East of Huntsville: Much Ado About Cinram

Feb 4, 2008 Full story: www.eastofhuntsville.com 81

In the wake of over one hundred foreign workers coming up missing, much speculation, criticism, and many questions are left behind at Cinram, Inc.

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Since: Oct 08

Huntsville, AL

#21 Aug 2, 2009
The main problem at your company is management. When there is a high turn-over rate--it is always management. You can make the work place as safe and comfortable as you like; however, when you have incompetent managers, supervisors, etc., your company will not keep employees!!!
Paul Brown wrote:
I am so tired of all the miss-information concerning Cinram and it’s employment practices. First let me say that I have been with the company before it was Cinram, some 20 years now. I have seen first hand the people comeing through the door looking for a job. They come in to interview in dirty cloths, sandals, T-shirts, sunglasses and baggy pants. Still they receive an interview, and as long as they can pass a basic skills test, they are asked to return for drug testing. That is where some 10% to 15% don’t return. Those that do come back, I would guess that another 10% to 15% don’t pass the drug test. Now we have lets say 80% left. They are then scheduled for orientation. You guessed it. Another 10% or better never show. Now we are down to 70% of the original group. Then comes the first day of work and we have another 10% to 20% that never show. Now we have somewhere between 50% and 60% of the starter group. Within the first week, we will loose somewhere around 25% of those.
Now lets look at the horrible work conditions. 1.3 million square feet of totally heated and air-conditioned floor space. Workers in the warehouse ride in the latest state of the art picking equipment with ergo seats and safety equipment. Those that work in the pick and pack modules enjoy well lit safe work areas. Out in the sortation areas, again still all air-conditioned and heated, workers enjoy automated sort equipment in a clean environment. In what I would deem the hardest area of the plant to work in, manual packing, we still see a clean, heated and cooled, safe workspace. Yes, you stand at a conveyor placing small items into containers for your 12 hour shift with breaks and lunches. Anyone who has worked in any kind of manufacturing environment, I’m sure will see this as horrendous conditions. Just ask people that have worked in warehouses that are nether heated or cooled. Also truckers that work on open docks both winter and summer. People pouring concrete or paving roads. How about roofers?
Having worked my entire life and only been out of work for a few days at a time when jobs changed. I see a huge number of both young and old that never finished school and took no effort to improve themselves but think they should earn $20 an hour. And that’s if they can pass a drug test and if they decide to come to work today.

Since: Aug 09

Madison AL

#22 Aug 2, 2009
Wow, seems like things have changed a LOT there over the years. I had a good friend who worked out there for years and she loved her job in QC.
Times Change

Evanston, IL

#23 Aug 10, 2009
Interesting comments here. Overall I'd have to agree with jdnhsvilleAL.
I worked there when things first started, and I mean FIRST started back in the late 80s. They were interesting times. I wonder how many of the first group of people are still there.
And I do have to chuckle at the Hispanic employees categorically bashing "americans". Are you not a citizen and bashing Americans, or are you just being racist?
Times Change

Evanston, IL

#24 Aug 10, 2009
Hm. I just read this; www leftinalabama .com/diary/750/
Looks like they turned it into a sweatshop. That considered, if anyone (American born OR immigrant) can get a better job they should. Anyone making $8/hour is probably either just passing through or not the pick of the litter.
Times Change

Evanston, IL

#25 Aug 10, 2009
Wow, reading even more now. What a wreck. Things sure have changed (and not for the better) since the Laservideo/Disc Manufacturing days.
Another XEmployee Mgmt

Fresno, CA

#26 Sep 22, 2009
When I worked at Cinram, I saw a Lead that was so sick she could hardly walk. The doctor gave her a note to keep her home a few days which she brought into work with her. She was told if she took the time off she would be "let go". This girl was a very hard worker, a single Mom with a young daughter - she stayed. A few weeks later they let her go.
That wouldn't happen in California but it did in Tennessee.
Renegade

Charleston, SC

#27 Sep 23, 2009
Cinram must be giving bonuses to employees who write nice things about them or job security. I went there to apply for a job...Each time I was told that they were not hiring. I asked about hiring non-Americans; each time I was told that they were not aware of non-Americans working there. I am a property owning, tax paying denizen of Huntsville. My question really is "What did Cinram give to Huntsville to allow them the tax breaks to locate here"? Promises...Promises. Probably fell under the same management team consisting of those who facilitated the "new" jail construction project.
brother gene

