Friday, August 5, 2016

The Ten Worst Places to Work in Northeast PA

Northeast PA is rated one of the worst places to live in the nation, and our previous two posts have documented some of the reasons for this. If NEPA is one of the worst places to live, it must also be one of the worst places to work. Therefore, NEPA's worst employers must be the worst of the worst. Here, we examine Glassdoor, Indeed, and Google Reviews as we plunge into the depths of the NEPA employment world.

10. Telerx "Bleak Obscurity"
Glassdoor Rating 2.6
Reviews: 194
Hanover Twp, PA

Complaints of favoritism, micromanagement, no room for advancement, and the company not valuing employees abound in Glassdoor comments concerning the Hanover Twp and Pittston locations.

9. Highmark Blue Cross "Misery Spreading like Cancer"
Glassdoor Rating 2.3
Reviews: 328
Wilkes-Barre, PA

Blue Cross in Wilkes-Barre was reportedly a nice place to work until Highmark took over and started making life hell employees. Discontentment with Highmark is not unique to workers in the Wilkes-Barre office. Highmark, which has offices nationwide, has an abysmally low Glassdoor rating (2.3) for such a large company (10,000+ employees). None of the top ten worst places to work nationwide have as low rating according to the Huffington Post. In short, Highmark has collected a lot of human misery into one organized unit and extended some of it to Wilkes-Barre.

8. Regional Hospital of Scranton "Houseful of Neglect"
Glassdoor Rating 2.1
Reviews: 5
Scranton, PA

Employees and patients allege it is understaffed. Employees also claim management is incompetent. (Only five reviews appear on Glassdoor which by itself seems insufficient to draw conclusions from, but because 35 reviewers on Google gave the hospital an identical rating of 2.1 out of 5, we concluded that there must be some serious problems with this place.)

7. Paper Magic Group "Going in a Downward Spiral"
Glassdoor Rating 2.0
Reviews: 22
Moosic, PA

Complaints of nepotism, management not valuing employees, bad supervisors, and a general sense of decline can be found on the Glassdoor page along with a rating of 2.0 which is low for a company of this size.

6. Romark Logistics "No Hablo Ingles"
Glassdoor Rating 1.9
Reviews: 8
Hazleton, PA

Complaints of low pay, bad management, and a dearth of English-speakers are to be found on its Glassdoor profile.

5. Kane is Able "Dead End Jobs"
Glassdoor Rating: 1.8
Reviews: 12
Taylor, PA

The name is a play on words which refers to the Bible story of Cain and Able, who are the two sons of Adam and Eve. The story goes that Able, a shepherd, sacrifices his best lamb to God while his brother Cain just throws in some crops. God likes Able's sacrifice better, leading Cain to envy Able so much that he kills him and thus commits the first act of murder. This seems to be a fitting reference because according to reviewers on Glass Door, Kane Is Able offers a lot of dead-end jobs:
"They always find a way to give u no room to advance" (October 2015) and "They don't promote from within" (November 2014) and "[they don't give opportunities to] seasoned employees" (January 2016).
Unlike Highmark, which is based elsewhere but extends its misery to NEPA, Kane is Able is based in NEPA but extends its misery throughout the country, much like the next company on our list. 

4. McCarthy Tire and Auto "All in the Family"
Rating 1.7
Reviews: 9
Wilkes Barre, PA

Friends tell us McCarthy Tire gives deals to insiders and price gouges people who are not in their clique. One Yelp review confirms some of this:
We gave these guys a fair shake by taking our small fleet of vehicles (8) here for almost a year. Several times we had to talk to the manager because of blatant price gouging on the bills for our basic maintenance and today we just received the last one we will ever get from them. We dropped a truck off to get a wheel baring replaced and the inspection done about 3 weeks ago. It took them about 10 days to get it done, which in itself is unacceptable, and now today we received a bill for $3,900. These guys are a complete rip off and I would never recommend them. If I could give them negative stars I would.
According to reviews on Glassdoor McCarthy Tire also treats its employees badly. In typical NEPA fashion, top positions are reportedly filled by incompetent family members who rule over minimum wage peons and abused middle managers:
It is a family business and they keep it that way. Family is loyal but not always in touch with what is actually going on. Communication and attitude are terrible among employees.... Bosses will keep piling on work and treat you like you aren't a human being. Management gives the impression that they actually care and work hard, but it is far from the truth. One minute they will tell you about all the things you are doing wrong, and then the next minute they head to the golf course or go on vacation. They have unrealistic expectations and truly believe everyone under them is replaceable...The pay leaves a lot to be desired: it's as if they think they are still operating in the 1970's... HR is pretty much worthless as they are nothing but liars. (Taken from Glassdoor entries ranging from November 2014 to May 2016).
3. Outsourcing USA "Under a Microscope"
Glassdoor Rating 1.4
Reviews: 16
Dallas, PA

