I usually don't do this but I feel the need. I don't mean to
be disrespectful to any of my union brothers and sisters - God knows how much I care about your well-being - but some of you are digging your own grave and committing career suicide. I just don't understand how some of you can be so_______!
I'll leave that blank. You can fill in the word after you finish reading this story.
I just don't get it. I'm not using names but I am using real situations that have come across my desk over the past three months. Imagine being sick. You go to an auto mechanic and explain how you feel. "So, I have bad headaches that won't go away. On the onset of the headache, my eyes usually water and being in the light bothers me. These headaches are really bad." The mechanic stands there and looks at you for about ten minutes. Then he explains to you that you need to flush your radiator and change your oil. You say 'ok,' and walk away. In the meantime, the headaches are getting worst because of lack of treatment. This is what's happening in RTSB and DSB.
Let me explain...
An officer calls the Union office, and request to speak with "Ford." The call is forwarded to me. The conversation goes something like this:
(Officer) "I just want to spin your brain for a minute. I witnessed an incident, and was told by my supervisor not to report it because I wasn't involved in the situation."
(My response) "It doesn't matter if you were involved or not, the fact that you witness an event involving a youth in our care requires a SIR or maybe a supplemental report."
(Officer) "Well I talked to three other people that work for the department and they told me not to write anything."
This conversation went on for another twenty minutes. I explained the importance of documentation, and how it would keep the officer out of trouble. I then advised the officer to send me a copy of the SIR/Supplemental before it was submitted so I could review it for accuracy. I never got it. Now that officer is under investigation for not reporting the incident!
Situation Two: I met with several officers regarding an SCM that went wrong. We met for an hour or so. I thought I was on the case, until I received a phone call. The phone call went something like this:
(Officer) "Hey Ford, after speaking with representatives from ANOTHER union, I think it's best to go with them because they seem to know what's going on and to me they make more sense."
(My response) "Are you sure you want to do that? I've been a union rep for over 30 years and I can spot a snake when I see one."
I then explained to the officer that the representatives that the officer was speaking of were dirty and had no business representing the officer in the first place. I went on to explain that due to the nature of the situation, those other representatives were only going to cover up the mistakes that were made by management and protect their own interests. "You'll be thrown under the bus," I said. I also explained that that there was no need to be afraid of management at that facility, and that I had no problem going up against them. Well, to my dismay the officer allowed those other reps to represent him/her at the investigative interview, and... all I can say is, the outcome will be unfortunate.
Situation Three: We all panic from time to time. That kind of goes with our job here at Probation. In this instance, an officer called and told me he/she has an investigative interview in Downey. We discussed the situation, I give the officer solid advice, based on other similar cases that had positive outcomes. I also explained to the officer that this particular investigator plays mind games, and would attempt to be the officers friend just to get information.
We got to the interview, and the investigator did exactly what I said he/she would do. The officer gave in and let his/her guard down and did everything I told him/her not to do. The interview was a disaster. My point? When I am ill I do not go to an auto mechanic for medical advice. I go to Kaiser. I see my doctor, and if necessary he gives me a referral to see a specialist. I go to the people who have my best interest at heart--the folks who are looking out for me.
Let me be straight with you: some of you officers are doing stupid stuff. You are making horrible decisions that will end your probation career. You are listening to other officers who are mad at the union for something that happen 20 years ago. They're telling you not to trust the union. You are using other organizations to fight for you - organizations who don't know the department's politics. You are losing you cases.
In Situation One, the officer witnessed a situation where several minors were hurt. Why would a manager instruct that officer not to write the necessary paperwork? That officer has approximately 15 years in the department and knows better. This upsets me, to say the least. When this officer gets disciplined for not reporting, the first thing this officer will say, "I called the union and they didn't tell me nothing" which is B.S!
In Situation Two, the officers used the supervisor's union, because a supervisor was involved. Why? Whose interest do you think the supervisor's union fights for? It sure won't be the DSO or the DPO l (the local 685 member). When officers are disciplined -- and there will be severe discipline in this case--that officer will blame local 685, and say we didn't represent her/him when in fact that officer elected to listen to other representatives from another union.
In Situation Three, the officer didn't listen and follow instructions given to him by the union representative. Local 685 representatives deal with situations in Downey every single day. We know how they think, how they work and what tactic they use. Sometimes, depending on the situation, we know when the case will be substantiated or not.
To sum this up:
isten to your representative and don't be fooled by stupidity! I am sick and tired of some of you who continue to talk STUFF (and 'stuff' is not the word I want to use here) about the union. We work hard, we fight hard and we give a lot of our time.
Since I'm venting, a word to you representatives who don't come to training (and it's just a few of you): stop saying your family comes first. My family come first as well, but sometimes I have to sacrifice and give time to the union so my family can benefit. Bring your "A" to training and stop complaining. We are in the fight of our lives right now and no one should take it lightly. We have to fight with the Chief, fight with HR, fight with the Board, and-unfortunately-sometimes fight with members who don't have our back. Our president, Ralph Miller is not taking anything for granted. We are in this to win. Get with us. When you call us for advice, listen to the advice we give you and follow it. It may save your job.