The Direct Approach: Confronting Working Supervisors

January 10, 2008: “If you’re a steward always go up to a sup who is working and ask, ‘What’s going on? Why are you working?’ Or, ‘Do you need some help here?’” said Barb Ramirez from Local 206 in Eugene, Ore.

“At first this takes courage, but it gets easier and it must be done to demand respect for the contract. If you’re not a steward, you can still ask these questions. If the supervisor isn’t responsive, report the incident or go get the steward.”

A New York Local 804 steward says, “The most effective way to stop supervisors from working is to annoy the hell out of them and their bosses.

“If a part-time or pre-load sup is seen loading a truck, ask them why they are working. If they say they are covering for someone in the restroom or something similar, stand there waiting for their return and continually pester the supervisor asking if they need you to start up. (They usually walk away and everyone gets a laugh).

“If they don’t stop and no one returns, go to their supervisor (usually full time in charge of a boxline of trucks) and tell them you are going to start up and take over for the supervisor working. This will usually start up a discussion, possibly heated, about why he doesn’t need you to start or he will go to the supervisor working with you and tell them to stop.

“Progressively annoy the hell out of every supervisor/manager up the ladder so they know you are serious about the issue. This takes knowledge of where to find everyone involved and to be in early enough to do the legwork.

“Eventually you won’t have to go so high up the ladder to start working. Very importantly, you must be willing to start working before or after your normal working hours in order for this method to be effective because you will end up doing the work.”

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