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Lindatemp  
#1 Posted : Friday, December 26, 2008 10:11:36 PM(UTC)

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I need some input on my situation please. I have a manager (actually my supervisor's supervisor - two levels up from me) who has been making some bad judgement errors in various areas. This is really of no consequence to me personally, but does affect my workload to some degree and difficult to observe the unfairness in her decisions. Anyway, we recently had an AFGE union steward assigned to our department which we never had before. Approximately half of the employees in the dept filed complaints through the union against her for different reasons. She is distraught over this, and wants to curtail the union activities in the dept. She is keeping track of who the steward is talking to, and monitoring the activities and communications of the steward, attempting to intimidate her and staff members who are speaking with her.

Keep in mind I am not a union member, and I would likely sympathize with management on many issues, but not all issues. Anyway, she approached me recently after I had a discussion with the union president and steward, and asked me what I and other staff were talking to them about.

I was appalled at her lack of discretion and respect for my privacy. In this situation, I feel she violated something, and I wrote an anonymous statement reporting this to the union steward. She has now been reprimanded for her behavior, as this is apparently a violation of the contract.

Unfortunately, because of the circumstances, she is very much aware that I am the source of this report, even though I submitted it anonymously.

My question is whether I should file a grievance through the union to protect myself from retaliation from her, which I know to be a definite risk. After her reprimand, she approached me and gave me non-verbal gestures which indicated clearly to me that she is going to retaliate.

I am not the type who likes to file complaints and grieveances, but this situation just hit me as very wrong. I feel that her director needed to be aware of her behavior.

Would filing a grievance afford me any more protection against retaliation than if I just did nothing? I feel I may have put myself at great risk for attempting to right a wrong.

Thanks for any input.
Fonz  
#2 Posted : Friday, December 26, 2008 10:26:01 PM(UTC)

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Document everything, then decide what to do.
The HalfBreed  
#3 Posted : Saturday, December 27, 2008 3:10:13 AM(UTC)

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As stated above.....

Document, Document, Document.
Dates/Times/Observations.

Make copies and email to yourself on multiple email servers (Yahoo, Hotmail, etc) so as not to inadvertently "Lose" this info.

Also, check out the Federal Labor Relations Authority website. It's also against FLRA LAW to coerce and intimidate employees whether Union or NON union alike. We also have a section in our contract which specifically forbids a supervisor to "Poll Employees" (ask questions concerning union matters, etc) as the Union is what's referred to as "THE Exclusive Bargaining Unit Representative", and the supervisor is required to deal with the Rep only in most matters. Polling for acts of coercion and intimidation are also not allowed.

This supervisor could get canned quickly, and if your observations are correct, it would be justified. Also, if filing, ask for overt, written apologies to you, and everyone else she intimidated, along with the Union Rep.
As a side note, I would also seek to have this Supervisor be given 'Sensitivity Training' to boot.
RETIRED 12/19/2012 !!! Good Bye Tension !!! Hello Pension !!!
Lindatemp  
#4 Posted : Saturday, December 27, 2008 7:58:34 AM(UTC)

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quote:
Originally posted by The HalfBreed:
As stated above.....

Document, Document, Document.
Dates/Times/Observations.

Make copies and email to yourself on multiple email servers (Yahoo, Hotmail, etc) so as not to inadvertently "Lose" this info.

Also, check out the Federal Labor Relations Authority website. It's also against FLRA LAW to coerce and intimidate employees whether Union or NON union alike. We also have a section in our contract which specifically forbids a supervisor to "Poll Employees" (ask questions concerning union matters, etc) as the Union is what's referred to as "THE Exclusive Bargaining Unit Representative", and the supervisor is required to deal with the Rep only in most matters. Polling for acts of coercion and intimidation are also not allowed.

This supervisor could get canned quickly, and if your observations are correct, it would be justified. Also, if filing, ask for overt, written apologies to you, and everyone else she intimidated, along with the Union Rep.
As a side note, I would also seek to have this Supervisor be given 'Sensitivity Training' to boot.
Lindatemp  
#5 Posted : Saturday, December 27, 2008 8:04:24 AM(UTC)

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Thanks for your advice. Apparently she is begging the union rep to allow her to apologize to me. I am not thrilled with the idea, but she wants "closure".