United States

#28 Nov 2, 2009
Don't know where the guy came up with the figure for benefits being $30 a pay period...it is $75. And they do not send the illegal home first in Huntsville, AL; I'm a citizen and have been sent home numerous times and the illegal allowed to stay and earn. When I questioned this I was told it was to keep cost down so they could preserve my job...what a load of shit! Cinram sucks …
brother gene

United States

#29 Nov 2, 2009
The City of Huntsville as well as the local media must be getting paid to brush the fact that Cinram employees illegal immigrants under the rug. When they brought in the VISA workers I didn't agree with that, but at least they were here legally. The fact that the Visa workers were there was all over the news, so I contacted all the local news channels, the Huntsville Times, and the local morning radio talk show more than once wanting to know why there wasn't any coverage concerning the illegal latin immigrants, but I never got a reply from any of them. I then emailed then Mayor Spencer and for some odd reason she forwarded my email to the Chief of Police, he basically said he didn't understand why he would want him to address my concerns because it was a policy question for her to answer...that was as far as that went. I have called I.C.E. (Immigration and Customs Enforcement) several times to report the fact that on any given day there are hundreds of illegal at Cinram, but I always hang up after an hour on hold. It's as if no one in a position to do anything about it gives a damn and they won't give a damn until they start applying for their children's jobs. It's a hopeless situation.
tiredofthelies

Somerville, AL

#30 May 29, 2010
I know for a fact that at least 40 illegal Mexicans work at Cinram as I know a large number of them who are part of 4 families who have come here to work... And, I know for a fact that about 40 of them (friends and family) once having all worked there at the same time, or over the past four years worked in groups of five - ten. Also, this statement that Americans with no job skills or education are not willing to work or are expecting an outrageous $20 an hour is a bunch of bull hockey. I know of two Americans (1 male and 1 female) who were merely wanting to keep their $7.50 an hour job back in 2007 only to be let go and be replaced by illegals. And, to top it all off, this has been reported to INS and anyone else who would listen -- but zip zada was ever done and CINRAM up until about 3 weeks ago employed about the last 10 of these individuals in a facility over in Madison. Some even had badges... ha ha, CINRAM they were so proud they wore them everywhere. They showed up one day and were told there was no more work. I KNOW these people. While I feel for these people, I also feel for my American citizen friends who would like these jobs. Of course CINRAM works these Mexicans hard and would be likely charged with some sort of abuse. I don't know this person, but this person is either dreaming or delusional. Want to see illegal immigrants -- just watch the workers arrive, especially for the late shifts... They also have a plan for ICE/INS. Someone will telephone them and let them know and they will scatter quickly. I KNOW because these poor fools have told me.
Paul Brown wrote:
I am so tired of all the miss-information concerning Cinram and it’s employment practices. First let me say that I have been with the company before it was Cinram, some 20 years now. I have seen first hand the people comeing through the door looking for a job. They come in to interview in dirty cloths, sandals, T-shirts, sunglasses and baggy pants. Still they receive an interview, and as long as they can pass a basic skills test, they are asked to return for drug testing. That is where some 10% to 15% don’t return. Those that do come back, I would guess that another 10% to 15% don’t pass the drug test. Now we have lets say 80% left. They are then scheduled for orientation. You guessed it. Another 10% or better never show. Now we are down to 70% of the original group. Then comes the first day of work and we have another 10% to 20% that never show. Now we have somewhere between 50% and 60% of the starter group. Within the first week, we will loose somewhere around 25% of those.
Now lets look at the horrible work conditions. 1.3 million square feet of totally heated and air-conditioned floor space. Workers in the warehouse ride in the latest state of the art picking equipment with ergo seats and safety equipment. Those that work in the pick and pack modules enjoy well lit safe work areas. Out in the sortation areas, again still all air-conditioned and heated, workers enjoy automated sort equipment in a clean environment. In what I would deem the hardest area of the plant to work in, manual packing, we still see a clean, heated and cooled, safe workspace. Yes, you stand at a conveyor placing small items into containers for your 12 hour shift with breaks and lunches. Anyone who has worked in any kind of manufacturing environment, I’m sure will see this as horrendous conditions. Just ask people that have worked in warehouses that are nether heated or cooled. Also truckers that work on open docks both winter and summer. People pouring concrete or paving roads. How about roofers?
Having worked my entire life and only been out of work for a few days at a time when jobs changed. I see a huge number of both young and old that never finished school and took no effort to improve themselves but think they should earn $20 an hour. And that’s if they can pass a drug test and if they decide to come to work today.
Dumped

