After the alcoholic electrician incident, a foreman and I were talking. He was a pretty good guy and interested in doing his job. He knew there were alcoholics in the plant and drug addicts. Nothing could be done about them because of management and the union.
Early one morning as he drove to work he watched an employee on shift that day stop at one of the bars. He clocked in and waited.
That particular man was late to work because of his stop at the bar. Consequently, the foreman fired him. He was not only late but on his way to inebriation. Both are against company rules and the foreman was within his full rights and job responsibilities to fire the man.
The man was below average in performance due to his problems. He finally crossed a line clearly enough to fire without much documentation.
It takes a lot of documentation, meticulous documentation, to legitimately fire a union worker. I had been trained on that issue with the directive to not worry about it because it's too expensive to fight and you'll never get all the documentation anyway. The union will win.
The plant manager called the foreman and told him to call the man and rehire him. The foreman was disgusted and humiliated but he did it. He lost quite a bit of respect for the plant manager that day.
Due to that, the hourly workers could and did run roughshod over the place in many instances. They knew they could get away with a lot and never face any punishment.
What the plant manager failed to understand is that his actions completely undermined his foremen's authority. Therefore, they were apathetic about confronting poor behaviors of any kind within the hourly ranks. In this foreman's words, "All they have to do is call the plant manager and complain and you're the one in the wrong even when you're right."
I have spent years in the bowels of manufacturing plants helping to bring numerous products to market that touch virtually every aspect of life.
|Pamela Quillin, P.E.