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Archive for November, 2016

Paintshop: Selecting Paint Colors Using Online Chip Catalogs

Shopping for the best paint color for a surface or area is only a CLICK away. Via the internet, you can search any major or specialty paint manufacturer’s website.

 

And, you can access their complete color chip catalog, including each color’s name and product number.

 

Usually, the paint chips will be organized by color family. Also, they will be categorized by certain criteria.

 

  1. Surface – interior or exterior.
  2. Substrate – e.g. wood, masonry. Metal.
  3. Paint sheen/finish – e.g. flat/matte, eggshell , satin, semi-gloss, gloss, high-gloss.
  4. Paint type – e.g. latex, oil-base, acrylic latex, primer/finish duo.
  5. Environment/climate – eg. dry, wet, humid/tropic, cold.
  6. Unique features.
  7. Paint quality – e.g. good, superior, premium, heavy duty.

 

October and November tend to be the ideal time to CLICK on a paint manufacturer’s site for news about the new colors for the next year. Each color and each color combination will be shown in appropriate product-color-surface applications. By room or area.

 

EXAMPLE: Sherwin-Williams “Poised Taupe SW 6039.”

 

  1. Living room setting: The color may be shown on an accent wall.
  2. Dining room: Color may be used on the upper part of a dado wall, or old wooden chairs.
  3. Entertainment room: Color may be applied in alternate vertical stripes on a wall.
  4. Master bedroom suite: Color may be used on a recessed wall or alcove.
  5. House masonry exterior: Color may be used as predominant color, or trim color.

 

For real excitement, try the virtual, or 3-D visualization, capability available on most paint manufacturer’s sites.

 

  1. CLICK on the chip of color you are considering.
  2. CLICK on the type of room or area in which you want to use the color.
  3. See how the color might actually look.
  4. See how your chosen paint color might be combined with other colors for total effect.
  5. See how your color might look in rooms of different styles or with decor – eg. traditional, provincial, contemporary, eclectic.
  6. See how your color might look under different light exposures – eg. full sun, partial sun, partial shade, or full shade room or wall.

 

In my opinion: Nothing beats the visit to the paint store to find the exact color that you need.

 

Still, shopping online first can save a lot of time and money. And, when the color needs to be approved by someone else, a few strategic CLICKS and PRINTs in color can save you a lot  of grief – and repainting – later on.

 

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Chip away at correct color selection by first CLICKing on paint chips.

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Many thanks for visiting “Painting with Bob.”

Copyright 2016. Robert D. Hajtovik. All rights reserved.

Painting It: Accent Colors Change Appearance and Enhance Amenities

Every four years, a small chain of London area boutique hotels changes its color on the accent wall in each guest room. The owners believe that their clientele, largely repeat visitors, appreciate this gesture.

 

“They like the uplift,” emailed the company’s senior painter. “We are careful to select a color that is just coming into vogue.”

 

For 2017, the hotels’ owners have authorized their (three) staff painters to also apply the new accent color to the vanity alcove and nearby walk-in closet in each room. “This blends the different areas together…” the painter added.

 

The guest reviews have been very positive. Examples: “Lovely effect when entering bath area.”  “Most inviting color unity.”  “Pleasant add-on.”  “Delightful change.”

 

The senior painter ended his e-mail by saying, “I recommend the accent wall for any room or area. It enhances appearance and updates the décor at minimal cost…”

 

 

10 ADVANTAGES TO ADDING ACCENT COLORS TO DÉCOR

 

  1. It changes the overall appearance of the specific area, and entire room.
  2. It changes the overall “feel” of the room.
  3. It freshens the overall look of the entire room or suite.
  4. It enhances the benefits of the standard amenities in the room or area.
  5. It upgrades the overall design of the room or suite.
  6. It updates the color scheme in the room or suite.
  7. It expands the standard color scheme’s customer/guest appeal.
  8. It expands the area’s marketability.
  9. It offers positive visual change at a marginal cost.
  10. It offers a way to use up premium paint in colors no longer a part of color scheme.