Would it be better for me to sign the statement, or to file a grievance, or just do nothing more? I want to protect myself from retaliation. I hope to advance in my career, and I fear that filing a grievance could jeopardize my chances of advancing. I am not a union member.

Thanks.
maxketter  
#6 Posted : Saturday, December 27, 2008 11:18:42 AM(UTC)

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Based on your actions it appears that letter writing and grievances are your stock in trade, but always anonymous!! That type of behaviour undermines the unit cohesion and maybe you should apology to your supervisor for such a cowardly act
The HalfBreed  
#7 Posted : Sunday, December 28, 2008 10:27:12 AM(UTC)

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quote:
Originally posted by tolcom23:
Thanks for your advice. Apparently she is begging the union rep to allow her to apologize to me. I am not thrilled with the idea, but she wants "closure".

Would it be better for me to sign the statement, or to file a grievance, or just do nothing more? I want to protect myself from retaliation. I hope to advance in my career, and I fear that filing a grievance could jeopardize my chances of advancing. I am not a union member.

Thanks.


On the other side of the coin, if you feel filing a grievance....something that is paid for by the $$$ of Dues paying members, why would you want to take advantage of it??? If you, like others feel that filing a grievance would hinder your career, don't use for free what others pay for. Do it your own way...and if that Supervisor got you fired, you also may have deserved it. Did ya ever think of it that way?

There are those who would NOT support any unions, usually with the idea that, "What the heck, I get it for free so why pay for it", but are sometimes the first to look at the PAID FOR BY UNION MEMBERS options as a way of protecting their own a$$es.

Do what you feel is right, but, if you DO use Union provisions, bought for and paid for by Dues paying members, it's no different than a leech in a lake. Sucking off the lifeblood of those who actully pay the freight.

Sounds like you're a bit confused. If you're not a Union member, you should not even be looking for help from a Union....Grievance or otherwise.

That's from the "OTHER" side of the coin.
RETIRED 12/19/2012 !!! Good Bye Tension !!! Hello Pension !!!
maxketter  
#8 Posted : Sunday, December 28, 2008 10:47:54 AM(UTC)

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Your fully entitled to use the union for your grievance that's what they are paid for whether you belong or not. Remember the taxpayers pay their wages when they are involved in covered employees issue so don't feel embarrassed by using them its an entitlement
Lindatemp  
#9 Posted : Sunday, December 28, 2008 4:32:26 PM(UTC)

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I wouldn't think of filing a grievance without becoming a member. There is no bloodsucking or confusion here. Thanks so much for that perspective.
Tic3  
#10 Posted : Monday, December 29, 2008 12:20:28 AM(UTC)

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quote:
Originally posted by tolcom23:
he approached me recently after I had a discussion with the union president and steward, and asked me what I and other staff were talking to them about.



quote:
Originally posted by tolcom23:
Apparently she is begging the union rep to allow her to apologize to me. I am not thrilled with the idea, but she wants "closure".


Hmm...I see an opportunity here to improve the work environment for you, for your coworkers, and for management.

I may be missing something here, buy why on earth would you file a grievance against someone for asking what they are doing wrong? She approached you and asked what kind of complaints people had against her.

You had a perfect opportunity here to sit down with the new supervisor and have an open and honest discussion with her about what you and others feel she is (or isn't) doing right and what she can do to correct that.

Instead, you want to file a grievance?

You said, "Approximately half of the employees in the dept filed complaints through the union against her for different reasons." Has anyone in your office tried to sit down and talk with this supervisor instead of filing complaints?

The fact that she wants to know what is going on and that she is willing to apologize for hurting your feelings may be an indication that she is open to discussion.

Why not ask her out for a cup of coffee and have a talk with her and feel her out? It couldn't hurt, and may very well open the doors of communication and improve things for everyone.
The HalfBreed  
#11 Posted : Monday, December 29, 2008 12:31:34 PM(UTC)

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quote:
Originally posted by maxketter:
Your fully entitled to use the union for your grievance that's what they are paid for whether you belong or not. Remember the taxpayers pay their wages when they are involved in covered employees issue so don't feel embarrassed by using them its an entitlement


Again, you show your lack of knowledge on the subject....

