A Mangled Tale

An original by Bob Levi.

A laundry worker operated what is called a mangle iron to press flatwork –tablecloths, draperies, sheets and pillowcases. The work was exceedingly difficult and hot so the mangle operator became disgruntled with the working conditions. She tried to get her union to have the laundry management improve conditions and give her more money, but to no avail. So she left her job one day in a fit of pique without even bothering to turn off the mangle. Just another example of striking while the iron is hot.

Subsequently, the union had resolved the unfavorable working conditions and unfair salaries, so the mangle operator returned to work. However, she found that the laundry management had reduced the electric power coming into the plant to save money. This created a situation where the mangle would not heat up adequately to get to a high enough temperature to allow for properly pressing the flatwork. After pleading with her management to either adjust the electricity or get a new mangle that would operate under lower electric loads, she finally was fed up and just walked off the job. It was a case of striking while the iron is not.

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