HWSRN came into my little cell at the Yoni School for Wayward Poets a little while ago, wringing his hands and shaking his head. I asked him what was wrong.
"I've had Lunchbucket Letdown today," he replied.
"What do you mean?" I asked. So he told me.
As many of you know, HWSRN makes some of his meager living driving and delivering as a courier. Most of the time people are happy to see him because he's delivering something they want or need. But not today.
The company that HWSRN mostly works for has as one of its major clients Linamar which, according to news reports today, is the second largest auto parts manufacturer in Canada. Second only to Magna International I guess. Linamar has manufacturing plants in many parts of the world, but the greatest concentration is a little ways down the road from Lunchbucket in good old Gulp.
And today, Linamar laid off somewhere between 400 and 800 of its workers. And today, HWSRN got to deliver layoff notices to some of those workers. It's something he has done before, but usually only one at a time. Today there were a lot. He spent six hours delivering layoff notices.
Each one seemed a little more depressing than the previous one. Many were delivered to people in fairly new homes. A couple were in brand new subdivisions. In other words, he delivered layoff notices to people who had just bought new homes. And he walked away wondering how these people would cope.
Most of the people to whom he delivered the notices were immigrants. From southeast Asia. From Africa. The Philippines. A couple of them were out in their yards working when he arrived. One, Vietnamese or Thai, was in the front yard of his suburban home spreading grass seed by hand. He accepted the envelope glumly and signed for it and quietly turned back to his lawn without opening it as HWSRN drove away.
There is never a good time for people to be laid off. But here we are just before the Labour Day weekend. When we supposedly celebrate the constancy of Labour, the struggles of Labour, the necessity of Labour, the lifeblood of Labour. And all these people no longer have the comfort of Labour. And did I mention that Linamar is non-union?
I don't suggest, HWSRN doesn't suggest, that Linamar is thereby unfair. Linamar is caught in the trap of the big auto manufacturers' making. The former Big Three have mismanaged themselves down the tubes and now workers all across Ontariario are paying.
HWSRN too. The courier business that comes out of Linamar is significant. And when they are laying off workers, that means less business for the couriers. It becomes quite easy to see the domino effect that occurs.
HWSRN doesn't like being the bearer of bad news. He finished the day with a splitting headache. And a case of Lunchbucket Letdown. He thinks of the infinite threads of interdependence and laments that he was compelled to play a role in the upheaval of so many lives.