The Times Leader, which also has a low Glassdoor rating, did a puff piece on USA Outsourcing, interviewing CEO Lynn Banta who cited having a law degree from the Delaware Law school, the old name for Widener, which is currently ranked 153 out of 205 accredited law schools in the nation.

Multiple Glassdoor entries claim this allegedly family-run business has low pay, no opportunity for advancement, mandatory overtime, high turnover rates, incompetent managers, and, as one former employee relates, extreme micro-management:
Logging every second of your day was the worst. In most places it's pretty standard to clock in and out for lunches and to tell supervisors when you'd like to take a 15 min break, etc. However here, every minute of your day was tracked. Went to the bathroom for 7 minutes, better be logged as 7 minutes. Had to talk to a supplier for 3 minutes about an ad? Log that 3 minutes. Imagine cataloging every minute of your day for 8+ hours.
2. Jack Williams Tire and Auto "Good Old Fashioned Slavery"
Glassdoor Rating: 1.4
Reviews: 10
Avoca, PA

Complaints of poor communication, lack of planning, low employee morale, high turnover "with most warehouse employees leaving in the first 90 days", micromanagement, having to use "1982 DOS" computer software, charging workers "for everything", poor benefits, no room for advancement, no raises, mandatory overtime, and no set schedule can be found on Glassdoor comments ranging from November 2015 to June 2016.

1. Mid-Atlantic Youth Services "Reign of terror"
Glassdoor Rating 1.3
Reviews: 9
Pittston Township, PA

This for-profit juvenile detention center has an incredibly low average Glassdoor rating. A reign of terror allegedly prevails in the Pittston location that consists of favoritism, mandatory overtime, high turnover, and back-stabbing:
You constantly need to watch everything you say and do because people get fired left and right. You can't trust most of your fellow staff to back you up regarding anything unless you're the "clique" type and all of you regularly hang out outside of work. The rumor mill is awful. The place is a revolving door of staff. Pay is not worth the risk of what can happen to you in this type of place [because many youths are dangerous]. Upper management treats supervisors like kids. Staff are always told to give their opinions about helpful changes but are punished for giving them. You WILL be mandated to stay past your scheduled shift. Staff constantly call off. Staff are not cared about whatsoever unless they have been deemed a favorite. Sups talk crap about staff in front of other staff. No opportunity for advancement. Employee morale is always terrible. You are expected to have no life outside the place. You may need to work doubles on holidays. Backstabbing co-workers are common. And if you try to be fair to the Christian kids, the Muslim kids will get offended and try to get you fired. (Glassdoor Comments range from May 2014 to March 2015.) also has some additional horror stories concerning Mid Atlantic Youth.

There is no doubt that many small NEPA busineses are just as bad or worse than the ones presented here, but they fly under the radar because they are small enough that they do not generate enough former employees to substantiate a large number of Glassdoor reviews. For example, TABcom in Hazle Township and LT Verastro in Scranton have low Glassdoor ratings of 1.8 and 2.1 respectively, but each has only five reviews, which do not constitute a high enough number from which to predict that additional reviews would make for a similarly low rating. It could be that those companies were unlucky enough to suffer only bad reviews from disgruntled employees and no good reviews from satisfied ones even though theoretically there may be many satisfied employees. However, once a company starts to receive 9 or 10 reviews and they're all low, something must be amiss. Admittedly, some companies in this list have only a four or five reviews from local locations but corresponding low ratings from other areas solidify the notion that the company has systemic problems wherever it goes. If any of these companies have had serious restructuring since 2015 then we apologize for any reviews made based on past circumstances.