We are all paid by Taxpayers, which we ALL are.
However, the extra pay we toss in, to create the Union Contract, the extras, the added incentives are additional to what NON union members pay.
They pay squat, we pay to have the contract negotiated, we pay for the attorneys, we pay for the office space, the heat, light, A/C and everything else that's part and parcel of the Union objectives. NON Union people use that extra money to purchase beer or wine or, like some folks here on this board, "Whine".

Kinda like going out for dinner, and having 10 people there, with 6 paying for the 4 who want to leech on the others. I'm sure YOU would understand that Max.
RETIRED 12/19/2012 !!! Good Bye Tension !!! Hello Pension !!!
maxketter  
#12 Posted : Tuesday, December 30, 2008 7:09:09 AM(UTC)

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Who is paying for the "UNION FOLKS" to do union business away form their job site?? The taxpayers so there isn't any need for someone to belong to the union its a total waste of money. I liken it to all the waste time that goes on "negotiating" the contract that's on the taxpayers dime as well.
I do agree with your dinner analogy but in this case the taxpayers are paying the freight and the CS are tossing in nickels and dimes for their meal
eagle918  
#13 Posted : Tuesday, December 30, 2008 7:56:46 PM(UTC)

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I gotta agree with Max on this one- he is absolutely correct. In the dinner analogy you should also point out that the 4 who didn't pay didn't choose to go out nor did they get to choose the place- they were mandated to go by the other 6.
maxketter  
#14 Posted : Wednesday, December 31, 2008 12:10:46 PM(UTC)

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halfabreed, the taxpayers pay the union stewards when working on union business so if he decides to file a grievance the union needs to snap to attention and do their job. Otherwise they need to take a vote and decertify the union.
The only free lunch i see here is the taxpayers are getting a raw deal no matter which way they turn
The HalfBreed  
#15 Posted : Thursday, January 01, 2009 12:28:29 PM(UTC)

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quote:
Originally posted by eagle918:
I gotta agree with Max on this one- he is absolutely correct. In the dinner analogy you should also point out that the 4 who didn't pay didn't choose to go out nor did they get to choose the place- they were mandated to go by the other 6.


To tell ya the truth, the 4 who didn't pay did not have to go out to dinner. they could have stayed at home.

Sorry, but you're wrong there bud. Just because there is a free meal doesn't mean you are entitled to it.....

Same for your opinion Max.

There are those who feel that, "It's free, so why should I pay". Sad to say that, if it weren't for folks who put the money and time into effect to hire attorneys and bargain for workers rights, they (non Union scabs) would have no recourse but to suffer. Sometimes I feel it would be a great alternative....it would screw (not benefit) 60% of the federal workforce....

get it ????

Probably Not.
RETIRED 12/19/2012 !!! Good Bye Tension !!! Hello Pension !!!
nellie2  
#16 Posted : Friday, January 02, 2009 9:48:42 PM(UTC)

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The bottom line is that federal workplaces are "open shops," meaning that employees identified as occupying positions in bargaining units are covered by the negotiated agreements, whether they pay union dues or not. (My understanding is that, years ago, federal unions traded this for use of official time.) So employees are entitled to union representation regardless of dues-paying status. As a matter of fact, union officials who try to play the "pay or we won't play" stunt can (and should) be reported to the Federal Labor Relations Authority, since this is an unfair labor practice.

Back to the original poster's situation: since your current issues with your supervisor seem to stem from her seeing you speak with a union official, you are already protected from retaliation. In other words, filing a grievance won't earn you any additional advantage. But filing is strictly your call. However, what can it hurt to try to speak with your supervisor? It could greatly improve your working relationship, and might give you an opportunity to help others in your office.

