A long-time co-chair of a plant safety committee has been
disciplined after he confronted the employer in a "crew
talk" meeting for failing to consult with the safety committee
before implementing a new drug and alcohol policy.
The employer scheduled crew talk meetings to introduce employees
to the policy and permit them to ask questions. The co-chair, a
welder, attended the crew talk meeting with the maintenance
employees. At the end of the meeting, the co-chair asked why the
company had not involved the safety committee in the rolling out of
the policy. He became agitated and continued asking questions after
management told him to stop.
The arbitrator decided that the co-chair's "emotional
impulse" about the safety committee not being consulted,
caused him to engage in insubordinate behaviour at the crew talk
meeting. The co-chair's long service of 29 years, and virtually
clean disciplinary record, did not support the employer's
contention that this was a "premeditated offence".
Instead, it was "spur of the moment".
The one-day suspension imposed by the company was set aside, and
a written warning was substituted, which the arbitrator believed
"will bring home to the grievor that insubordinate behaviour
to management officials is inappropriate and wrong and that if he
wants to raise such matters again in the future, he must do so in
the appropriate forum."
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