Dealing With Union Hardcores

In the Philippines, it is not uncommon for companies, particularly those having employees above 500, to have several workers' union. In one of the companies that I worked with there were two, a rank-and-file workers' union and the supervisory union.

The Electrical Maintenance Section which I was handling, all of them were union members, most of them were officers and several were hardcore members that try to use the union in every way they can. Wanting to go on overtime but doing nothing is a good example. If situations require them to work overtime, they don't like it. Or pretending to always attend unions meetings, they just go to chat with their mates, they just wanted to avoid work.

Let me make it clear that I am not against unionism. I like the principles behind it. It's just that some people become so fanatic that they go beyond those principles.

One time, I received a SOS from the production department claiming that their request for support is not being attended. I was shocked as I have a Shift Electrician (a union hardcore) who needs to assign to these troubles. I have checked most of the possible areas where I could possibly find him to no avail. He is nowhere to be found. I then suspected some silly things happening. I went to areas where people try to take some naps during their break time, I found him there, on a deep sleep. This is an offense against company policy, sleeping on duty, punishable with possible suspension. I did not wake him up as he could just deny it.

I went back to the shop floor, requested one of my guys who was the Vice President of the union unto which my Shift Electrician belongs to. I ask him to come with me to see something but I did not say what it is. Upon reaching the place, I asked the VP what the Shift Electrician is doing? He answered without any glitch, "Sleeping". I told, him you are a Union Officer, and you are the one who told me your member is sleeping on duty.

We then woke him up to his surprise. I did not really have any intentions of reporting him to HR, all I want is to teach him a lesson.

The VP and the member requested what I was actually thinking, not to report his offense to HR. Well, I will not on the condition that he will give me a written promise not to do it again. They agreed, I said to myself Done!

From then on, the Union hard cores were very careful to committing offenses against company policies.

About the Author

Ver Pangonilo
A Filipino Engineer, Registered Professional Engineer of Queensland (RPEQ) - Australia and Professional Electrical Engineer (PEE) - Philippines with extensive experience in concept select, front-end engineering, HV & LV detail design, construction and commissioning of Hazardous and Non-Hazardous Area electrical installations in water and waste water pipeline and pumping facilities, offshore platforms, hydrocarbon process plants and pipelines including related facilities. Hazardous area classification and design certification (UEENEEM015B, UEENEEM016B, UEENEEM017B).
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