Pros: good pay for a contract/seasonal job. able to pick your shift.
Cons: non-union. only 2 short breaks. must have 40 hours before 1.5x pay. young, arrogant workers and old, hawkish workers. don't always get help when 1 person is doing a 2 person job!
Only worked here a short while but, the pay was good. $18.17 on Days and a $0.75 cent shift premium for Afternoons ($18.92). The Afternoon shift is a bit more relaxed because management isn't around. The Day shift has an old, cranky, crow for Health & Safety who will literally wait to pounce and OVER-react on you for the slightest errors. As with the previous reviewer from Woodstock, you arrive about 20 minutes before your shift. You use an electronic card to enter the building (which you get after a week or so or, you have to wait for a another person and enter with them). You walk through mats that contain sanitizing solution and then put on your hair-net. Then, you walk past all the managers offices, through part of the cooler and into the work area. You take your lunch upstairs to the lunch room and then head back down to get your uniform out of a metal closet. You then go into the crowded change room and put the work pants on and you can wear the work shirt alone or over your regular shirt. You are told during orientation that there aren't any lockers left for new employees so, you have to stick your regular clothes on a shelf or leave them in a bag in the change room. You also have to make sure you have your safety shoes and safety glasses on. Once you leave the change room you grab a bump-cap and clock in using a fingerprint reading device. You punch in a 3 digit number for the line you're working on (posted on a wall), then your employee number and then scan the finger tip of the finger you selected when they find time to enter you into the system. Again, if you're on – more... the Day shift and even the early part of the Afternoon shift, the Health & Safety person will be stranding around, waiting to point out that one strand of hair you forgot to tuck under your hair-net and squawk at you like it's the worst thing ever! Once you're punched in, then you go and get a lab-coat.... but don't put it on just yet! You have to wait until you're in the production area. Other workers love to point out if you've forgotten some part of the uniform, hair-net, or safety glasses. Once you're in the production area, then you can put on your lab coat. Then, you wash and dry your hands, put on a pair of latex gloves and use a foam sanitizer on your gloves. You have to repeat this any time you go in and out of the production area. In some areas, you even have to do this between the front and back of the line. When working in boxing areas, you have to remove and hang-up your lab coat, discard your latex gloves and put on gloves for handling boxes.
Once you are on your production line, you get the sense that the company is more female dominated. Men open heavy (20 to 80 lb.) blocks of cheese at the front of each line, while several women work along and at the back of the line. Each line has a Line Lead who makes a little more per hour (but does less physical labour). Some are nice and some are arrogant and like to brag about their seniority. Some lines also have a Slice operator who loads the cheese after the man has used a press to cut the blocks into rectangles. Slicers are usually women and also range from nice to downright nasty. The men definitely have more physical work and aren't always given help. Some lines will run cheese that is vacuum sealed and in boxes with straps on a pallet. The guy then has to: 1. Cut and discard the straps, open the boxes,2. Break down the boxes and throw them in a bin, 3. Put the heavy, wrapped cheese on a metal table, 4. Cut open wrapping and dump the cheese out, 5. Place the cheese on a roller table that uses a pneumatic press to push the cheese through a wire grate, 6. Put excess cheese in a trim bag and, when full, put in a designated bin. If a line is running steadily, it is nearly impossible to keep up without any help. And, if you seem to be struggling and ask for help, some co-workers and Line Leads will gossip that you are whiny or not used to hard work. I even heard one co-worker threaten to stop helping a guy if he didn't do "the harder job" of opening boxes of cheese, than loading it on the table and cutting open the wrapper.
Culture-wise, there are a lot of Polish ladies that work there. They are mainly older women who speak broken English and will use gestures to show you what to do. They also talk in Polish while working and you're never sure if it's about you or not. And, I got the sense that there were some single mother's who work there who were looking for their kids' next step-dad. There's a lot of flirting between the teens to 30-somethings.
Also, I heard that one of the Production Supervisors told other workers about an e-mail sent to her in confidence. I discovered this after a co-worker in passing, told me they heard about an e-mail sent to a Supervisor. That is extremely unprofessional for a Supervisor and could get them in trouble.
The company is much busier this year, than last year, now that they have a contract to do cheese for Subway. Most people will get 40 hours per week and you can sign-up to work Saturdays but, some will be mandatory.
**This is a non-union company and you do not get Time-and-a-half pay on Saturday UNLESS you have worked 40 hours prior to Saturday!!! Many of us new workers didn't know that and were mandated to work the Saturday after Labour Day. But, with Labour Day being a holiday, we didn't get 40 hours before working that Saturday. We were only given 2 hours of Statutory Holiday pay, which then gave us only 2 hours at Time-and-a-half on Saturday! Another drawback at this company, is that you only get one 10 minute break after 3 hours of work. Then, you get a 20 minute break 2.5 hours after that. Both breaks are paid though.**
There are vending machines in the lunch room, including one you can use your electronic card to get free food out of, twice a day. But, they rarely re-stock that one. It contains dairy products like cheese, yogurt, yogurt drinks and chocolate-bar flavoured chocolate milk. Occasionally, there is also an open package of cheese that workers can help themselves to and free coffee. – less