The following are some of the more frequently asked questions of the stewards with some general recommendations how to deal with the situation. As always consult your steward before taking any action to be sure of your rights.
These are simple answers to some complicated questions. Your union is in place to help you be treated fairly and to see to it that you are provided with a decent, safe, workplace. Educate yourself to your rights, and you will have a good career with the company. *
- Can the company discipline me without a steward present, if no steward is available? The answer is a flat no. The company must provide a steward in any discussion with a union member if the possibility of discipline even remotely exists. Even if timeliness is an issue, the company cannot bring discipline without the presence of a steward.
- What does automatic protest mean on warning letters? Automatic protest means that the union and the company have agreed to place the warning letter under protest, and unless the issue comes up again, the letter will be withdrawn in 90 days, (unless some other time frame is agreed to). If the same issue comes up again, the union and the company have agreed to hear the warning letter issue before any more severe discipline can be implemented. I have expressed my displeasure with Automatic Protest in the past, but that is the system we live under today.
- What is the attendance policy for the company? My assumption is that the policy is consistent throughout the company, but here in the Rocky Mountain area you are allowed three attendance discrepancies in a running thirteen week period before you can be issued any discipline. The company must review each and every discrepancy in a timely manner with the steward present.
- Does the company have the right to dictate my appearance? The appearance issue has come up many times over the years. The company has the right to set appearance standards, and you have an obligation to abide by them. The only exceptions are if you are being singled out for a different standard than the other drivers, or the standard is discriminatory.
- Is it ever O.K. for Supervisors to do Union Work? Basically the answer is no. The only real situation is when management exhausts all possible hourly means to make service then the Supervisors can do the work. The problem arises when they get lazy and just resort to the Sups. as the first remedy. My recommendation is if you see them work, file, then sort it out later.
- Is it true I can be paid Double Time for excessive 9.5 hour days? Being paid Double Time for excessive 9.5 hour days is true, sort of. You must inform the company of your desire to have your hours reduced, and give them the opportunity to correct the problem. If they don’t, you file under Article 12 Section 1. The first grievance will be resolved as “the company agrees to abide by Article 12 Section 1”. If you continue to be dispatched with excessive OT you will file again, and usually after the grievance goes through the entire process, you may be awarded double time.
- I don’t like something the Union is doing, how do I make a change? Well most of you would first seek out the steward. If the steward does not satisfy you, don’t be afraid to go straight to the Business Agent at your Local union. If you still feel the need to go up the ladder, contact the Principle officer for your Local Union. Usually you will get results somewhere along this line. You still can go straight to the International Union, but that process is an article all of it’s own.
- I am being singled out for more severe discipline/harassment than the drivers around me. What do I do? Of course your first line of defense is your steward. Do not let management badger you without your steward present. Be very clear you want representation. That in itself is your most powerful tool, as the company will be much more careful what they say to you with the steward present. When all else fails resort to the grievance procedure.
- I have a good reason to be off work, but my manager is telling me no. What do I do? If you have a legitimate reason you need to be gone, and you’ve informed the company, and they are telling you no, then you need to take your lumps under the attendance policy above. If it’s a legitimate reason, (illness, doctor, dentist, family issue) simply call an hour or more before your start time. Of course you must fall within the 3 in a 13 week discrepancy or you may still be subject to discipline. It’s simple. The company needs you at work everyday. Try to be there, but in all of our lives things come up. You need to take care of things outside of the company as well.
- My steward is not taking care of my issues. What do I do? My first question to you is “are you simply expecting the steward to know you are having an issue, or have you taken the time to seek them out and let them know of your problem.” The steward can’t possibly know every driver’s problems in a big center. You must seek them out and verbalize your troubles to them. You can always go up the ladder to the business agent, but my bet is that if you simply communicate with the steward you will get results