper (le Prime Ministre du Canada): “Apart d’être une puissance en hydroélectricité, uranium, gaz naturel, le Canada aussi renferme la troisième réserve de pétrole au monde, derrière l’Arabie saoudite et le Venezuela. Plus de 170 milliards de barils dorment dans le sous-sol albertain, 30 milliards de barils potentiels au Québec.“ Le gouvernement de Stephen Harper aussi proumouvoir le pétrole albertain aux pays de l’Europe, dont le Canada ne vend pas une goutte de pétrole. Le sommet de Rio + 20, 2012: Le Canada est le seul pays à avoir annoncé son retrait du protocole de Kyoto. [voir: la protection de l’environnement]. L’economie pétroliere contre le Reseau action climat. On verra. (partiellement du l’article dans L’actualité, Quebec) [RHS]

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