Supervisor working grievances are filed under two articles of our contract; Article 3, section 7 of the National Master Agreement and Article 1, section 2 of the Central States Supplement. Both state that the job of the supervisor is to supervise, not to do the work of the person he supervises. The person who files the grievance gets paid for the hours worked by the supervisor. It’s easy to win a supervisor working grievance.
You need 5 things. Who, what, when, where and why. Be ready to take notes when you see a supervisor working.
First, find out Who. When you see a supervisor working, you have the right to walk up to them and ask them who they are. They should be wearing a name tag. You do not have the right to inhibit the flow of packages in any part of the operation at any time. Be careful not to interfere, but go ahead and get their name. Tell them that they need to stop doing the work of the hourly employees.
Make note what the supervisor is doing. Is he advancing the progress of the packages? They have the right to pull packages out of the system and audit them at any time, but should return the packages to the same location they pulled them from. They have broad powers when it comes to training and can help an employee being trained in an effort to keep the trainee on schedule. Examples of the work they should not be doing includes driving tugs with packages on them, sending home hourly workers and wrapping up themselves, delivering stops to ‘help’ a driver and shuttling out packages to drivers.
Put down in your notes when the violation occurred. Note the day and time. Record how long you observed the work being done.
Be specific on where the supervisor was working. Was he pulling from a box? Which box and which boxline? What center was he in when you observed him driving a tug and dropping off packages? All of this information will be important to your winning the grievance.
Why? This is often the most important step. Most grievances are won or lost on the question of why. This is where you get your steward involved. Your steward will take the who, what, when and where and go find out the why. The company feels it has a responsibility to its customers to make service at any cost and uses this to justify supervisors working. When the Teamsters don’t show up for work and that shift is understaffed because of it, supervisors will be working and that’s a hard grievance to win. Let your steward find out why the supervisors were working. He can request staffing records and time cards. The investigation into why is the job of the steward.
It’s not hard to win a supervisor working grievance if you keep good notes. Often, supervisors don’t want to be working and (while they may be afraid to say it) will welcome a grievance to hi-lite their own concerns. Feel free to accommodate them. Contract enforcement is everyone’s responsibility.