 

 

10 UNIQUE APPLICATION TIPS FOR USING ACCENT COLORS

 

  1. Reverse the “apply accent color to the wall” rule. Apply the accent color to the trim, doors and frames, and window sills located on one wall.
  2. Spray paint the ceiling in the new accent color.
  3. Use accent color to faux finish a 3-inch border around the parameter of the ceiling.
  4. Create a vertical stripe effect by alternatively painting the accent color every 2 or 3 inches over the wall’s existing color.
  5. Create a drop ceiling effect by applying accent color in a 3 inch border around ceiling, then down 3 inches at the top of all four walls.
  6. Paint accent color on the worst-condition wall and/or trim surfaces in a room.
  7. Paint accent color adjacent to the surface in the worst condition – eg. dents, poorly matched to touch-ups, gouges, minor water damage.
  8. Hardwood and/or tile floors? Paint “pathway” from inside entry doorway all the way to the bathroom’s tub area. Note: A clear over coat may be advisable.
  9. Create draped canopy effect on bed wall by painting accent color in alternate space, from marked vertical center.
  10. Paint 3-inch block border around one wall in room, painting alternate blocks in accent color.

 

You get the picture. When it comes to applying accent paint colors, your options are wide open!

 

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Thank you for visiting “Painting with Bob.”

Copyright 2016. Robert D. Hajtovik. All rights reserved.

Painter’s World: On the job on Thanksgiving Day

Usually, hotel/resort and facility painters need to work on holidays, including Thanksgiving Day. Particularly if they are scheduled to be on duty that day of the week.

 

For many reasons, I always enjoyed working on Thanksgiving. Even though many work orders were STAT, guest tempers flared, and bosses went ballistic.

 

10 THINGS THAT MADE THANKSGIVING A GREAT WORK DAY

 

  1. Chance to be with other persons – work friends – on a holiday.
  2. Opportunity to help others enjoy the holiday away from home.
  3. Lighter, more relaxed mood among staff members, even management.
  4. Teammates’ humorous approach to troubleshooting, and handling of problems promptly.
  5. More time allowed for light talk between and among staff members.
  6. Teammate’s holiday stories and jokes during breaks and lunch.
  7. Holiday atmosphere throughout the property.
  8. Festive, respectful attitude of guests and visitors, even when complaining.
  9. “Lightened up” attitude of bosses.
  10. Scrumptious menus prepared by our cooks – and those “doggie bags” for home.

 

10 TIPS FOR ENJOYING THANKSGIVING DAY AT WORK

 

  1. Two-three days before, jot down simple to-do list for the holiday. Select tasks that take little time – and will free you to enjoy the day with others.
  2. Carry in a holiday snack for teammates. Something that they’ll like, tastes great, and is easy to grab and eat on the run. ADDED TIP: Hand out pieces of wrapped holiday candy to fellow staff.
  3. Show up in a holiday mood, and spread it around, without overdoing it.
  4. Be ready to stop and chat with teammates and fellow staff any time your paths cross.
  5. Make the work day a little easier for any teammate that you know is going through a rough time (whatever the reason).
  6. Keep your eyes out for guests that need an extra pair of hands, or smile.
  7. Step in and give your boss an unexpected and extra break time.
  8. “Take two” minutes. Toss a ball with a teen hanging out in your work area outdoors.
  9. “Take five” minutes. Lend a hand to a guest loading up the family vehicle.
  10. Look out for children that appear lost, confused, upset, or ill. Help them get back to family.

 

Remember: Everyone on the property that day will be visiting. Away from home, and away from their own tables.

Give thanks that you’re there on this holiday. There’s a good reason that you are. Make it matter!

 

A TRUE THANKSGIVING STORY…

 

Three turkeys lived, very visibly, in our woods. One Thanksgiving, my dad forgot to pick up his 22+ pound, free Thanksgiving turkey from the company.

 

Without saying anything to anyone, he loaded a rifle and snuck into the woods to shoot a turkey for Thanksgiving dinner.

