Thursday, December 11, 2008

Dolly v Maganaro

I wrote this months ago and saved it. Now I post it for you.

Part of my job (internship, co-op whatever) is to go out to construction sites around Boston and retrieve the number of minorities, residents and females who work on any given job site (possibly a more detailed post on that later). One of my sites is the new Northeastern dorm building going up over on Columbus (Parcel 18) with the General Contractor being Walsh Brothers. Parcel 18 is a huge project with hundreds of workers on site many of whom are not residents, minorities or females, being a big project and being located in Roxburry, this poses quite the political firestorm but more on that some other time.

Now my contact down at the site is Dolly Battle (an appropriate last name), she is this old black lady from the neighborhood (and don't you forget it!) who does not take shit from anyone. I usually meet her at the Walsh trailer behind Northeastern and we walk over to the site where dome time she hands me off to Dan and then I do the rounds and get the numbers. On this particular day Dolly's knee was acting up so she handed me off to Dan and decided to hang back. Like usual we went around and got all the numbers with the exception of a few which we would get over two way (Nextel is the dominant provider of all construction workers). When was all said and done I had every sub contractor on the site accounted for except Mass Construction and Maganaro but they were in the middle of work and couldn't get to their numbers so I figured I would just get them from Dan the following week. Dan had some stuff to do so he asked me to give the Walsh brothers official count to Dolly on my way out which I did.

And I am glad that I did, because when I told in an offhand manner that I was unable to get numbers from Mass Con or Maganaro but would she kindly send me an email or phone me with the numbers when she got them she practically exploded. Apparently this was three weeks in a row that Maganaro has not reported their numbers, and Dolly was not about to stand for that. She yelled at the only other guy in the trailer to walkie Dan and have him get his ass over here, which he did rather hurriedly because he thought that he was going to get a "talken to". Dolly had a better plan she was going to yell at the foreman for Maganaro.

Now Dan and I already knew that the foreman had his hands full with work up on the top of the tower (about 19 stories up) and was not in favor of having to huff it down or wait for the elevator (doesn't work like a regular one, much longer) just to give us some numbers that were not going to change. However Dolly did not see it that way, to her the numbers were a measure of respect to her if they shirk the numbers then they are showing her job no respect (which now I think I agree with her on why she did what she did). Anyway she had Dan call Maganaro on the two way and the convo went something like this.

Dan:"Dolly wants your numbers now"

Maganaro Foreman: "Well I am still up here can I give it to you later?"

Dolly:"Tell him this is three weeks in a row, I want them now."

Dan:"She needs them now"

Maganaro Foreman: "Well can someone in my office give them to you?"

Dolly: "No I want to see him in his office in five minutes"

Dan: "She wants them from you at your office in five minutes"

At this point all I can picture is this foreman up on the top of the building cursing repeatedly about how much he thinks this whole compliance system is a crock of shit and it just makes his life harder. I sympathize, really I do but its the law and part of his contract with Walsh Brothers and the City of Boston so he knows he has to, and I have no sympathy for people who do not fulfill their duties. So down he went and up we went.

This was exciting because I had yet to go into the building itself as of yet, just around the outside, through the mud and into the trailers but now I was going to get to go onto the second floor! Construction sites are fucking loud (yeah I know "No shit!") and it all looks so unorganized but yet a complex and integral building arises from all these small unorganized looking tasks, it amazes me. Not as amazed though as when I saw what is planned for the middle of the dorm, a small above ground park! that's right people (all freshmen) with inward facing dorm rooms will be looking over and enclosed park! And to think I just got to share my dorm accommodations with borderline homeless people (I lived at the YMCA my freshman year, yes like the song).

As I mulled over the though of my school spending my tuition on housing arrangements for future students instead of me we made it to the Maganaro office. Dolly strode right in with a big grin on her face as the Maganaro foreman sat there redface and scowling looking up at the woman who made her stop working and trek back down to his office. He gave her the numbers, with disdain I might add and she walked out of there with her respect.

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