Thursday, June 5, 2008

"Don't Answer Stupid Staff's Stupid Questions, First Thing In The Morning"

Nifty title, isn't it?

I came up with that mantra (which I have properly hidden in my cubicle), about a year ago. At the time, I was getting aggravated with a particular labor union: The all being, all knowing, completely pompous, totally arrogant 1199 Healthcare union.

This particular union covers all workers in the healthcare industry. From hospitals to health care centers and all points in between, every conceivable medical/healthcare industry is covered by this particular behemoth. Incredibly militant and self-serving, it perpetuates the view that there is no such thing as a bad/incompetent worker.

With that said, the problem I was having with members of a particular hospital that our agency had, was infuriating simple: no monies were available to pay out to them. To elaborate, I handle tuition reimbursement for my particular agency. What my particular state does is this: they will reimburse you a percentage of money that you spend at an institution of higher education of your choice, so that you might take courses to further your career advancement.

In theory, that was the way it was supposed to go. Reality though, has a way of rearing its ugly head. In a nutshell, what happened was that the tuition fund (which is generally funded by union dues) ran out of money three months short of the current fiscal year. All $545,000 gone. Kaput. Vanished. Spent. Inhaled. Why?

Simple really: The main problem can be summed up by the simple phrase, "Rob Peter to Pay Paul". Instead of telling people who turned their applications in late, "Sorry, no money for you.", what the state does is take the monies for the current fiscal year and pay off all those stragglers, effectively punishing the people who get theirs in on time in the new fiscal year. End result is that you wait about a year and a half before you see any money.

So, when some of these particular "toddlers" at this particular hospital, started noticing that a few of their co-workers were getting money and they weren't, naturally the first thing that they did was call the person in charge to ask why. Person in charge was me, who tried without much success, to explain why their co-workers got it and they didn't. When that didn't work, and I started screening my phone calls (thank God for caller i.d.) to avoid answering the same question, they started e-mailing me.

Not only weren't they satisfied to just sending it to me, they got their union reps involved. Like that was going to make matters easier for them. No matter how I answered the question, people weren't satisfied.

One day, curiously after a long Memorial day weekend that went over like a lead balloon, I came into work on Monday morning very grouchy. One of the first e-mails I saw, was from one of the toddlers at this particular hospital, asking once again where their money is. Mistake #1 by me was hitting the "reply all" button. Mistake #2 was TYPING THE STUPID RESPONSE IN CAPITOLS. Mistake #3 was closing the e-mail with a tag that I normally use when I post in the chat forums (again in caps): DO I MAKE MYSELF CLEAR, CRYSTAL OR OTHERWISE? Finally, Mistake #4 was answering the stupid e-mail in the first place....

we will now have a brief intermission. please talk amongst yourselves as ushers stop by and shove canisters in your face, asking for donations to "The Jimmy Fund"

....One week later, an investigation was done by my labor dept., regarding my e-mail. End result was that I was given a written reprimand (which is now in my personal file until December 2008), and I had to attend a class on professionalism.

This, among other reasons, is why I truly despise labor unions.

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G. B. Miller

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