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Union Mofos

Our union has run roughshod over the library the past few years, filing meaningless grievance after meaningless grievance and going out of its way to protect lazy no good employees.
The worst part is our union is made up of all the leftover city employees the city couldn't figure out what else to do with. So librarians with masters degrees are in the same union as secretaries at the fire department and accountants at city hall.
I have made no secret of being no fan of our union and their tactics. They spend all their time trying to figure out how to screw our administration and meanwhile they negotiate a contract that took away a week of vacation from anyone with less than 5 years on the job and forced newbies to start at step one no matter their experience meaning I make less than people I supervise, like 10's of thousands of dollars less.
So when our union steward, a librarian who is suing the city partly because he did not get my job, walked into my office and said he wanted to investigate an incident that I knew damn well had nothing to do with the union, I balked.
I politely told him that I had already given my statement on the matter to the admin and I had nothing further to say to him. He continued to try and get me to talk, but I kept repeating my same statement.
He then called me "motherfucking hostile" at which point I stood up and told him to leave my office.
He refused! He begins yelling at me about what a terrible librarian I am and has the nerve to say "I'm your steward you have to talk to me!"
I am shaking at this point, I keep telling him to leave my office and he won't. I start calling my bosses but no one is answering. He begins taunting me "who are you calling? Who are you calling?"
I finally get my boss on the phone and tell her to help me, mofo swore at me and wont leave my office. He did not walk out until she walked in.
The administration decided to put a written warning in his file and the union leadership said they supported said mofo 100% so they filed a grievance on his behalf. I thought for sure there was no way the labor board could side with him.
Well, they did! They said because he came into my office in the capacity of a union steward and not a librarian, the admin had no standing to discipline him.

Time to start job hunting...


( 12 comments — Leave a comment )
May. 28th, 2014 06:48 pm (UTC)
I'm sure the laws of the United States still protect you from harassment, his mistake was calling you that severe curse word and you cling to that. I also wonder if he shouldn't have booked an appointment to speak with you rather than showing up on the fly. Aren't you permitted an opportunity to arrange a meeting rather than being surprise bombed??

If possible, next time, I'd recommend being very polite ("Won't you have a seat..."), excusing yourself to go to the bathroom or some other minor task you'll be right back from and instead finding someone to talk to. You also have to find out who is above this man and what your powers/rights are.

Under no circumstances should you be looking for a new job. Goose/Gander politics prevail. Walk tall. ;)

This also all sounds like the reverse of what one would want a union to do. I was at the other end with being tormented because we had no protection or rights.

Edited at 2014-05-28 07:50 pm (UTC)
May. 28th, 2014 07:02 pm (UTC)
And shouldn't you perhaps file a grievance against him? His behavior as "steward" seems reprehensible and possibly reportable. I'd follow up with that. In no way should you be taunted or have swear words thrown at you. And I'd investigate whether or not you could call down the "hostile work environment". Maybe even get the guy reprimanded and removed from the position.

And if you get no leeway from your local union. Move up a level. Unions don't want to be known for this kind of behavior.
May. 28th, 2014 08:43 pm (UTC)

I agree 100% with trying to go higher-up. This behavior by the steward is absolutely and totally reprehensible.
May. 28th, 2014 09:27 pm (UTC)
I agree, definitely go national. It sounds like your local's pretty corrupt or tainted and needs over-seeing anyway.
May. 29th, 2014 05:20 pm (UTC)
I also agree that you should go to the national, or regional, whichever is next. COMPLETELY irresponsible behavior on the part of your local union. If you work for a city, you may want to speak to the City Attourney, and if you work for a University, I'm sure they have some sort of counsel.
May. 28th, 2014 07:59 pm (UTC)
I totally agree with the two comments before mine. If you're willing and able to fight rather than flee, you definitely have the law on your side.
May. 28th, 2014 09:44 pm (UTC)
Isn't doing union "business" on company time against the rules? Well, maybe that doesn't apply because it wasn't negotiations or anything. Check to see if your state has "one party consent" for recording of conversations and record every conversation he has at you (I'd say with you, but this chucklehead doesn't seem to know how!). Is there a computer on your desk? Get a PC microphone (under $10) and have an app right on your desktop ready to go at a minimum of clicks. Transcribe all conversations so when he inevitable says, "I never said that" you have proof. As the others have said, petition for a different union.

