The First rule of UnionSpeak is, you do not tell on your fellow union members!

I am sure UnionSpeak will get many negative comments on this one but this has to be said.  There is nothing more annoying and nothing that ruins a day most  than receiving disciplinary action by management.

Believe me!

It’s going to happen eventually.  For those union members who have never received disciplinary actions, I admire you for your discipline and you should be proud of this achievement.  It is an achievement because I have seen the best workers get disciplinary action for the most minor offenses and management never considers their immaculate record.  My point in this my friends is please do not expect management to feel the same way you feel about your perfect record.  I wish they did but a manager will write you up and say they have to write you up to be consistent with their rules.  Management will discipline you just so they can use your perfect record as an example.  If they can discipline you, they can and will discipline everyone else when they find the opportunity.

Is this fair?     No!

Disciplinary action is a form of control for management.  If they have action against you in your files they hope it weighs upon your mind and you never forget it.  They believe that it will put you in your place and remind you that your job is only secure if you obey them.  If not, they will continue to add further frivolous disciplinary actions until they fire you.  Please Remember, that it is an Impartial Chairman that decides whether you get fired.  In our union, management has to ask permission to fire you.  They can make a case but ultimately management has no independent power to take your union job.

The terrible trend I have noticed in many properties is that management is getting assistance by union members to help deal out more disciplinary actions.  I do not believe that it is done on purpose.  I believe that with the help of management there is a misunderstanding that disciplinary actions needs to be given out equally.  By this I mean that if one union member gets a write-up for attendance then they expect that all other union members with the same infraction are going to get disciplinary actions as well.  It seems like that is the logical solution because it wouldn’t seem right that you are the only one that is receiving disciplinary action.

Would that be fair?    No!!!

Not in the union!!!

It is not fair!  However, it is  not wrong!  Management disciplines many union workers because other union workers who have received disciplinary actions feels like they should accept actions against them only if everyone is treated equally by also receiving disciplinary actions.  Again, it seems logical to be fair but if I contracted the flu, I wouldn’t go around contaminating my work environment in hopes that everyone gets my flu because it’s not fair that I am the only one who has the flu.  This is why, for those who receive a write-up, they need to dispute their write-up not distribute their write-up.

“No telling!”

The First rule of UnionSpeak is, you do not tell on your fellow union members!   Article 27(A)(1) of our Industry-Wide Agreement is the ‘Just Cause‘ provision of the contract.  This clause gives delegates and union members 10 rules to dispute disciplinary actions against you and your co-union workers.  I strongly discourage mentioning any other member who has not received disciplinary action.  You are only helping management and it does not remove or revoke the disciplinary actions against you.  I do suggest to take a look on how management handled similar situations in the past.  If actions in the past are inconsistent and seems like you are being singled out then refer to your business agent to get it on record as an Unfair Labor Practice. (ULP)

I have to mention that all union members should make a conscious effort to abide by all rules when you can.  Breaking rules only sets management off on a feeding frenzy that effects everyone.  Please be considerate to your fellow union members and understand that the contract is not negotiated to support misbehavior.  I have always noticed that the members who have the most problems with disciplinary actions is also the one who has the most problems with the union.  We first have to help ourselves.  But also consider that disciplinary actions are not the end of the world.  It is a reminder that management does not have your best interest in mind and that we need to make individual efforts to dispute any garbage that management wants to distribute.

To see the 10 ‘Just Cause’ rules click here.

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7 thoughts on “The First rule of UnionSpeak is, you do not tell on your fellow union members!”

  1. The Entire Post By Mr. Choffin is completly valid and clearly addresses every point however I honestly believe to all the parties involved if any one of them was at fault for anything , each and everyone one of them should get a Write – Up for their actions but these are my thoughts on the any subject as a whole . There should not be any double standards in any job and ” What is good for the Goose is Good for the Gander ” . Angel , you always do a wonderful job in helping everyone so I support your post and blog completely . Excellent article Mr. Choffin !!!!! Thanks Angel , you are the best always .


  2. Good morning Unionspeak, while I do agree that you shouldn’t rat out your fellow union members I do disagree that you should take a write up for the sake of not being a rat. There is a misconception that if you point out another union member to prove your write up is unfair you are dragging your fellow union member with you. That is incorrect. Suppose you have a racist manager that writes up certain minorities and lets his Caucasian counterparts go without question. You can’t prove this to HR without mentioning your fellow members. Management can’t turn around and write up all Caucasian individuals just to cover up for it’s racist manager especially when that particular manager knowingly and deliberately did so. HR’s responsibility is to investigate such matters and it is up to us to keep management honest by questioning such practices. Not doing so undermines the entire grievance process.

    1. I have to reiterate to “dispute the write-up not distribute the write-up” As you said, it is difficult to prove if management is discriminating a group in their department. It is not impossible though. However, if you are using write-ups to prove discrimination it is not going to be taken seriously because we are talking about union members getting into trouble. When you say that another person is not getting a write-up who might have the same infraction, it does not change that the fact that your write-up may be valid and enforceable. You do not have standing in a situation where you are the one in trouble.

      If you want to prove discrimination then it is necessary to get your business agent involved for example, to pull attendance records. With this info, a case can be built on how management has handled disciplinary actions in the past without affecting anyone new getting discipline. If you have a manager who favors a union worker, that’s not fair but it is not the fault of the union member that the manager cannot be impartial. All union workers needs to be protected against disciplinary action and more importantly should never fear that one of there own would be the cause of disciplinary action.

      1. You are absoultely right about union members being in trouble, but in the London just having an opinion means trouble.Standing up to grieve something is a write up of course they aren’t written like that the come in form of attendance they come in the form of insubordination, however a Department head or a Director to give him an offical title has the overall responsibility to monitor everyone’s attendance he can’t possibly say I am only looking at one person’s attendance or just a group so If he’s writing up somebody for attendance it’s got to be across the board. He or she can’t just write up an individual who has been late 3 times in the span of three months while another employee come in late everyday. I think you could pull old attendance records but it won’t change the fact that the other person has commited an infraction the whole point to bring up something that is fresh and and new is that a manager can’t deny that he didn’t know about it as opposed to something that happend over a year ago a manger can easily claim i didn’t know or I forgot.

    1. I always appreciate your comments Vic but the 3rd rule of UnionSpeak is no bodily harm on fellow union members. I prefer “tattle tales should be ashamed of themselves.” It still rhymes. I always appreciate your support my friend.

I welcome all questions, and encourage your participation.

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