Can you fire a steward for overstepping his authority?

Electrician Grade I Larry Todd was a tough worker for management to live with under normal conditions. When he was elected plant steward, he became more obnoxious than ever. Todd was carried away by his new-found power.

02/01/1998


Electrician Grade I Larry Todd was a tough worker for management to live with under normal conditions. When he was elected plant steward, he became more obnoxious than ever. Todd was carried away by his new-found power. In an effort to direct favored tasks his way and generally throw his weight around, he put in his two cents when Maintenance Foreman Gary Oliner assigned jobs not to his liking. He advised employees to complain about assignments. Other times he questioned assignments on picayune grounds that they violated published job descriptions.

More than once, Todd encouraged employees to disobey instructions. Oliner warned him repeatedly not to interfere with matters beyond his jurisdiction. Todd replied he was only doing his job.

"Your job is to take up the issue with management if you feel there's been a contract violation, not counter supervisory instructions."

Todd shrugged in response and walked away.

Finally Oliner decided he had it with Todd. His interference was creating confusion, causing ill feeling in the department, and disrupting productivity. When he gave the steward notice, Todd's response was an angry protest and threat to sue.

Question : Do you think Oliner can make Todd's dismissal stick?

Plant engineer's decision: "The guy deserves to be fired," Plant Engineer Alan Hough ruled. "Assigning work is a management right and prerogative. If a steward has a complaint, his authorization is limited to taking it up with management. Todd repeatedly exceeded that limit. The record shows he was warned several times about his behavior. He can grieve to his heart's desire; it won't do him any good."





No comments
Consulting-Specifying Engineer's Product of the Year (POY) contest is the premier award for new products in the HVAC, fire, electrical, and...
Consulting-Specifying Engineer magazine is dedicated to encouraging and recognizing the most talented young individuals...
The MEP Giants program lists the top mechanical, electrical, plumbing, and fire protection engineering firms in the United States.
Water use efficiency: Diminishing water quality, escalating costs; Lowering building energy use; Power for fire pumps
Building envelope and integration; Manufacturing industrial Q&A; NFPA 99; Testing fire systems
Labs and research facilities: Q&A with the experts; Water heating systems; Smart building integration; 40 Under 40 winners
Maintaining low data center PUE; Using eco mode in UPS systems; Commissioning electrical and power systems; Exploring dc power distribution alternatives
Protecting standby generators for mission critical facilities; Selecting energy-efficient transformers; Integrating power monitoring systems; Mitigating harmonics in electrical systems
Commissioning electrical systems in mission critical facilities; Anticipating the Smart Grid; Mitigating arc flash hazards in medium-voltage switchgear; Comparing generator sizing software
As brand protection manager for Eaton’s Electrical Sector, Tom Grace oversees counterfeit awareness...
Amara Rozgus is chief editor and content manager of Consulting-Specifier Engineer magazine.
IEEE power industry experts bring their combined experience in the electrical power industry...
Michael Heinsdorf, P.E., LEED AP, CDT is an Engineering Specification Writer at ARCOM MasterSpec.