AOL

#31 Jun 5, 2010
As one of the Security workers that was uncerimoniously dumped in feb of 2010. I know for a fact that approximately 300 illegal workers came into woth that morning and finished their shift. They returned to work the next day while 60 of us were out of work or a few took the lower wage and no benifits offered by Securitas. When someone asked Pete Hassler if we could transfer to other departments like has always been done in the past for downsizing, he relpied" Cinran does not hire former employees".
Some day the immigration Deprtment is going to catch up with them, and wait to see how much support they get from corporate. PAY BACK.
Former-team-lead

Owens Cross Roads, AL

#32 Jun 6, 2010
Another Former Employee wrote:
I know exactly what is wrong at Cinram
First of all the spelling of its name should be amended to reflect the everyday working atmosphere of this company. The spelling should be “Sinram”, because on any given day you can personally witness numerous acts of human degeneracy. People coming from every area of our community have been hired to work in a place where the people who manage the business hire low level supervisors who are for the most part (as I see them) are mostly stab –you-in-the-back to keep their jobs liars, womanizers and racists. They use “Sinram” as their own personal playground. Many of these people in the supervisor level have very little schooling, many having received their positions through their affiliation with G.O.B.Y.U.“That’s Good Old Boy University”. They were fortunate enough to be in the right place and the right time. Some having worked there since they graduated high school. Many are former addicts or felons hiding out at “Sinram” for whatever reasons. And as is the case in any other seedy work environment people likes these supervisors will do whatever it takes to get the “”job done”. No matter who gets hurt or injured, the product must go out and the customers must be satisfied. These people “and I do use the word people lightly” do not give a care for anybody or anything that interferes with “getting the product on the trucks”.
The amount of Nepotism is so high you better watch what you say about someone because you might be talking about a relative. Some supervisors have their whole families working for them. And, if you get into any arguments with one of their family members you are fired soon after.
These supervisors use their influence to solicit special favors from female workers. Promising and delivering special promotions or pay increases.
Cinram is a terrible place to work and advancement for minorities is shameful to say the least. The discrimination is in fact systemic. If you have a college degree don’t apply for work at Cinram, you will be wasting your education. There are some shifts that have no blacks in leadership positions at all. The people who work on C team for example are known as the “Colored team” and the A team is known as the “Arian team”. It is an awful place to work.
There are so many things wrong with Cinram I could write a two thousand word essay on it and still not completely tell the whole story.
I want to ask one final question to our civic leaders in the Huntsville area and that is” Why won’t you investigate this company’s immigration compliance”. Sinram is the Devil’s Bung hole.
I personally agree with the statement by " Another former employee " I personally was a Team Lead at Cinram, I have had an ongoing CONFLICT OF PERSONALITY ISSUE for three long years with my supervisor!!!! You will undoubtedly know me but, due to the current
situation I will leave it at that....TMI is not good! I pray for the plight that my former and current workers at SINRAM are going through ! I have personally teated my team with the utmost respect and treatment....shame on you Cinram !
Former-team-lead

Owens Cross Roads, AL

#33 Jun 6, 2010
Again....folks it's me. Please as a 20 yr resident of Huntsville, I would like to remind you and instill in you the power of the AMERICAN worker ! Remember Dunlop ????? There was a great movie that describes this situation..... GRAPES OF WRATH !!!!!
Former-team-lead

Owens Cross Roads, AL

#34 Jun 7, 2010
Folks.....Again....I have heard confirmation of many,many people at Cinram loosing their jobs. I again, will tell you that I know many of you's.....I pray for you and condemn Cinram for it's unfair, exploitative abuse of it's labor force !
Danny

Trenton, KY

#35 Jun 11, 2010
I am an American I worked at cinram and was hired to do data entry you know computer work. When they ran out of that work they sent me to the lift this pick up that department. I worked in Lavergne Tn. all I can say is you get what you pay for thats why they have so many mexicans. They screwed up stuff all the time and needed someone to translate because they coudnt speek english. And for that one guy there was not no air conditioning in Tn. Cinram ran there company into the ground with there work practice and I hope they go out of business. And for the mexican who thinks Americans are lazy nobody could beat my numbers and I didnt see any mexicans on a computer. Good ridance cinram.
Sad Employee

Spirit Lake, IA

#36 Jun 13, 2010
Supervisors at Cinram are sending full time employees home daily and continuing to run product with illegals and temps. Each day this practice continues, no one wants to help. There are over 600 illegals in the plant every day. When will this practice be stopped by our leaders.
Where is the I.N.S.?
Arizona has the right idea.
cinram educated

