I’m sure you believe that an employee who is constantly causing trouble most likely will be terminated. But is that always the case? I believe it depends on how you are viewed. What value do you bring to the bigger picture? Companies do not tolerate a lot of issues with the average person. However, the company will tolerate the situation much longer when either your knowledge or expertise is highly needed. Sports provide a great example of team owners tolerating more from their superstars.
If you are a typical employee where your job can easily be filled by other people, then your value would decrease at a much faster rate. Unions can protect many of these jobs, but realize a union is a business in itself. At times, they have to make decisions based on finances even if it doesn’t fully support their members.
How You are Viewed by Management
Many years ago, I became a union steward in a large company where I was employed. I found this position to be quite interesting especially since I was only in the
workforce for a few years after being discharged from the service. I believe I was elected to this position because I fought for what I believed in.
An individual in a department was either constantly late or called out. He went through the discipline progression. He received a verbal warning. Then he received a written warning. Next came the 3-day layoff. He reached the final step and received the 2-week unpaid layoff. The final warning stipulated if he was absent or late in the next 60 days, his employment will be terminated.
This person was good for about 50 days. He had an unfortunate accident approximately 7 – 10 days remaining on his final warning. On his way to work, he encountered a flat tire and was about 15 minutes late for work. He even had proof of the flat tire. However, since he failed to live up to the requirements of the final warning, he was terminated. Does it come down to how you are viewed by the management team?
How You are Viewed by the Union
He was adhering to the final warning requirement until he encountered the flat tire. Additionally, I thought he had a legitimate reason. Based on those facts, I thought the company should have made an exception. Why not just extend the probationary period? I guess that would have set a precedent. Since the department manager didn’t want to negotiate with me, I took my concern to the Union President. I thought the union should fight this termination based on the circumstances.
I was totally surprised by the outcome of our meeting. He understood the situation but he felt it was a battle the Union should not engage in. He decided the Union would not fight the termination. So, I asked him why. Here is when I received the ultimate surprise. He told me you don’t spend $10,000 to win $5,000 back. Once again, it comes down to how you are viewed. This time by the Union.
I always believed to fight what you believe in. However, this was my first experience learning that many decisions are based on the financials and not the morals of the situation. Additionally, had this person possess some knowledge that the company needed, an exception to that final warning would have been made.
I implore the readers of this blog to gain the knowledge and experience to increase your value. If your value is just average then you can be just another number to the company. Learn ways to show your value. It will eventually come down to how you are viewed.