December 26, 2007

Employee Relations Done Right

Well, we're in Bartlesville for the holidays. Lincoln and I worked out at the Y this morning, then ventured into the gym and started playing tip-H-O-R-S-E, which essentially morphed into a dunk contest, which I'm almost certain is a bad idea, but what the heck. (No, it wasn't necessarily a 10-foot goal, but you're free to think otherwise if you like.) Then it was off to Christmas lunch with my family, then opening presents with Susie's family.

Speaking of Bartlesville, an old scrapbook here has yielded a fascinating (and somewhat moving) letter written 54 years ago today. Addressed to my great-grandfather, Don Tyler, it's written by one of his longtime employees at the Dewey Portland Cement Company.
December 26, 1953

Mr. Tyler,

During this Holiday Season, and also since I am approaching my twenty-fifth anniversary date (Jan. 21st) of employment with the Dewey Portland Cement Company, the thought has come to me that I should again express my appreciation to you for every consideration and extend to you best wishes for a happy and prosperous new year.

I don’t want you to feel that all you have done for me has been taken for granted or that it has been forgotten.

In the first place, I came to work for the Dewey Portland Cement Co. as the result of an inquiry you made of my friend, Tiffin Riney, who at that time was employed by the Union National Bank in Bartlesville. He told me about the vacancy and I was, of course, accepted for the job. Then down through the years I have never been sorry or disappointed. No doubt it has been due to the wonderful way you have treated me.

You were always doing nice things. You brought me an Indian blanket, which I still possess, from Mexico; gave me money at Christmas time; and when Ruby and I were married May 18, 1934 you let us live in a company house (the one where Con. Davis now lives) for a year without the payment of rent. You said it was a wedding present. At the end of our first year of married life you said we should buy a home. We didn’t have any money but you arranged that for us. We bought Bland’s home on North Choctaw for $1,000; you furnished all the money and I signed a note. Each time I made a payment on the note you gave me credit for an additional like amount. This, of course, made the home only cost us $500. You have loaned me money for various purposes down through the years to be paid back as I so desired and also contributed to the church of which I have been a member. You gave me an opportunity to accept the job I now have here at the plant. I have been able so far to feed, clothe, and educate the children; and now have a nice home, an automobile and everything, apparently, to make life worthwhile and enjoyable. During the twenty-five years I have only been off work two weeks for which I did not receive pay.

I’m glad and thankful that I’m a Christian and that I have employment with the Dewey Portland Cement Co.

May the Lord continue His blessings upon you.