This post has steamed me more than a lot of others; I'll send him a cyber punch in the nose for you :)
May. 29th, 2014 02:52 am (UTC)
My experience has been that unions in libraries are completely and utterly useless. They tend to be run by lazy slackers who want to stick it to the organization any way they can, regardless of whether or not they have a case. At a previous position, I was bullied to the point of being suicidal. When I asked the union for help, I was encouraged to retaliate, because then they could step in. Because sinking to the level of your tormentors is always good advice. Morons.

Your asshole steward threatened you and refused to leave your office. If a patron pulled something like this you would have called the police and had the mofo banned from the building. Go back to your boss, tell them that you don't feel safe around this shithead and ask that steps be taken to ensure the two of you are never alone together. If the bastard ever does corner you alone again, tell him loudly and firmly to leave you alone; say it at the top of your lungs if necessary. Also document everything, no matter how trivial, and get others to do the same. Chances are that there are plenty of others who've had run-ins with this steaming pile of dog poo who would love to see him taken down a peg or two.
May. 29th, 2014 03:49 am (UTC)
You know, unions were created for a reason, and they serve a purpose... but asswipes like this just run around handing out ammunition to the folks who think that they should be abolished.

I agree with those who say report this to national, and document document document. The PC microphone sounds like a good idea, or if you have a smartphone use that. I'd be inclined to politely make sure that he knows that you're doing it (especially as some states forbid recording someone without their knowledge.) Tell him flat-out that given the outcome of your last "conversation" you would rather have an impartial record of exactly what was said. Odds are pretty good that with him aware of being recorded he'll either moderate his behavior or just go away.

Edited at 2014-05-29 03:51 am (UTC)
May. 29th, 2014 12:37 pm (UTC)
You know, unions were created for a reason, and they serve a purpose... but asswipes like this just run around handing out ammunition to the folks who think that they should be abolished.

Hear, hear, hear. All the paraprofessionals and support staff at my library are unionized and it works really well because the officers and stewards do their jobs properly and actually care about excellence rather than point-scoring. I also support taking this up the ladder, because unions are one of the few advantages labor has in what is becoming an ever more wide power imbalance with management, and they shouldn't be sabotaged by mofos.
May. 29th, 2014 02:21 pm (UTC)
Thirded. At my university, library paraprofessionals and support staff across the university are in the same union, which came about because university management had previously been treating non-faculty staff members incredibly poorly (and would continue to do so if they could, as evidenced by our most recent contract renewal negotiations). But our union is very much about fair and ethical treatment--this mofo's behavior is completely beyond the pale, and would not be tolerated for a second.

Take it up a level, because this local's behavior hurts every union member everywhere.
Jun. 5th, 2014 03:01 am (UTC)
Agreed. This guy is the worst example of a "leader". He really should be terminated. It's cases like this where unions hurt because it will be very tough to get him out. The state and even national chapters need to be notified about this guy because he is a detriment to all workers.

We unionized only because we kept getting screwed over by our (then) town superivsor. He hated the library and hated our then-director. We were the only town agency to get their budget cut, the only town agency to not get cost of living increases or pay raises, the only agency that was forced to cut staff, etc. We had to unionize in able to survive.

We have great union leaders who have never resorted to petty tactics, have never had any conflicts that needed intervention, and we have a great relationship with our current town supervisor. It pains me when I read above about unions being useless in libraries - I agree that there are a lot of unions and union leaders that are bad, but that isn't every union. It certainly isn't mine/ours.

Edited at 2014-06-05 03:06 am (UTC)
( 12 comments — Leave a comment )

Authority Record

the fuck
The Society for Librarians* Who Say "Motherfucker"
For all of those times when the gatekeepers of the world's knowledge are called upon, in their professional capacity, to use the word "motherfucker." Or at least to seriously consider it.

*Open to librarians; library associates, specialists, technicians, and paraprofessionals of all kinds; library school students; library aides and volunteers; and all of those who love libraries, or even just love a particular librarian. Welcome.

Date Due

January 2018
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