 

But, the three turkeys had other plans. They disappeared.

 

Dad crept through the trees for over two hours, fighting whipping 40 degree winds and biting snow. Still no turkey.

 

When he came back to the house, Mom asked him, “Where were you? Ron and Carol dropped off your turkey.”

 

Dad looked at his unloaded rifle, then doubled over in laughter.

 

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Give thanks for the turkey that got away, and the turkey that joins you for dinner.

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A safe and memorable Thanksgiving week-end to everyone. And, thanks for reading “Painting with Bob.”

Copyright 2016. Robert D. Hajtovik. All rights reserved.

“Painting with Bob’s Hassle-Free, Health-Conscious Dutch Apple Pie”

Dutch Apple Pie has been a favorite of mine since childhood. Thanks to grandmothers, great aunts, and other women in the kitchen at holiday time that were experts at baking Grand Prize winner pies. Usually from scratch, by the way.

 

So, the boy grows up. He still loves Dutch Apple Pie. He can’t find a ready-made version that comes anywhere close to those family-made pies. So, he learns to bake it himself.

 

The recipe below is my on-the-go-to-work-on-Thanksgiving-Day-version.

 

PWB DUTCH APPLE PIE INGREDIENTS – All purchased from a Wal-Mart Super Store. All packaged and canned products: Great Value label, actually name brand products packaged en quantity for Wal-Mart.

Pie shells: 2 deep dish pie shells, ready to fill.

Filling: 1 14-18 ounce can Apple Pie filling, no sugar added; 2 large apples, pared and sliced; 1 teaspoon corn starch, 1 can water.

Topping: 2 whole graham crackers, crushed; ½ cup bran flakes or Cheerios, crushed; 2 tablespoons olive oil or 1 stick butter, unsalted; 2 tablespoons sugar; 1 egg yolk, beaten. NOTE: Set aside unbeaten egg white.

 

PWB DUTCH APPLE PIE INSTRUCTIONS

 

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

FILLING

1.Into small saucepan, pour ¾ cup water. Add sliced apple pieces. Simmer on LOW for 5 minutes maximum. Drain water.

2. Into medium mixing bowl, spoon prepared Apple Pie filling. Add cooked apple slices. Set heat at MEDIUM.

3. Add corn starch and water. Stir till blended with filling from can. Cook on MEDIUM till mixture thickens. Remove from heat.

4. TIP: Brush egg white onto pie shell to keep pie filling from soaking through.

5. Pour entire mixture into one pie shell. Use spatula to get all of the filling from pan into shell. Spread mixture evenly so it touches shell’s sides.

6. Turn second pie shell upside down. Carefully, flip onto the filled pie shell. Use spatula to gently work shell down. With thumb and fingers, go around shell’s edges and push them together.

 

CRUMB TOPPING

1.In small bowl, combine topping ingredients. Mix well, till all crumbs are slightly moist. Mixture should look a little lumpy.

2. Spoon fine mixture onto top of pie. Spread evenly.

3. With fork (long prongs preferred), puncture small holes through topping, and into top pie shell.

 

BAKE pie for 45-50 minutes, or until bits of filling glaze bubble up through those small holes.

SERVE warm, or cooled.

 

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A blessed Thanksgiving to everyone.

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Thank you for sharing your experiences, ideas and thoughts – and for visiting “Painting with Bob.”

 

Copyright 2016. Robert D. Hajtovik. All rights reserved.

Paintshop: Equipping Engineering Techs with Right Paint Colors

My biggest staff painter challenge was ensuring that the other engineering techs to use the correct paint products for handling “painter” work orders on my days off. Mainly touching up surfaces in guest rooms and visible public areas.

 

They had neither the “eye” nor the time to match paint products in the shop to the paint colors of smaller areas needing repainting.

 

Yes, it was easy for them to find all of the cans of yellow latex paint, for instance. A paint chip was displayed on the lid of each container. And, it was easy to identify which cans of yellow paint had been used in the guest room originally in Building Two.

