I formally worked for a company in Port Richey, Fl. called The Blind King Inc. I guess the title of the company went to the owners heads because they ran their company like a tyrant. I started here in Nov. of 2013 and was terminated in Oct. of 2014. I was the cut man. I cut all head rails, blinds, and valances to order. When I was hired I was told there would be regular pay raises with the possiblity of me making $10/hr in my first year if I was a fit for the company and I could top out anywhere from $11/hr-$12/hr. I will admit at first glance it seemed like a nice place to work. The owners were the operators. They were on site at the factory. I could see them everyday, say hello, and be treated like a person rather than a number. They’re a mom and pop shop. They even had family working for them so you could see how things could look up. But, as a former employee told me when I first started, “Give it 3 weeks and you’ll see the truth.” At face value the Mistrettas look like lovely people. Larry jokes sometimes and is semi socialble and Cheryl mostly kept to her work. But, that’s just face value. As time wore on the true colors of the company standards shown through. My first day I can remember having to move things out of the way to get to my work area. There is no real set path in or out of the factory. There is little room and pathways had to constantly be blocked and unblocked just to do ones job. I thought, “Ehh a little unorganized. I can hang.” But, upon further inspection I could tell this place is one box away from an episode of hoarders. They hung onto everything. They piled it in doorways, in walk ways, anywhere they could find space. But, what really concerned me was the fact that all of this PVC dust was EVERYWHERE. There was so much stuff that cleaning something 100% was impossible. Later I noticed how shotty and probobly illegal the wiring in the place was. They had so much plugged into 1 outlet. They ran a huge warehouse fan, an over the head florecent light, 2 chop saws, 1 dust collector, and 2 blind lifts off of 1 outlet. Constantly surge protectors were blowing. When we had no surge protectors they plugged them into the power cubes which blew fuses in the fuse box. All of the extension cords were bundled together and rather hot. All I could think of is with all of these chords and PVC dust lying everywhere this is a fire waiting to happen. The conditions in which I was given to work in were unsatisfactory at best. I had to actually ask for a cut mask to protect myself from the dust because there were none availible in the facility and was actually having to wear a bandanna around my face to sufice. But, the conditions quickly became the least of my worries. In Jan. of 2014 we had our lead guy quit. I stepped up to fill his space as the cut man. When I was hired in I was started at $8/hr. When I stepped up my pay was upped to $9/hr. Only later I found out Larry only wanted to give me a $.50 raise but, due to other’s urging him he gave me more. I was thankful but the knowledge I gained due to this experience made me look around at who I worked with. Mostly, I worked with older folks. 60+ or moms or young adults that were not aware of the fact that they were being taken advantage of. I saw that they liked to hire in people that would be compliant, that wouldn’t ever fight back against the abuse they endured. Al though on their web page they pride themselves in “Keeping Americans Working.” They forgot to mention for slave wages with no chance of advancement. So I worked there for almost a year. One month short. And I worked hard. I was always there to offer up ideas and help. There was no central leadership. The owenrs where hands off in their leadership. They let problems escalate to a boiling point before they would do anything. And then they would only release a letter with the pay checks to everyone and never really solve the problem but, rather sweep it under the rug. The lack of leadership allowed people to do what they wanted when they wanted. It allowed no one to held accountable for mistakes made in the production process. Finally the instatue a few things like signing off on what part of the process you took part in and specifics about what of part of the job you actually did. That solved a lot of problems out in the back of the house. The front of the house was something to be desired. All orders went through the office first like any other company. All orders were then transcribed into Exxcel and printed out into a uniform order sheet that was typed. The order was like the blue print to the specific job we were doing. But, the orders were always screwed up. Constanly I would find mistakes and others would find them too. The orders went through 3 sets of hands before it got to me and still there were mistakes. First the office clerk would transcribe everything. Next it went to Cheryl who would check everything to make sure everything was correct. Finally, my supervisor would go over the order to keep track of materials used and highlight anything special to the order. Yet still there were orders that came back messed up and sometimes mistakes were missed and order went out that way. I was informed it was my fault and it was my job to look the orders over in order to make sure everything was in order. Yet they paid 2 people to check the orders ontop of one of the owners checking the orders and they wanted a 4th set of eyes checking it. Seemed like overkill but, whatever I was paid by the hour so I went with it. For a bit. Once when no one in the back could make heads or tails of an order I went to the front and asked Cheryl. I said something to the tune of, “I think you made a mistake.” Never have I seen someones demeener change so quickly. She went from smiles to this look that could kill. She raised her voice and informed me that she was NEVER wrong and go to the back and figure it out. I thought maybe it’s a bad day and went back to my job. But, this attitude streak continued. When something went wrong she looked for someone to push the blame off on and acted like a pissed off 9 year old throwing a temper tantrum. Not something I wanted to work around so I avoided her as best as I could. The only