Lethbridge Herald, The (Newspaper) - January 6, 1975, Lethbridge, Alberta
Local news The Lcthbtidgc Herald District Second Section Lethbrldge, Alberta, Monday, January 6, 1975 Pages 11-20 Work trains unsanitary, disgruntled cooks complain An estimated quarter of a million dollars in produce is thrown away yearly by CP Rail because of improper and unsanitary conditions in that company's work trains. These are the observations of two cooks, contacted by The Herald, whose combined employment on CP Rail work trains is more than 10 years. The work trains house railway employees who repair tracks and bridges. "The cooking facilities on these trains are bad and un- says one of the cooks, who asked not to be identified. "The kitchen and cooking facilities are so old and dirty we can't even get them clean. very few of the kitchens have modern he added. "Thousands of dollars worth of meat and produce is thrown out each month because it goes bad before it reaches the tables of the he said. "There is never enough, or proper, refrigeration." The other cook, who also asked not to be identified, said spoilage of food on the trains is extremely high and is caus- ed many times by equipment failure in the old cars. The latter cook, who has a few more years experience on the trains than the other, said he has noticed the railway is replacing some of the older cars but there are still many rolling that are highly un- sanitary. He said he has been re- questing a new kitchen car for the past two years. The first cook said the cars in the older trains don't have washroom facilities, they are not ventilated and there is no hot water. Bacteria collects on the wooden counters and wooden parts of the fridge and waste pours directly onto the tracks. "The waste just ac- cumulates under the cars while it is in the town at times the men just relieve themselves on the track in the cook said. The mobile camps slip un- der the jurisdiction of both local and provincial health authorities because they travel from province to province. Health inspection is left to the federal department in Ed- monton, which declined to tell The Herald how many inspec- tions it has carried out on CP Rail work trains in the past year. 'CONFIDENTIAL' An official with the federal public health branch said that information as well as what the general results of inspec- tions have been is "confiden- tial information." The official did say the health branch only does inspections when requested by the federal department of labor. Both cooks, however, said CP Rail officials sometimes learn of the impending inspec- tion and move the train out of town. The Herald obtained access Saturday to one of the CP Rail work trains now stationed in Lethbridge. The appearance of the car which contained the dining area and kitchen supported claims by the cooks. The cramped car was lit by a single bare lightbulb hang- ing from the end of a series of extension cords that were strung outside. The train's own electrical plant was not functioning. BREAKFAST The Herald arrived just after breakfast. Grease from the morning's cooking was still evident. The kitchen may have failed an inspection carried out un- der provincial health stan- dards. Provincial regulations for an industrial camp require the kitchen to have proper ven- tilation. The car here only had one window that could easily be opened. There was no fan ventilation to eliminate odors and condensation. The cook must sleep in a food storage room, which again breaks provincial rules which forbid sleeping in the dining area or food storage areas. The counter area was constructed of metal on one side of the car and of wood on the other. The wood portions seemed to have absorbed a great deal of liquid from various foods during the years. A cook told The Herald this is a major complaint. The cooks are expected to be responsible for the food they serve, yet cannot scrub out the accumulation of bits of refuse in the old wooden counters. The sinks in the Lethbridge car were a dingy gray, and black, dirty looking areas could not be removed despite vigorous scraping. The water supply in the kitchen ranged from rusty to "clean with something floating on top." The water was held in two containers fastened to the wall and a barrel which sat on the floor. The water in the barrel, used for cooking, had an orange tint with flecks of what appeared to be rust floating in it. An open garbage can, full of refuse, sat by the water barrel. A huge pot of water warming on the stove was to be used to wash the dishes. It would have been virtually impossible to clean behind or between the refrigerators and stoves. The refrigerators were fair- ly clean inside except that blood from newly-arrived meat had dripped to the bot- tom, hitting foods below. The food arrives at the Lethbridge train unfrozen after being trucked from O'Neill Railway Caterers in Calgary. O'Neill also supplies the CP Rail work trains with the cooks and utensils. One cook told The Herald the firm will not supply any convenience appliances such as an electric egg beater or toaster. Some cooks have bought their own. O'Neill officials had no comment to make about com- plaints by their cooks, but one said "the cooks had better watch what they say, this is the CPR they're dealing with." SOME CHANGES One cook who spoke with The Herald said he realized he could be dismissed for criticizing conditions but said he felt he couldn't work anyway under the existing conditions. The other cook said there seem to be some changes be- ing made and hopes some are made soon to his car. The last repair date listed on the outside of the car in Lethbridge was 1968. Story by George Stephenson Pincher students 'play to try careers on for size PINCHER CREEK In this community, high school students are playing hookey and receiving credit towards a high school diploma for their efforts. At least folks familiar with the traditional concept of high school -might look upon work- ing in a job outside the classroom as hookey. However, to Mathew Halton High School, work experience is a vital part of its curriculum. The work experience program, in operation since 1971, provides students with the opportunity to gain three credits for up to 125 hours of training in a vocation of their choice. The program was introduc- ed at the school following a decision by the department of education in 1971 to allow high school students to gain a max- imum of 10 credits for work experience. Since one of the objectives of the program is to give students the chance to learn more about employment which they think they might choose as a career, the school takes considerable care in