 

However, it was difficult to select the exact matching tint of yellow latex needed to touch up a particular spot or wall in a particular room. One reason: Over time, the original paint color on the wall would have faded or discolored. Why: Due to sun exposure, repeated household chemical cleanings and/or surface damage.

 

In most instances, after returning from days off, I’d quietly re-touch up the “touch-ups.” No big deal was made about the error in paint color selection. Nothing was said about the added time that it took to back pedal, and redo painting work orders. And, I’d never say a word to the tech about the chief engineer’s or general manager’s related complaints.

 

Painters, here’s one method to simplify the paint color selection job for your techy teammates.

 

  1. Go through all of the paint cans in the shop.
  2. Create a chart showing a chip for every paint can you have.
  3. Take the paint chip chart along as you make your daily rounds – eg. guest rooms, public areas, activity rooms, offices.
  4. Match each chip to the surface/area that it matches, and notate information.
  5. Back in the shop, add surface, area/wall and room information to every paint can label in the place. Write date that you matched the paint chip to surface.
  6. Group and shelve the paint cans according to building and room/area.
  7. Put up a small “poster” to identify those products by area.
  8. Make up a quick-reference wall chart for your engineering teammates.
  9. Give each guy a little one-on-one tour of the paint can setup. Show how to use the set up to their advantage.

 

NOTE: My engineering teammates made it clear that they did not like the hassle they got from the bosses, hotel management and guests  about the use of the wrong paint products and/or colors.

 

FOOTNOTE: You are bound to run into this type of problem. It really can’t be prevented totally.

 

BEST PIECE OF ADVICE: Do your best to keep the paint products in the paintshop organized and easy to access. Also, go easy on your teammates. They’re just trying to cover for you when you’re unable to be there.

 

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Train your engineering teammates in the paint touch-up methods that work for everyone.

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Thank you for visiting “Painting with Bob.”

Copyright 2016. Robert D. Hajtovik. All rights reserved.

Painter’s View: Maintenance Tech and Nurse Follow New Hospital Procedure

A local hospital has a new procedure for each floor nurse. Every hour, she or he must check on every patient under his or her care. Then, the nurse writes his or her initials in the appropriate “hour” space on a sheet of paper taped on the wall in each respective patient’s room.

 

Here’s what a relative observed…

 

  1. The nurse on each shift did enter the room and did initial the appropriate sheet(s) of paper.
  2. Some nurses at least glanced back in the direction of the patient’s bed before initialing the sheet of paper.
  3. Those same nurses were likely to actually speak to the patient during at least 50 percent of those quick log-in visits.
  4. The same shift nurses were likely to return promptly to the room and check on the patient’s welfare.
  5. The same shift nurses tended to extend patient care in empathetic, cheerful and thorough ways.

 

During the night, a hospital maintenance tech entered the room at the same time as a male nurse. Quietly, they chit-chatted while doing their respective jobs.

 

The maintenance tech checked on the operation and controls of the HVAC system. The nurse checked on the patient’s comfort level, bed, wall lighting fixture, etc.

 

Both men completed their tasks about the same time. They arranged to meet or coffee at break time.

 

Nurse Louis wrote his initials onto both sheets, taped onto the wall. Maintenance tech Juan pulled out a mobile device. He pushed a few buttons on the keyboard. Then he returned the phone to his pocket.

 

It turned out that Juan had a new procedure to follow, too. Each time that he left a work area, he had to log it into the engineering department’s daily data base.

 

Also, both men were originally from Puerto Rico. And, both were working at jobs they loved.

 

When I picked up the relative after dismissal one evening, Louis removed the I.V. and disconnected the mobile monitor. With great pride, he told me about the maintenance tech, Juan.

 

“Juan is the smartest, most honest man I know. And, the hardest worker. The best maintenance tech in America. Well, in Florida. He’s as good at his job as anyone with a big education and degrees. Like me.”

