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While I was considering topics for my article for this newsletter I found myself contemplating an issue that I had previously written about. This issue was and still is an extremely important process in our careers that we can’t afford to overlook. Rather than re-write what I had already written I thought that it would be better to re-publish it. Have you ever wondered what is in your employee file? Well if you have then shame on you because you should never wonderyou should know. Our employee files contain some of the most crucial documented information of our careers with SWA. In it you will find documents ranging from evaluations, letters of discipline, attendance records, no punch letters and possibly the occasional commendation letter. Your file should be reviewed yearly in order to determine if all information contained in it is correct, and if you find something that doesn’t belong or that should have been removed it is your opportunity to have it removed. Often members don’t learn  what is in their file until they have beenterminated. All too often when this happens I hear, “I didn’t know that was in there.” Well, let me say this can ultimately turn out to be one of the most detrimental mistakes of your career. If you are issued a letter of discipline, it will more than likely be a Letter of Instruction, Letter of Warning or a Final Letter of Warning. Hopefully you will never receive one of these, but if you do and you don’t agree with it then you should talk to your elected station representative about taking the necessary steps to dispute it. Yes, you can dispute it through the grievance process. Now that doesn’t guarantee that the letter will be removed from your file, but you could quite possibly be successful and ultimately keep your file free of detrimental information. Keep in mind that you have to act right away because there are specific time frames in which a grievance must be filed. Don’t procrastinate to the point that you miss out altogether because it is your individual responsibility to pursue an issue, not your station rep’s. Several times when I have been reviewing members’ files (after they have been terminated) I’ve asked why no grievances had  been filed over the letters of discipline in their files, only to be told, “I don’t know.” or, “It wouldn’t make a difference.” Well, let me tell you that it does make a difference because the letters may not have been correct or appropriate in some way but you cannot wait to dispute it; you must act fast. Letters of discipline ordinarily stay in your file for 12 months before they are removed. If during that 12 month period you have the misfortune of being involved in an incident of a similar nature, then quite possibly your level of discipline will increase. You should always know exactly what is in your employee file in order to monitor your job status. Over the last several months I have represented members that have found themselves in trouble and their files came directly into play. If you maintain a clean file then if you do make a mistake it will make it easier to argue your position and possibly win a favorable decision. Just as you monitor your paychecks and bank accounts to ensure their accuracy, you must monitor your employee files the same. If you checked your bank account and found that it was empty on the 5th or the 20th of the month you would move very fast to have it corrected. The same way that you need your paycheck to pay your bills and survive, you need a clean employee file to survive at work. When you’re done reading this article make a resolution to yourself that you will get your rep and check your file and have anything that does not belong removed. Don’t wait until you’re in trouble to say that the letter in your file doesn’t belong there or that you didn’t know you could grieve it, because now you do. Help me help you. United! Invincible!