selecting a job for a student. Through counselling sessions the school is able to determine the career aspirations of the students so a meaningful learning situa- tion can be arranged and to prevent students from par- ticipating in the program merely to obtain "easy" credits. OBJECTIVES The co operating employer is briefed on the objectives of the program and the neeij for the 'student to learn all aspects-pf the job and not just be relegated to menial tasks. Students'must also be employed in new work ex- perience areas. If a student works in a garage part time after school and on weekends, he or she would have to choose another type of job to qualify for the work experience program. Students are also not placed in working situations with parents, friends or close relatives. Students this school term were provided with a list of about 40 business firms and organizations to choose a job from. They were also given the alternative of selecting a job not on the list if arrangements with the employer could be arranged by the school. Once a job has been selected; student, employer and school co ordinator joint- ly discuss the duties and func- tions of the job. A practice that is repeated about every two weeks and again at the conclusion of the work ex- perience period. To gain credit for work ex- perience, a, student must write an evaluation of the program. A final mark is only arrived at after the school program co ordinator has consulted with the employer. BUTCHER, BAKER The school reports it has had tremendous co operation from the community with only two business firms refusing to co operate in the three years the program has been operating. Laborer, clerk, mechanic, baker, technician, secretary, butcher, printer, teacher aide, veterinarian, recreation director, draftsman, nurse, boiler engineer, craft worker, cook and accountant are some of the job learning positions available to students. Some students may also ob- tain work experience credits for working in an agriculture related job. "It is important that they get a look at a vocation they're interested Vice Principal Wayne Pinkney suggests. He says the experience helps the students "get a real look" at what different careers have to offer. Some students have found a career they "thought they would like" was not really what they envisioned it to be. As a result, Mr. Pinkney says, the students don't waste a year or more in a college preparing for a career they aren't suited for. Story by Jim Grant Last of a series Former Mathew Halton Grade 12 student Debbie Voth credits the work experience program with helping her realize a career as a dental assistant that was to her liking. Before participating in a work experience job in a Pincher Creek dental office, she says it didn't occur to her to consider dental work as a career. "Instead of going straight to school a post secondary in- stitution and taking a program I may not have liked, I found I liked this of Miss Voth said in support of the program at Mathew Halton. Employers are also very supportive of the program because it not only provides them with the opportunity to screen future employees but also encourages young people to seek careers that may en- courage them to work in Pincher Creek upon comple- tion of their training or schooling. Wayne Chesley of Wayne Chesley Ford Ltd. hopes the program will encourage more students to seek a career in the trades. "The majority of people I hire are tradesmen and there are not as many young people going into the trades today: As a result, there are just not enough skilled tradesmen" to meet the demand, he suggests. During the fall semester, Mr, Chesley had a Grade 11 student work with his mechanics. Pleased with the effort the student has put forth to learn the trade, Mr. Chesley now believes "I get the better of the deal having them work here." NO PAY Students participating in the work experience program are not allowed to accept pay from their participating employers because the school believes it costs the employer money to assist the students. Mr. Pinkney says many employers are paying five to six dollars an hour to employees who have "to stop their work and tell a student how to do something." Of all the firms and organizations participating with the program since its introduction, none have accepted more students than St.. Vincent's Hospital. The hospital has students working with the nursing staff, the accounting office employees and the boiler room engineer. Administrators at the hospital told The Herald they are "all in favor" of the program because it helps students see both the "good and the bad" sides of a job. ".We can help them make up their mind whether to seek a career in they ad- vised. BILLGROENEN pholo DENTAL ASSISTANT DEBBIE VOTH The students are required to follow the same dress and time restrictions of other employees. They are also compelled to work shifts. Students who find they are not suited to a particular career are allowed to drop out of their program job situation and begin another more suitable job placement. Only about 10 per cent of the students participating in the program dropped out or were removed from it because of their attitude and attendance. In a written report on the work experience program, Mr. Pinkney says students have found they have gained more confidence in themselves and are better prepared to face the work world after leaving school. "I believe the program has done a great deal to make the school part of the community rather than a separate en- he states in the report. The key to operating the work experience program and many other community school type programs is a flexible schedule for both teachers and students. The authorities don't re- quire students to remain in school during their spare periods and students are allowed to miss four days of classes each semester. If a student exceeds the four days, stiff discipline measures are taken. During their spares, often arranged so a whole morning oc afternoon is free each week, the students are able to fulfill their work experience and special project program responsibilities. Special projects allows students to select an area of learning that is of particular interest to them and pursue it for credit as an individual or with a group. The learning environment can be in or outside the school. PROJECT PROPOSAL To participate in the program, students select a topic of interest to them and then find a teacher to act as an adviser. A project proposal and outline is presented to the adviser. The staff adviser stays in contact with the student as the project is .developed and assigns a final mark when it's completed.