 

In those few words, Nurse Louis said a lot about himself, too. And, he revealed why he was among the few shift nurses that actually looked back and checked on his patient each time that he came along to initial each daily log on the wall.

 

Kudos to Maintenance Tech Juan and Nurse Louis.

 

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A man of merit on the job is a man of worth in any community.

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Thank you for visiting “Painting with Bob.”

 

Copyright 2016. Robert D. Hajtovik. All rights reserved.

Painter’s View: Covering Up Toxic Mold Infestation

In Florida, more than a few hotels have redecorated all or most of their guest rooms and public areas to cover up a deeper problem. Example: Black mold infestation – Stachybotyry’s chartarum.

 

They’ve spent a lot of money to install new carpeting and tile, furniture and fixtures, window treatments and textiles, AC window units, fresh coats of paint, etc.

 

But none of it will eradicate “sick building syndrome,” the underlying challenge.

 

Black mold and mildew behind the walls, above the ceilings, inside pipes and duct work, under floors, behind cabinetry, etc.

 

To get rid of “sick building” conditions – specifically toxic black mold, the structure’s interior must be gutted. The drywall in all infested rooms and areas must be removed. Plumbing and piping must be torn out. Wall, ceiling and floor joists must be taken out.

 

The entire area must be mitigated and remediated. Aired out, dried completely, and treated for hazardous chemicals and toxins.

 

Painters cannot do this. It’s a job for the professionals in toxic and hazardous materials handling. It is a big job. A labor-intensive job. A dangerous job.

 

Take note: If the actual infested surfaces and elements are not removed. Painters, and other staff members, working in redecorated guest rooms and public areas will still be exposed to the dangerous toxins.

 

Eventually, because the climatic conditions do not self-correct nor reverse themselves, the harmful fungal infestations will work their way into the new drywall, carpeting, textiles and fabrics, piping/plumbing, ductwork and ventilation system, etc. Little-by-little, or alarmingly fast!

 

Then, the toxic black mold fungi will show its ugly face all over again.

 

That’s one reason why, on the national news, you will see big piles of torn drywall inside and outside of houses and commercial buildings damaged by floods, hurricanes, etc. That’s why you’ll see entire houses gutted, and fully exposed wall joists and ceiling frames.

 

Painters must use great caution if they must continue to work in rooms and buildings that have been redecorated, but still harbor the toxic black fungi.

 

MY ADVICE FROM PERSONAL EXPERIENCE

 

Every time you work in or near one of those areas, protect yourself. Still hidden somewhere is the same toxic fungi and infestation that you may have been responsible, previously, for treating.

 

  1. SUIT UP! Head-to-toe in a disposable plastic uniform and shoe covers (like surgeons wear).
  2. Wear disposable gloves with a wide, snug wristband, or that reach mid-forearm.
  3. Wear a hat.
  4. Wear a nose and mouth mask.
  5. Better yet: Use a free-standing breathing apparatus.
  6. Wear eye goggles that fit snugly.

 

Repeated, or prolonged, exposure to toxic black mold fungi should be avoided. The price that your body might have to pay tends to be much higher than you could have anticipated.

 

Most of you can’t afford – and don’t want – to skip around from workplace to workplace. And, in Florida, as well as other parts of the country, it’s hard to find a hotel property that does not have some kind of environmental problem.

 

So, please! Do whatever you can.  NO! Do whatever it takes – to protect yourself from the effects of toxic Black mold fungi infestation.

 

It’s a life-threatening and traumatic tragedy. Trust me!  The EPA, environmental experts and medical specialists can tell you all about it.

 

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The life you save from permanent damage by toxic black mold exposure could be your own!

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Thank you for visiting “Painting with Bob.”

 

Copyright 2016. Robert D. Hajtovik. All rights reserved

Painter’s World: Visiting Old Projects, Old Properties

It can be very interesting, and motivating, to visit hotel, resort and other properties where you’ve completed projects in the past. Or where you were a staff painter.

 

You may look at your previous project work through different eyes. The eyes of more experience. This is particularly true with completed projects. Or, similar projects on which you used better products or more effective methods, and achieved better results than before.

