A brand new annoying Burgher

The Great Destroyer Storm of Doom and Fury and Armageddon and Milk Shortage has really brought out the old “I don’t know you, but I’ll do anything I can for you” attitude that makes Burghers awesome.  I know you’ve seen it, too.  Shovel-wielding Burghers pitching in to do what needs to be done so that everyday life can go on.


Pittsburgh Parking Authority meter readers who were told to shovel snow around public garages weren’t happy about that, either.

“They are doing jobs that are to be done by facility operators from the Teamsters union,” said Shawn Beck, union steward for the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees Local 2719.

“They’re not getting the training that they need to be shown how to properly shovel snow. … They’re not getting trained in how to lift 50-pound bags of salt.

They weren’t trained in how to properly shovel snow?!  Oh, the HUMANITY!  This is like throwing a firefighter into the OR and saying, “Hey, remove that guy’s tumor and then when you’re done, I’ve got a double transplant you can get started on,” without giving him any training.

Shoveling is hard enough if you don’t know the proper way to do it.  Without training, you might shovel the snow in front of you only to throw it directly behind you, or even worse, you might flip it straight up in the air, showering yourself in cold, deadly snow.  When my husband first moved here from Cancun, he had never seen, let alone shoveled snow and that’s why I explained to him that he can’t just expect to pick up a shovel and start moving snow out of the way to form a path. It doesn’t work that way.  It’s not that easy. YOU NEED TRAINING, I shouted.

And seriously, without the proper training, I can guarantee that we are going to see a huge number of meter readers being rushed to the emergency room with dislocated jaws because they tried to lift 50-pound bags of salt with their teeth instead of their arms.

“One’s already down … with an injury,” he said, “and I’ve got more wounded people coming in.”

If you feel that you cannot shovel snow or lift a bag of salt without being trained to do it, I am going to assume that you are one of the following:

1.  Stupid.

2.  A dolphin.

3.  Two.

4.  All of the above.

Shawn Beck is the next annoying Burgher for being so over the top hyperbolic.  Your crown is in the mail and by crown I mean your very own copy of “Basic Life Skills for Dummies.”

I highly recommend Chapter 6: “Mastering the light switch:  No training necessary!”

(h/t Jess.  Also, Chad Hermann has a great take on this)


  1. Political Party Pooper
    February 10, 2010 8:29 am


    Easy does it there, big fella. SATIRE…remember?

    Besides, no one wants to debate me, namely because I’m always right. And if that doesn’t work, why, there’s always name-calling to resort to.

  2. bucdaddy
    February 10, 2010 8:53 am

    A HALF INCH? That’s all we got here? No 6-10? No 3-6?

    Julie Bologna you LY. ING. BITCH! We are soooo over.

  3. Bojack
    February 10, 2010 9:11 am


    I’m always right too!! So there!!!

    When, and if I’m ever wrong, I’ll admit it!! :-)

    I STILL want a UFC cage match w/ Palin vs Pelosi in the worst way!!

  4. In the REAL PA snowbelt
    February 10, 2010 9:21 am

    With all due respect to the teamsters, but honestly…how can you ignore the emergency factor? And isn’t one definition of team: marked by devotion to teamwork rather than individual achievement?

    Two people shovelling together = less work/injury for all.

    Makes sense to me.

  5. Cybil
    February 10, 2010 10:20 am

    How many Teamsters does it take to shovel the sidewalk??? Let’s find out…
    1- An electrician in case the shovel needs hot-wired for any reason
    2 – a millwright in case the mechanics of the shovel malfunction
    3 – a laborer to actually do the shoveling

  6. Jim
    February 10, 2010 10:49 am

    Methinks Kelly is either Shawn Beck’s wife, daughter, mother, or a pseudonym for Beck himself.

  7. eileen
    February 10, 2010 11:09 am

    “If you feel that you cannot shovel snow or lift a bag of salt without being trained to do it, I am going to assume that you are one of the following:”


    That’s the problem. City workers are actually being required to work.

    Haven’t seen a snow plow or salt truck in Shadyside yet. Even on main streets. My friend lives in Greenfield. Salt truck came down her already plowed street THREE times diring the night.
    I thought it was such a coincidence when she told me that so many Greenfield residence work for the Dept of Public Works.

    If my boss tells me to grab a shovel, I’m grabbing a shovel. Period.