Franklin, TN

#37 Jul 7, 2010
I must make a statement as forth to these comments. Sinram is a cespool. I do hope and pray for the good people that work there. You my friends better be finding a job soon. Cinrams days are numbered. The loss of this company wont be too critical to the American workers. Everytime Fox makes a movie, 400 Hispanics come in the door for 2-3 weeks. then the movie is finished and we find a slow moving company where the good hard working men and women go home and never see a full weeks paycheck till the next Fox big production. God bless the blessed and to hell with the rest.
Laid off Worker

Spirit Lake, IA

#38 Jul 10, 2010
There is no doubt in my mind that Cinram Inc. is a transitional criminal Enterprise engaged in economical slavery of its workers. 20th Century Fox, Huntsville Commerce Department,THE DEPARTMENT OF iMMIGRATION AND NATIONLIZATION and the City Council OF Huntsville are all complicit in Cinrams' continued exploitation of its workers. Don't you people get it! It does not matter if the people that are misused are illegal or not, the issue is that all the employees at Cinram, across borders, are being vicimized while local and national officials turn a blind eye. Cinram is a Canadian based company with billions of dollars to invest in the silencing of "innovative"official s.
There is only one group that has the power to put things right at Cinram, and that is the Twentieth Century Fox owner,Ruppard Murdock. Cinram is does all the movies for Fox,Lionsgate and several other movie makers. The only wayto change how Cinram does business is to boycott the corporations that fund it.
Cinram is "Sin-rammed into the hearts of our community"
Commenter

Davenport, IA

#39 Jul 25, 2010
I've had the "pleasure" of "enjoying" the Hellhole....ahem...Cinram experience and a lot of these comments are dead on, especially about the use of "undocumented" labor and how said labor usually makes a muck of things. They're there for the money, not to insure any level of quality. Not that anyone would bust their arse to do such a thing in an environment like Cinram. Forgive me if I sound a bit too "diplomatic", but that's just my usual tone.*shrugs*

Production-oriented work can get hectic, but Cinram's management usually works the living daylights out of their workforce. The undocumented workers seem to be the only ones who have the energy to work the schedule -- an alternating system of two 3-day work weeks and two 4-day work weeks, all 12hrs in most cases. Seems easy until you actually work them and realize you need the off days to recover. I've worked 10hr and 12hr shifts at other places and I've never been as tired as when I've finished a week of Cinram work.

Temp labor makes up the bulk of the workforce. Guess it's much cheaper when you don't have to give them benefits, as done with the full-time staff. You also don't find many people there who actually enjoy their work, unless they happen to be in middle/upper management. A lot of people working there either have few other options to turn to, or they're just "passing through", working the gig while they get better paying work lined up. I wouldn't know much about the undocumented folk -- my Spanish is next to nonexistent -- so I don't know what they get out of it except how it pays a lot better than what they'd get back home and how stable it is compared to other seasonal work. Personality conflicts? I've had very few, largely because I generally kept to myself while working.

$8/hr is not a lot when you have to stand on your feet for three hour intervals, with only a couple of 15 minute breaks and a 30 minute lunch. You've packed lunch, right? Good luck trying to go out for a bite and making back into the plant on time. A lot of people, most who haven't done much blue collar work, love to dismiss how "easy" it is "putting things in plastic packages", but try saying that after doing that for 6 hrs, with another 6 to go. Someone told me they ended up developing feet problems after spending years at Cinram. I can see how and why...

Temps get paid $7.50 when starting out, while the wages for full-time staff are still lower than what you'd normally see elsewhere. Some people say the benefits package makes up for it. Oh yeah, some people told me they're only there for the benefits package, usually covering themselves and their family.

Right now the company's shedding labor and physical assets left and right. The loss of the Warner contract has left literally hundreds without jobs. The Huntsville plant has cut back on days, literally shutting the plant down on some while reworking the night shifts in some departments to 4-day 10-hr schedules. I doubt that plant will shut down completely, seeing as it makes some of the more popular movie titles and the plant was expanded not long ago.

BTW, I did data entry work. You wouldn't expect to see undocumented staff working the terminals, but there they were. And it usually resulted in a lot of errors thanks to the cautionary notes being misread.....or not read at all.
mexican

Huntsville, AL

#40 Jul 25, 2010
I like working for them been there 6 yrs non stop no problems

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