 

Two of my friends from IUPAT days have turned this experience into a “painter’s” destination. They stay as guests at a hotel or resort on which they’ve worked. They reserve a large room for a minimum of a 3-day weekend, to a maximum of ten days.  (Depending on the amount of work they did on the respective property.)

 

Here’s what they look at while staying at each hotel or resort.

 

  1. Current overall color scheme of hotel/resort – predominant colors used and where.
  2. Surfaces/areas repainted or redecorated since they worked on property – including products and colors used.
  3. Surfaces/areas that have not been redone since they worked on them – including products and colors they used.
  4. Special designs, finishes and effects used now, that weren’t used back then. Changes made that painter recommended before, but management turned down.
  5. New designs, products, finishes, colors, etc. used now that are much more appealing and effective than those the painter(s) needed to use when there.
  6. Areas and amenities remodeled or upgraded since they worked on the property – including paint, finishing and wallcovering treatments used.

 

Actually, their destination checklist number over eleven. Also, within twenty-four hours of their arrival at the hotel or resort, they made a point of introducing themselves to the chief engineer, also the general manager of the property.

 

“We keep everything above board. We tell them who we are, and why we’re there. Besides the overnight stay, of course.  We tell them that we are painters, what we do specifically, and when we worked on the property, or as a staff member.”

 

They ask permission to walk around, and look at areas that they worked on. They make notes about problem surfaces and projects back when, and the better ways they would handle them today.

 

The two painters – with 56 years hospitality painting experience between them – have developed their own learning curve. They’ve created and produced DVD tutorials – problem-solution how-tos – to share with other career hotel/resort painters and engineering department teammates.

 

Hats off to Trent and Carlos.

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Learning from our past often requires awareness of our presence.

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Thank you for visiting “Painting with Bob.”

 

Copyright 2016. Robert D. Hajtovik. All rights reserved.

Painter’s World: Lars, Luxury Home Painter – Chicago Style

Lars lives in a 3-story walk-up (no elevator) apartment building off West Grand Boulevard, in northwest Chicago. He paints and also installs wallpapers in luxury “owner” apartments and condominiums on the in the North Shore and northeast side neighborhoods overlooking Lake Michigan.

 

On the average, he works on the same residence for seven to eight full days at a time. When one of the properties is sold, he is usually the first painter that the new owners contact to redecorate the home to their specifications.

 

These redecorating projects fall into three levels of work.

 

1. Minimal redecorating. Repainting one or two rooms (often the living room and master bedroom); touching up painting throughout the home. Owner involvement: Owner/client is minimally involved during the work. Approximate completion time: 1 to 3 days.

 

2. Some redecorating. New painting often needs to encorporate new owner’s color preferences into existing color scheme. Requires repainting of front hallway; main living, dining and entertainment areas, bedrooms and bathrooms. Owner involvement: Owner checks in on project fairly regularly. Approximate completion time: 7 to 10 days.

 

3. Remodeling & redecorating. He works under project contractor, based on the architect’s and interior designer’s plans. Entails extensive surface prepping, following new color scheme and applying paint, special finishes and wallcoverings, also detail work. Owner involvement: Very little directly with painter and other craftspersons. Approximate completion time: 1 to 6 months.

 

PROJECT COSTS:

 

NOTE: Labor costs for Level one and two are figured at a materials plus hourly labor rate. Level three are figured on a three-part project basis: (1) materials, supplies; (2) repairs and prep work; and (3) finish work.

 

1. Projects-Level one. Materials and supplies: Lars asks the owner to pay out front for all. Or, the owner gives him a cashier’s check or money order to purchase what he needs. Labor: Owner pays one-half out front, and one-half at completion.

 

2. Projects-Level two. Property owner and Lars sign 2-page agreement, which includes the approximate itemized cost for project. Materials, supplies, equipment rental: Property owner pays Lars out front. Labor: Owner pays one-third before work begins, one-third half-way through project, one-third upon inspection and completion.

