Don’t be Stupid

Speaking of scabs….it wasn’t long after the strike in ’97 that I was called in to steward for one of our scabs.  It seems he had gotten a little too friendly at one of his stops.
Many UPS drivers feel that they have a special relationship with some of their customers. Especially women customers. This guy had gone into one such stop and was chatting it up with the girl behind the desk. The wind was blowing like hell outside and soon the talk turned to the weather. The driver felt he could say almost anything to this lady and when he said “Did you order up this wind so you won’t have to blow your boyfriend tonight?”, she seemed to take in stride.
He was feeling pretty good about himself until the complaint came in and they called him into the office. That’s when I got involved. You know when you go in the office and the division manager is there that this is going to be a serious meeting. UPS always starts out with “Did anything happen yesterday that you want to tell us about?” I stopped the meeting right there and took the driver outside. I asked him the same question and he had no idea what the problem was. So we went back inside.
I told the manager that we weren’t going on his fishing trip and unless he had something substantial, we were done. That’s when he read the complaint. It seems the secretary had told her boyfriend about how clever the UPS guy was and the boyfriend called in the complaint. When UPS interviewed the lady, she claimed she was offended by the driver’s intimate comments and relelated several more incidents of raunchy statements the driver had made over the past several months.
The driver’s only defense seemed to be that he thought they were friends. That wasn’t enough to save his job. We took the termination to panels but when UPS read all the cute statements the driver had made to this lady, I gotta say it was down right embarrassing. That’s got to be one of the hardest parts of stewarding, trying to save a guy’s job when he’s done something really, really stupid.
You can’t always save people from themselves.