Jefferson County Metro, Kentucky, forbids tobacco smoking in the workplace. About three weeks ago I complained to my union representative about a couple of production supervisors who chew tobacco and constantly spit on the floor where hourly employees must work.
Last Thursday, on a 6:00 AM morning of 65 F dew point and 76 F an hourly employee who works in the same repair/inspection workspace as me (there are three of us) went completely ballistic over the fact that I turned on a fan. I went to the union bargaining representative and explained that I did not believe I needed to deal with such over-the-top confrontational and provocative behavior. He agreed and assured me he would speak to the other hourly employee.
The rest of Thursday passed without any problems. Friday went by with no problem.
Today I arrived at work at 5:40 AM. The assembly line starts at 6:00 AM. The temp inside the plant was near 80 F. The dewpoint was 66%. The hourly employee with whom I had a problem with the previous Thursday had yet to show up. I turned on a fan that blew where I was about to begin pulling torque readings at 6:00 AM.
A production supervisor, not my supervisor but one of those who I had complained about spitting on the floor some three weeks before, asked me, "Now why are you doing that? You know it will piss off XXX." I replied, "Because it is hot and humid." He answered back, "You are simply attempting to provoke a fight." I replied, There is no reason for a fight. You don't need to be concerned. This was dealt with last Thursday. And if it does result in a fight Labor Relations will straighten it out."
The production supervisor then said, "You are the one going to Labor Relations. Now. Return your equipment to your office and tell your supervisor (who is in Europe and will return tomorrow) that you are going to Labor Relations for a disciplinary hearing."
I was stunned and responded with a laugh and said, "Because I turned on a fan?"
The production supervisor said, "Because you have a bad attitude and are provoking fights." I was stunned and did not immediate move. The production supervisor said, "if you don't start for Labor Relations immediately I will discipline you for failure to follow instructions." I said, "It is not yet 6:00 AM and so I am not yet on the clock. I am going to my toolbox to get my cup of coffee and then I'll head to Labor Relations."
I retrieved my coffee. I then stepped into the aisle and started walking. After about ten feet I encountered the other inspector who shares our workspace. Sharon said, "Good morning Tom. Where are you going?" I replied, "To Labor Relations." "Why?" Sharon asked. "Because I turned on a fan", I replied. "You're kidding!" Sharon replied. At that point the production Supervisor stepped in and threatened, "If you don't start walking immediately toward Labor Relations I will call Security and have you escorted out of the plant." It was not yet 6:00 AM.
To make a long story short, the production supervisor showed up in Labor Relations, told a number of lies impunning my character and behavior, repeated those lies in the hearing, told the me and my union representative to "shut up" when he didn't like hearing my side of the story, the union representative briefly left the room to get a union bargaining Committeman, the union bargaining Committeman entered the room and shortly thereafter forcefully objected to the production supervisor's disrespectful behavior (among other things he tore the disciplinary paperwork in half and tossed it at the production supervisor), the production supervisor claimed he had better things to do with his time and left the room, and I filed a formal written complaint about the entire situation. Labor Relations, not yet involved, will now conduct an investigation. Good.
I've worked there for over 35 years. Who needs to put up with this kind of silly nonsense?