 

3. Projects-Level three. Lars signs contract agreement with project contractor, that bonds Lars. Materials and supplies, special tools, equipment rental: Lars receives debit card or access to special checking account, and purchases everything he needs out front and as needed.

Labor: Lars, like all tradespersons on project, receives “project employee” pay check on bi-weekly basis. Craftsman bonus: Upon completion and final inspections, Lars receives a bonus check, if his work is rated at A or A-plus level. That means premium craftsmanship, coming in before his deadline, and under painting and decorating budget.

 

NOTE: Lars’s bonuses are never based on the productivity level of other tradespersons on the project. They do, however, take into account the quality of the finished work of everyone on the project. Thus, Lars and the different tradespersons have an added incentive to work together, consistently, toward achieving high-end results!

 

By the way, Lars worked as an IUPAT/IBPAT painter for over fourteen years. He moved, got caught in the union’s new vested hours rule determination, and lost all fourteen years of his vested worked hours toward pension.

 

So, in late 2002, he struck out on his own. He became a one-man paintshop. Plus, he farms himself out on larger projects.

 

He says that he has never regretted the switch. “During rough times, I’ve had to take on temporary staff painting jobs with hotels and resorts… Also, I’ve worked for a non-union contractor on and off, installing wallcoverings.”

 

With a Dutch twinkle in his eyes, he adds, “I do what all professional painters do. What is necessary…what makes sense.”

 

Right you are, Lars.

 

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CONGRATULATIONS and a big “thank you” to our Chicago Cubs for  winning the 2017 World Series. We’re all very proud of you.

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Thanks for visiting “Painting with Bob.”

Copyright 2016. Robert D. Hajtovik. All rights reserved.

Painter’s World: The Pro-Labor of Painting

Understanding and implementing labor strategies should be important to everyone who has a job. That is, perhaps with the exception of management. They tend to look out for the needs of the company.

 

Yet, both sides need each other to keep the business in business. They need each other to get the work done in an efficient, qualitative and cost effective manner. When this employee-employer relationship disappears, your job disappears.

 

In the painting trade, which is similar to all labor-intensive trade, the worker expects a fair wage for a reasonable day’s work. Employers expect and work hard to get as much work out of their employees as possible. I agree, as long as the employees’ health and safety are given the attention they deserve.

 

As a painter, what do you really want in the workplace? If asked, I would say (1) to feel appreciated, (2) to be respected, and (3) to be treated as a professional.

 

How are these objectives achieved?  From the standpoint of the employer-employee relationship?

 

1. Professional treatment. As the painter/employee, you know your job and what is required in order to keep it. And, on a consistent basis, you make every effort to perform your tasks in a responsible, productive manner.

 

2. Respect. As the painter/employee, you need certain provisions to be in place. Some of the more important ones include the respect and consideration of the employer, the tools to do the work, and enough time to do the work properly. (About tools: To start, painters need good quality brushes, roller covers, and reliable spray equipment.)

 

3. Appreciation. As a painter/employee, you have the right to have a safe, non-threatening environment in which to work. Both you and your employer have the responsibility to make sure it exists.

TIP A: When the employer drags his heels, be patient. And, try to find out why. Is it due to the cost and an unavailable budget? Consult your supervisor first; then your management or employer. It may be due to the cost of making it so.

TIP B: Don’t dismiss the need to pursue any possible resolution to the problem (s). Be patient.

TIP C: In an extreme case –eg. high toxicity, hazardous chemicals – OHSA (Occupational Health and Safety Administration) can guide you in the best direction.

 

4. Productivity issues. Organize an employee meeting as a group with your supervisor. Clearly (and truthfully) explain anything which keeps you from doing your job efficiently. CAUTION: Don’t blame or accuse anyone personally. Be tactful.

 

5. Wage/Salary issues. Fair wage/ salary is also on a painter’s mind. Don’t think about how much the company is making, or the salary raises for management. Instead, make known the value of your service to the company. Emphasize how you strive to do your best every day.