PS Think about joining the union, maybe even try for a union officer's position, while you're at it. It will put you in a great position to help improve working conditions, and you'll actually learn a lot about federal labor law, which could help your career. I've worked with many supervisors and HR professionals who began their rise in the federal service after serving as union officials. True, their former compatriots viewed them as having gone over to the dark side, but their experiences gave them great insight into working relationships, and they were very good at helping both sides resolve issues without having to resort to grievances or arbitration.
Lindatemp  
#17 Posted : Saturday, January 03, 2009 5:50:47 AM(UTC)

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Thank you so much for your advice. Yours is the first response I have gotten that addressed my question. I just wanted to make sure I am protected from retaliation, which I think she is likely to attempt. I actually joined the union last week. I am glad that I did turn in my statement to the union and she was reprimanded. It created a very different environment in the department, and the staff now is no longer afraid to speak to the union. She has stopped surveilling the union steward and the staff for union activity. She has stated her wishes strongly to apologize to me, however her motivation for doing this is questionable. It may be in order to keep me from filing a grievance. But nevertheless, I will probably agree to this but under certain conditions. I want to make sure that it is done in a way that assures she will not interfere again. I think she lacks the discretion needed for her position, and she has exhibited this in many ways prior to this incident. I probably will not file a grievance, I am not trying to create more of this than is necessary.

As I said, I often symphatize with management in many situations, specifically when the union attempts to protect employees that simply don't want to work, or attempting to "game the system". However, I also understand that the union helps to assure that we have fair wages and benefits, and good working conditions. It is easy to feel disdain for defense attorneys, too. But it is because they are willing to defend the folks who are guilty that assures that we all have the right to fair representation.

Thanks for your perspective and fair judgement of my situation.
The HalfBreed  
#18 Posted : Saturday, January 03, 2009 10:55:52 AM(UTC)

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quote:
Originally posted by nellie2:
The bottom line is that federal workplaces are "open shops," meaning that employees identified as occupying positions in bargaining units are covered by the negotiated agreements, whether they pay union dues or not. (My understanding is that, years ago, federal unions traded this for use of official time.) So employees are entitled to union representation regardless of dues-paying status. As a matter of fact, union officials who try to play the "pay or we won't play" stunt can (and should) be reported to the Federal Labor Relations Authority, since this is an unfair labor practice.





Your point is correct. One thing you (and many other NON members) fail to understand is what's referred to as "Professional Courtesy".

While anyone in the unit who is represented can and will take advantage of Union provided contracts, it's not the duty of the Union Rep to actually WRITE or FILE the grievance on behalf of a NON member. It's perfectly legal to give the SCAB a copy of the grievance form (which should be provided by management) and shown a copy of the Collective Bargaining Agreement. That NON member can then use the resources at hand (contract provided by management also) to file their own grievance and hopefully not do a hatchet job on it, which would normally result in a denial of the grievance. It's not my job to "Write" the grievance for them.....

However, I will take my time to write it for a DUES paying member, thereby increasing the odds of winning.

THAT is perfectly legal.

A grievance does NOT have to be filed by the Union, only by the "Offended/Aggrieved party".

Like I said, you get what you PAY for. I do not have to do your paperwork for you. End of Story.

Understand ???
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eagle918  
#19 Posted : Sunday, January 04, 2009 10:13:59 PM(UTC)

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Half Breed- I get it and I understand perfectly. You are a bitter unionista who doesn't like the way the Federal labor laws are written. Too bad- get it?
The HalfBreed  
#20 Posted : Sunday, January 04, 2009 10:31:12 PM(UTC)

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quote:
Originally posted by eagle918:
Half Breed- I get it and I understand perfectly. You are a bitter unionista who doesn't like the way the Federal labor laws are written. Too bad- get it?


Not bitter..... LOL.

Just stating the facts. Our office is over 87% Union. The small (NON Union) minority are the bitter ones.
We make their choices for them, including their work schedule. That part and parcel of being the "Exclusive Representative" of those workers. Wink
They have no say in the work environment as far as Union matters go. Management cannot deal or bargain with them, as that would be known as "Bypassing the Union".
It works well for us. Big Grin

[This message was edited by The HalfBreed on January 05, 2009 at 05:03 PM.]

[This message was edited by The HalfBreed on January 05, 2009 at 05:04 PM.]
RETIRED 12/19/2012 !!! Good Bye Tension !!! Hello Pension !!!
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