  8. CC
    February 10, 2010 11:49 am

    Well, Eileen, you have just failed the civil service exam. Do not bother applying for any city jobs.

  9. eileen
    February 10, 2010 12:13 pm


    Wasn’t really planning on it, but if I was, I’ve lived in Pittsburgh long enough to know a few typo’s won’t hurt my employment chances if I know the right people.
    Don’t I get 30 points for my name?

  10. Lori
    February 10, 2010 12:15 pm

    The “it’s not my job” union mentality makes me want to lose my mind. Mr. Beck defends his peeps from the unreasonable city request to shovel “without proper training,” next we’ll hear about him filing grievances because they are sitting at home and not getting the paychecks they deserve. I wish I had the ability to look at my boss and tell him that I refuse to do anything different or outside my defined job description. Better yet, anything I’m not “trained” to do. Surely some of those folks would be more than willing to do the manual labor in exchange for a full paycheck and the ability to save the sick/vacation days. It’s the ridiculous system that prevents them from doing so.

  11. Erin
    February 10, 2010 12:49 pm

    I am very pro-union with regard to the reason they were first formed. I can’t stand what they’ve morphed into now. this is a perfect exanple.

  12. northside15212
    February 10, 2010 1:00 pm

    All kidding aside, I think this video shows how inherently dangerous shoveling snow can be without proper training from the Federation of Applied Removal Teamsters:


  13. Anon.
    February 10, 2010 1:44 pm

    Ok, so i can’t post my name or link like i would like to. Anyway, I work in a union. If going and doing something that wasn’t my job, meant helping my town that was in a state of emergency i’d do it. They do this because the person whos job that really is can file a grievance and get a settlement from said company. Anyhow. Its a shame when the companies you work for insist you risk your life to get to work, even come pick you up so you can get there, then leave you stranded for a way back to your home and family. Or you risk you life to get to work, only for them to keep you there 4 hours and send you home. There is a state of emergency and we are told ahead of the winter weather that when there is this declaration that we are able to stay home and still be paid, yet we are made to feel guilty and still risk coming to work. So there are people who have it alot worse. Like the man i know that died of a heart attack on his way to work. 50 feet or less from the entrance to place. Bet his wife wishes he’d have just not given in and called off today.

  14. Scott
    February 10, 2010 1:53 pm


    You are ridiculous.

    Bojack, bro I know you’re trying to be funny, but dude, you’re kind of an ass clown. Chill it out a little.

  15. northside15212
    February 10, 2010 1:57 pm


    The gulf between the author of sarcastic wit and the individual who doesn’t get it.

  16. Cassie
    February 10, 2010 2:10 pm

    Ass clown. Love it.

  17. dave
    February 10, 2010 2:36 pm

    I’m going to remember the “proper training” angle when I get my next parking ticket. “OH DEAR IT SEEMS I HAVEN’T RECEIVED PROPER TRAINING TO INSERT QUARTERS INTO YOUR PARKING METER DEVICE”

  18. CrashJK
    February 10, 2010 3:01 pm

    Not just an example of “what’s wrong with Unions today”…we need to take a stand and simply ELIMINATE Unions and the related Prevailing Wage requirements. From parking meter unions, to iron workers to the worst of all…The Teacher’s Union and their “business managers”…gone, tear up the contracts and hire and pay based on individual merit…suck it unions…Long Live Reagan !

    Ok…I’m done….oh and

    Go Pens ! Charlie says “Do IT !”

  19. Mama Moose
    February 10, 2010 9:12 pm

    My 2 year old figured out how to shovel snow in about 30 seconds. So cross that one off the list!

  20. OutOfCounty
    February 10, 2010 10:37 pm

    Poor Kelly. She probably can’t figure out how to use a shovel or spread salt either.

  21. Erica
    February 11, 2010 11:38 am

    My co-worker just came by to ask me why I was laughing so hard…

  22. Parker
    February 11, 2010 2:47 pm

    How did you ever guess that I AM a stupid two year old dolphin?

  23. toni
    February 11, 2010 4:46 pm

    As soon as I read the article on the 9th I sent it to my boss…I couldn’t believe that comment when I read it either.

    I wonder how many American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees Local 2719 it takes to screw in a lightbulb…..of course I mean only AFTER they’ve had the appropriate training….

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