TIP A: If you must self-pay 100 percent of your health insurance, politely indicate that an increase in wage would be greatly appreciated.

 

 Now, using a more tactical response…

 

First, make sure you are doing all that you can to comply with company policy, productivity and employee regulations. If that fails to help you achieve any goals, follow one or all of the following objectives. NOTE: Some are more proactive than others.

 

1.Prepare yourself for presenting your concerns and issues.

 

TIP A: Write down a list of employee rights that your employer has denied you, and possibly others in the workforce. Make sure they are entitlements guaranteed under the law. Examples: lunch time (30 minutes or more), break availability, extended break time if necessary, compensation for work-related supplies, uniform requirements, workmen’s compensation, employer insurance payments, etc.

TIP B: Read then reread the company’s operations manual, if they issued one. Carefully make a note of any discrepancies or contradictions in their policies and procedures. Especially any that specifically relate to your department, or any other department with which you deal regularly.

TIP C: Compile definitive proof of misconduct on the part of the employer. File in a secure place.

TIP D: Find out the concerns and issues of other staff painters that you know in the region. What grievances do you share, and to what extent?

NOTE: In this process, your employer will probably look for ways to discredit you, starting with your attendance record.

CAUTION: It’s probable that you will lose your job sooner than later, be demoted, or be moved into another position at a different, less desirable location.

 

2. Ultimate response in labor relations. The painter/employee and employer relationship is based on group strength and unity. A number of painters standing together over a legitimate health and safety, or wage, issue can get better results with the employer, especially when you possess concrete and well supported evidence.

TIP A: It’s very possible that, through negotiation and mediation, a fair settlement can be achieved. Resulting in a win-win-win solution for everyone.

CAUTION: The painters may win the case; but they may have difficulty finding new jobs.

 

3. File a formal grievance. Depending on your issue, start with the following: Federal Wage Board/U. S. Department of Labor, OHSA, and EEOC. There are other agencies and organizations that may like to know about your problem.

CAUTION A: Especially when employee safety and health are concerned, fines could be levied until the employer sees fit to comply with the law. Some employers will initiate positive changes promptly. They do not want Federal sanctions on their books. Others will drag their heels, pay the fines at will, and refuse to comply.

CAUTION B: In the painter’s case, he may win or lose. This depends on whether or not the employer wants to do the right thing and improve working conditions.

CAUTION C: The employer may do nothing about the situation. But the employer will find probable cause to terminate you. Example: Employers, in any defendant’s hot seat, tend to shift the responsibility and costs to you. They will brand you as an difficult employee.

 

4. Promptly, locate another job. And resign from your present one.

CAUTION A: You may lose out. Especially if you like your current job, have a solid work record and possess growth opportunities.

CAUTION B: Consider that your job may not be secure at that point. The employer may have already been planning to hire someone to replace you.

 

5. Consider the option to start your own business. Especially if you have a good-to-excellent reputation in the field, possess some great connections and can float a low cash flow for two-to-five years before realizing a net profit. It can be a new beginning where you have control.

CAUTION A: Just remember that you become the employer now, just in case you hire anyone. Think of what you went through.

CAUTION B: Do you want, and are you able, to function well on the other side of the employer-employee scale?

 

BOTTOM LINE: As the labor-employee side of work, you must live up to your responsibility as designated by the employer. If not done, this will produce grounds for discipline or dismissal.

 

Your best asset is your service record. It can be a powerful, high-leverage weapon, when you are negotiating.

 

Validate your position. Hold your ground. Rally for support. And press on. Labor relations is about strength and commitment.

 

Points to Ponder:

  1. What do you have at stake in pursuing any grievance? Examples: current job; chances for promotion; wage/salary increases; benefit upgrades; growth opportunities in your field with other employers, or as an independent; family finances.
  2. Can you afford the potential short-term and long-term losses, and fallouts?

 

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Thank you for reading “Painting with Bob.”

Copyright 2016. Robert D. Hajtovik. All rights reserved.

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