What a horror story. Are all your shifts like that, if they were I'd generally fear for your co-workers. :)
Speaking of the fryers, I used to work chicken in addition to frys and the like and I generally closed as well. Pulled quite a few shifts very lonely on a saturday night because of massive amounts of sickness. ;)
Well anyway, our fryer needed to be replace. It was quite old, and instead of the nice wheeled contraption that the chicken fryer had to catch the grease... we used an old metal pot. Problem was that this fryer you had to screw on these metal spout things to the fryer to get it to pour... but you had to do it while the fryer was still atleast warm... otherwise the grease would congeal and you'd never get it clean. So anyway, you'd get these dual streams of hot grease coming at you into this large pot, and management pressuring your to hurry up so everyone could go home.
The pot in question was very large. If you filled it more than half way full (and the fry vat ofcoursed contained more than one pot full) you wouldn't be able to lift it, with a little help... you might be able to do it safely. But usually it was just you. You'd want to try and shift the weight closer to your chest to manage it because it was a bit awkward in shape... even more so with alot of grease. Problem is, hot grease has this tendency to some how manager to splash all around. So people got burned alot. We used to have some safety equipment but alot of it was broken... there was this cool apron and faceshield for example... the straps on the shield were broken... and the apron didn't cover your arms.
On another note, management used to have us dump grease down the water drainge hole in the store's floor. This stopped when they began to realize that grease would congeal in the pipes and back up onto the floor. We used alot of salt to help pick up the grease and tried pour lots of boiling water down the pipes to help unstick them. I don't know how many times I had to clean that mess up before they changed the policy and began to dump it the metal trash bin out back. This wasn't the most sanitary or safest thing to be doing with a large amount of grease but months later they eventually got something special to put in back there that would be picked up.
Anyway, is it only Hardee's that had this kind of problem with grease?
Generally speaking, I don't hold management in near the regard you do TD. Usually I respect expierence more than position. Sometime they go hand in hand, other times not. Management have three jobs, one is to help coordinate employees and work so that everything get done, another is to be responsible for the actions of others... which usually is transferred back to those same others quickly, and finally to squeeze as much profit as possible for the boss... whether that means working longer hours themselves, cutting back on waste, making things more efficient, or exploiting their subordinates.
I think managers would be better at coordinating workers and work, along with reducing waste and making production more efficent if they were accountable to workers instead of the owners. Ofcourse, I want workers and owners to be on in the say and as an anarchist I am really reluctant for anyone to be in a position of power over others if they aren't recallable by those they get to order about. Managers are looking out for their own interests first, the owners interests second (their jobs depend on it!), their customers next, and their fellow workers last.
This being said, all managers aren't jerks. Quite a few of them can be quite open to say... organizing a union. Lots of them are great to hang out with as friends. But I think the relationship of Boss to Worker is one that causes alot of stress that doesn't need to be there. The best managers are the ones that treat their subordinates as well as they can, and enable(empower) their fellow workers to do their job; ocassionally imparting their own expierence over the years to greener employees. I know I always respected managers who'd get off their asses and help run the counter or the kitchen during a rush more than the ones who'd sit there and watch us get overwhelmed.
One thing about the IWW which is pretty similar to most unions is that management aren't allowed to be members. But there are managers and then there are managers. Usually an employees status is set by the company or the labor board (alot of computer programmers are designated as management even though the manager noone). The IWW says its based on whether you have the power to hire and fire.
But even those who can hire and fire still might want to help. For that (or any non-union members) there is always the General Defense Committee(GDC). The IWW however, allows members of a collective (where hiring and firing is a matter of vote by the membership) to be full union members. What does everyone, particularly the managers on this forum... think about the Wobbly principles on management?