Assess Your Situation Before Acting
Anyone who normally reads these newsletters has read this before. Follow the GOM (Ground Ops Manual). Follow what your supervisor/manager tells you to do. Perform each job duty as it is narrated in the GOM. Too many agents are getting caught up in thinking, “that’s not the correct way of performing this duty.” And many of those times you’re probably correct. In the end, always remember management makes the rules, management breaks the rules.
It’s no secret there’s a double standard that’s been going on for many, many years. Don’t fall into that trap. If your sup tells you to do something, just do it. When they come back and ask you what happened, tell them the truth - “I did exactly what my supervisor told me to do. Get the video. You’ll see my sup come up to me and start talking.”
Agents are making it too easy for management. When you’re asked to do something, do it. Remember the old union motto - “Do now, grieve later.” You can always argue the issue afterwards, whether through the grievance process or writing up a SOPI. If you’re mando’d and you know that you were improperly mando’d, do not leave. Even if you bring it to the sup’s attention, it doesn’t give you a green light to leave because they got it wrong. We can get it right later. Even when you show your sup he got it wrong and you leave, most likely your manager will take disciplinary action against you for leaving without permission.
Once an agent is mando’d, management can’t take the mando back. Best thing to do at that point is bring it to their attention, preferably before you start working the mando. For all you know, the sup can acknowledge the mistake, ask you if you wouldn’t mind giving that mando back and then assign the correct agent the mando. And yes, that can actually happen, but you have to give them a chance to fix it first. If you do and they say no, work it then grieve it. It’s a much better position to be in grieving an issue then to be fighting a termination because the agent took matters into his own hands.
If a sup or manager comes up and starts yelling at you, that’s also not a green light to start yelling back. Let them be the ones to yell. Assess your situation. Do I have any nearby witnesses? Do I have a pen/paper so I can start writing down what’s happening and what they’re saying? Am I by a video camera? If not, try to lead them near a camera. Always remember to assess your situation and think about the next course of action. Hopefully that’ll help us not fall into traps. They make the rules, they break the rules.
Info, Info, Info
I remember covering this topic before but there hasn’t been much improvement on this matter. Before an agent files a grievance, that agent should gather all the info needed for the rep to look into your case. If it’s an OT bypass, the rep will need several documents (and so will I if it’s not settled at the local level). For OT bypasses, you’ll need the OT sheet, exception log, and duty roster. If you have a shift trade that was not approved but should have been, you’ll need the shift trade form, exception log, duty roster and OT sheet. (The reason for the OT sheet is your shift trade could’ve been turned down if the other agent was already awarded an OT shift.) When a grievance makes it to the district level without the supporting documents, it drags the process on for a much longer period of time. When all the supporting documents are sent in with the grievance, the district rep can already start looking to see if this is a good case or not then start making his arguments. Also, write out a statement to go along with your grievance. I understand all agents are busy, either busy at work, busy with the kids/family, going to school or any other number of things. With a statement, I can see where you’re coming from. It’ll help me understand why you grieved it and where you’re coming from. It also hurts if you don’t put a phone number on the grievance form (which happens a lot). Or when an incorrect number is put on the grievance form. That also happens a lot. Be sure to include that.
In the end, guys, be safe, work safe. Take care of each other because no one else will.