time I ever really talked to her after this was when I got my pay checks. The experience with Cheryl didn’t deter me. I figured just avoid her and things will be fine. WRONG! I constantly noticed lies being told to everyone from emploees to customers. The biggest tall tale came around June or July of 2014. All employees were pulled into the office and sat down for a meeting. In this meeting we discussed things like product usage and the cost of overhead. Normal stuff. Then at the end of the meeting Larry told us that they are going to start doing an employee apperciation deal and a production bonus. The employee appreciation deal was every week we would vote as a crew for the person that really stepped up that week and they would be allowed to go home 2 hours early on Friday with pay and a gift certificate to go out to eat. The production bonus part wasn’t really explained Larry said he had to figure out if they wanted to do it weekly or monthly. To date and I still keep in contact with some employees NO ONE has ever reciend any of these encentives and there has been no talk of it outside of that meeting. It seemed to me that Larry would tell anyone anything they wanted to hear to get what he wanted out of them. The problems went deeper. Larry would pit employees against each other. He would show favoritism to those that would turn on their fellow employee. He rewarded them with raises and promotions. His current supervisor attained this position from being the company tattle tale. She would feed him information right in front of everyone on the factory floor. They would discuss personal details in front everybody and Larry would go as far as insulting comments with the Supervisor about whoever they were talking about in front of the entire crew. This did not set well with me. If you do not have the nerve to come to me and discuss your problems with my performance then how the hell can you run a company or lead people? Instead you resort to child like behavoir that I thought we were told from a young age to not do. Yet I endured and kept working. But, not before making my thoughts very clear. You were not to discuss these matters in front of the crew. It was unporfessional and I didn’t want to hear it. Some other things that didn’t sit well with me was the type of people he hired in. Like I said mostly single older adults that would be compliant. But, it was when they hired in a person of color that I saw who these people really were. Everyone was hired in and paid at least $8/hr. except an African American guy. He was hired in a bare minimum wage. Might I add no one except his current Supervisor had previous Blind making experience so experience as a wage factor could be thrown out in my mind. It is my opinion that The Blind King hold some racist sentaments and wage wasn’t the only indication. This african american guy was the only one in the crew that Larry ever raised his voice to. When something went wrong and it was found that this individual was at fault Larry would speak to this person with such disrespect. Using curse words and never letting him explain himself. Instead Larry always used the threat of firing him to get him to correct himself. He would tell him I could fire you today and have your replacement in here tomorrow if you don’t shape up. I noticed these things but, did nothing because I could not loose this job. It seemed Larry picks out weak minded people or people he thinks he can get over on to hire and is scared of anyone with a back bone like myself. I do believe this is why my employment was terminated. On Oct. 10th the African American guy refused to sign a write up stating it was bogus and falsified. So Cheryl called Larry back to the shop. Larry shows up and starts talking to this guy with the same disrepect as before. Cussing and pointing fingures and getting loud. So loud I could hear him over the saw I was using. I had had enough of this behavior and went over to bare witness and step in. I leaned over the table close to the conversation between Larry and the individual and pretended to look over slats for defects. Before it went any further he terminated the African American guy and turned to me and said you’re fired too this is a bogo event. I asked for a termination notice in writing. I was denied and told the cops would be called if I refused to leave. So I left. To this day I have no idea why I was fired. I had never had a write up, verbal warning, or any disciplinary notice given to me. Hell i thought I was doing a good job. But, I know why I got fired. I stood to tall and talked to loud. In June or July of 2014 I spoke to Larry about my expences going up in Oct. I told him I would need to have a $1 raise to $10/hr in order to continue working there. He told me to hold on until Oct. and I would be rewarded with the raise I deserved. We left that meeting on a high note. Things were looking up. I shook his hand in agreement and left. It was just a lie. Another lie told to string me along just a bit longer to further him and his wifes life stlye obsession. On Oct. 1st on 2014 I asked about my raise we agreed upon and when I could expect to get it. His responce was another lie. He was having problems with the tax man now and couldn’t afford to pay me $40 more a week. Yet me could hire 2 new people in the same week with the same lies I had been told when I was hired in. I had enough and told him I was looking for new work and he had till Oct. 13th to tell me his decision. I got fired on the 10th instead. I was never going to get a raise and was never going to go anywhere with the company. No one does. The companies longest working employee there has only been there for 3 years if that tells you something about this company. This company is a predetor. They pray on the weak and anyone they think they can get over on. From customers to employees and beyond I would think. I would avoid this place at all cost. The product is inconsistent at best made of the cheapest materials found sold at high prices. There is more to the story. So much more. But, this is all I have time for. I’ll say it again. THIS PALCE IS A PREDETOR. AVOID AT ALL COST. .
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