everything else? workers rights

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everything else? workers rights

Postby squire758 » Wed Apr 24, 2013 4:03 am

This has nothing to do with GD or music whatsoever, fair warning

I want to ask you gentleman a question, assuming most of us are average blue collar people, and to take advantage for a moment of the relative anonymity of online forums.
I work for a major steel manufacturer, and was recently promoted to a personnel management position. A promotion I was very lucky to get, and set two records doing it (first to make management in under 5 years, youngest supervisor in our North American division)
I uncovered by accident what amounts to a skillfully organized system of workers rights violations, including accompanying documents which prove (not imply) an active and ongoing cover-up of those violations. After a minute of skimming I realized i was among the largest body of victims in my former position! I really want to do the right thing without losing the awesome job i was so lucky to get. So how do i deal with this? Possible actions might include just going to the union, filing complaint, reporting to the Department of Labor, photographing or stealing documents with intent to leak them etc.
I am worried that a few factors may give away that it was me, does whistleblower protection apply to these matters? I am happy where I'm at, and compensated well for minimal effort but my conscience will not allow me to look the other way, or screw people out of money they earned(including me), and would almost certainly get if this were to go to court. any thoughts or suggestions?
I know this is a music forum, but is the only one I am a member of. I apologize in advance is this post was placed in the wrong spot among the categories, and even more so if you read it all the way through and feel it to be a waste of your time. Thanks
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Re: everything else? workers rights

Postby alcorelectric » Wed Apr 24, 2013 5:18 am

I say talk to a lawyer.
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Re: everything else? workers rights

Postby Mr.Burns » Wed Apr 24, 2013 5:24 am

Do you really want career advice from a bunch of hippies?
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Re: everything else? workers rights

Postby Pete B. » Wed Apr 24, 2013 8:21 am

Most workers are just glad to have a job... As in, their Manager tells them at Review time... Just be glad you have a job.
So what is the nature of the violation?
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Re: everything else? workers rights

Postby ccw3432 » Wed Apr 24, 2013 9:15 am

I'm sure there are a lot of fine details with this, probably more than you can write here. I'm not a lawyer, I'm just some random guy that likes good music, and I don't know the details of your companies workplace culture but here's a couple things you could think about.

It really depends on what you're after here. Legal recourse?, Back wages?, just making things right? Could you discuss the issue with your supervisor as a starting point and express your concerns and that you can't let it sit? If that fails you could then take it up a level, etc. Again I'm no lawyer, but I would think that if this is an illegal act that you would have whistleblower coverage, but if the company is not on the up anyway who's to say that couldn't find another reason to let you go. Is it just a few covering this or is it deep in the company culture? Hopefully the position you're now in will allow you the ability to make positive changes like this. I'd really think about trying to work this out within your organization. If you do provide the union with details without approval or going throught the established flow of information, I would think it is quite possible that that in itself could be grounds for dismissal for you. I think I would feel better about it by trying to allow my organization to step up and do the right thing. Again...I don't know your specific details and rather than advice I'm just trying to give you some things to think about. Good luck.
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Re: everything else? workers rights

Postby strumminsix » Wed Apr 24, 2013 11:10 am

A few things I've learned:
- you blow a whistle, you risk your job
- can you live with yourself without speaking up?
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Re: everything else? workers rights

Postby tcsned » Wed Apr 24, 2013 11:40 am

Anytime you go up against a big company you risk getting squashed. I don't know the nature of the violations but if they put workers health and safety at risk then I say do something. If it's compensation/pay stuff I say do what you can to stop it from continuing without getting yourself in trouble. Getting fired is just gonna mean getting replaced by someone who doesn't care if there are violations. I'd look to see where you can do the greatest good. If by keeping your job you can make whatever this situation better for the future even if it means letting the past slide then do it. I'm sure there would be a long line of people who would screw people for a better paycheck for themselves. Sometimes blowing the whistle can make things worse for everyone, including you.
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Re: everything else? workers rights

Postby gr8fulbluz » Wed Apr 24, 2013 12:55 pm

I Am a 15yr. union member, just so you know, never worked in management but have had good relationships with them.
Before you do anything have a back up plan, take your time and take a deep breath. If the violations are safety, health or even federal rule breaking you may have an obligation to speak. But have that plan for a course for the future operation.

You might look at it for a money saving point of view. For example, a federal inspector could impose fines and lost productivity. another example, A Union mediator could discover the violations and create big costly grievance settlements sometime in the future. I don't think that is whislteblowing but good management procedure.

There is a bunch i could say about the union/management relationship but that is not what you asked.
From my point of view, I say do two things. 1)Do what you need to do for yourself. 2)as a leader, treat your people properly, like you want to be treated.
Let the rest sort it self.

Good luck.
-------------------------------
tcsned wrote:. . . I'd look to see where you can do the greatest good. If by keeping your job you can make whatever this situation better for the future even if it means letting the past slide then do it. I'm sure there would be a long line of people who would screw people for a better paycheck for themselves. Sometimes blowing the whistle can make things worse for everyone, including you.



And very much This^^^^^^^^
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Re: everything else? workers rights

Postby Smolder » Wed Apr 24, 2013 1:33 pm

I am in management (just left a large corp) and I think the most critical component of that profession is integrity. And it's not always common. As stated above, you may have an obligation to disclose what you've uncovered. If you were the only one hurt by those policies, then you could justify moving on and ignoring past transgressions, but if others were harmed, and the harm continues, you do have at least an ethical if not legal obligation (IMHO). Manage as you would have like to have been managed. Now that you are management, and if those practices continue under your watch, you could very well be liable... just like the rest of them. Get a good attorney and as said prior... have a back up plan because there is no guarantee whether you act or ignore what you've uncovered.
Last edited by Smolder on Wed Apr 24, 2013 1:38 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: everything else? workers rights

Postby foolofships » Wed Apr 24, 2013 1:34 pm

alcorelectric wrote:I say talk to a lawyer.

+1, as a lawyer.
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Re: everything else? workers rights

Postby Poor Peter » Wed Apr 24, 2013 6:57 pm

Don't be surprised if the union isn't in on whatevers cooking. Or at least aware of it. My union turns a blind eye to alot of b.s. that goes on off the table so longs as they are getting thiers. Just sayin'.
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Re: everything else? workers rights

Postby alcorelectric » Thu Apr 25, 2013 4:57 am

Squire here is your dillemma:
1. Union will not protect management (ie. you)
2. W/O talking to an attorney prior to exposing the abuses youmay be exposing yourself to retaliation both legal and employment related.
3. Depending on the severity of the allegations, "Whistle Blower" protection may not be of much help
4. If you decide to blow the whistle expect to be fired, and be unemployed for a long time (Who would you use as a reference?)
HTH
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Re: everything else? workers rights

Postby TI4-1009 » Thu Apr 25, 2013 5:52 am

1. Talk to a lawyer first.
2. Document everything- at home. Dates, times, people, etc.
3. Let it ride for at least a little while to both learn more and make sure everything is really as you think it is.
4. Whistleblower is theoretically good, but in reality it can make future employment both there and outside more difficult- unless you want to change careers to activism- then you're the poster boy!
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