A Union Job Steward Dismissal

A Union Job Steward Dismissal

This story is about a Union Job Steward Dismissal for his non performance of his work as directed by supervisory staff.

The incident occurred during the construction of a project in Naperville Illinois back in the 1970’s. The Naperville North High School was build on the corner of Ogden ave and Mill street in Naperville , Illinois by general contractor Wilfred Inc of Naperville, Illinois

The new Naperville high school was a $2.25 million school consisting of 4 buildings attached to each other. A unique design of the school was a perimeter tunnel under the grade level which was utilized to install a hot and chill water piping system. The main boiler room facility was attached to the school and was sized for future expansion of the campus.

The general contractor’s superintendent and carpenter foreman devised a pre-fab panel system for large fascia panels surrounding the two story buildings. The panels consisted of 2x4 framing, ½” cement board after which a new type of hand applied epoxy and white marble stones would be applied.

Onsite prefabing the panels on the ground instead of constructing them at roof levels were surpassing production of a similar project using the same type of fascia system. The prefab panels were raised to the roof by the use of another contractor’s crane and spread out in sequence, panel to panel. The panels were hoisted over on to the face of the building and bolted to pre punched holes in the steel structure.

The union steward and his partner transferred from another project and had worked with the same type of fascia system. The superintendent had a 3 laborer force to assist the carpenters. The laborers job was to provide the carpenters a supply of materials needed to do their work efficiantly. Reason being that the use of laborers instead of the carpenters doing non productive work, production was improved at far less costs.

Job costs were kept lower than the budget estimate and the project was proceeding ahead of schedule. A series of actions by the union job steward and his partner were creating a slow down in production. Comments made to other workers such as ‘’ we are producing more work than the other job we were on ‘’were considered inappropriate coming from the job steward.

On one occasion the job steward ignored the supervisors direction in installing a fascia system in relation to masonry work under the panels. The wall panels were installed incorrectly and instead of a straight line, the panels were un aligned. The superintendent directed the foreman to call the men down from the scaffold. The men looked at the panels and agreed that they were not in a straight line.

Episode 1

The superintendent instructed the men to tear the work down and start over and to do the work as instructed. The union steward and his partner were not happy that they had to rework the panels. The supt. advised the men that the company doesn’t accept inferior work, even if it’s done by their own workforce.

Episode 2

The steward apparently took offence and began a slow down of production on his work. The carpenter Forman was instructed to talk to the workers regarding the slow down.The superintendent called the crew, carpenters and laborers and held a meeting to address the increase in labor cost of the past few weeks.

Carpenters were asked if they had any suggestions why labor costs were increasing. One carpenter spoke out with a comment which was a good idea and comment to consider. The laborers said nothing.

The superintendent began speaking. If the laborers allow carpenters to get their own materials and not utilize them as runners, the company don’t need laborers. If the carpenters don’t utilize the laborers than they will have to work harder to make production cost estimates.

Moral of story is that carpenters utilize laborers for non productive work and carpenters concentrate on productive work.

Episode 3

Union steward and partner again in slow down mode. Superintendent had a discussion with the foreman and it was decided to discharge the union job steward at the end of the day.

The next morning the foreman, union job steward’s partner and carpenter union business agent entered the field superintendent’s office trailer . A recent confrontation on another job site with the carpenter BA and the supt. prompted the BA to say ‘’ oh, it’s you again ‘’.

It is the same old story again, the BA recites the union agreement regarding laying off a steward and presents his case. The supt explains the reasons as to why the steward was laid off. The BA asks the foreman and the steward’s partner if the allegations are true. They both have no negative response, confirm the supt’s remarks and the result is that the BA has no case against the general contractor.

The BA appointed the steward’s partner to be the new job steward. The worker responded ‘’ I don’t want the job’’.

It was a first time for the foreman to hear that an appointed worker refused the appointment to be the job steward for the union. A new job steward later was appointed by the BA. The incident was closed to the satisfaction of the union and the contractor. The project was completed on time with the participation and good work of all union tradesman on the job.

In the construction industry on union project jobs , a job steward is appointed by the local area trade union business agent ( BA).The union steward job is to uphold union work rules and protect the rights of the worker on the jobsite. Management chooses a superintendent or a foreman to supervise the workers, protect the rights of an employer and complete the construction of the project.

Trade union agreements between the employer and the union includes a provision that a union steward performing union related business activities can not be discharged

Hoping that the story was informative and enjoyed.

Your Author

Jon Ewall


Jon's website http://chicagoconsultant.com

Your author is a online marketing consultant of products offered on the internet. Jon’s website blog contains a variety of interesting subjects and articles that he has written

Comments 12 comments

Stu From VT 5 years ago


Great Hub. It really illustrates the logic of unions. If they see good performance, they have to sabotage it. Otherwise, the good example threatens the overpay and featherbedding at the "normal" union worksites. And that in turn threatens union dues, union boss pay, and money available to bribe government for legal favors and taxpayer funded cash injections.


JON EWALL profile image

JON EWALL 5 years ago from usa Author

Stu From VT

It’s all about the union's mentality. Today it's worst in the public sector because they have bought the politicians. The private sector union members need to wake up. The only gift they are getting from Obama are extended unemployment checks and that will be ending sooner than later.

Stu From VT 5 years ago

Hi Jon,

You are right. While private sector unionization is way down (about 7% of private sector workers are unionized), members of these unions in the skilled trades expect to be compensated like junior managers. This is one reason skilled American jobs are being outsourced.


JON EWALL profile image

JON EWALL 5 years ago from usa Author


''Are UNIONS THE ANSWER to the problems we face in our country today?'' check out this link

StosselUpdates John Stossel Updates

Unions (Fox News Special, Sunday 8pm ET) http://fxn.ws/j7X1Pr

Springboard profile image

Springboard 5 years ago from Wisconsin

A glaring example why all unions must be abolished. We may see a slight decrease in wages and benefits in the short term, but I think free markets can prevail without unions, and eventually free markets can do their work without the unions and dictate higher wages and higher benefits—because they'll need to pay them to be competitive, and because if the free markets are working, they'll be able to afford to pay them as well. Unions have always stifled productivity and I think in many ways, it has lead us, in part, to the state we are in now. Regulations imposed by the government hurt jobs and hurt workers, and so do unions because all they are, really, are regulators.

Stu From VT 5 years ago

Springboard - excellent post!! Stu

Springboard profile image

Springboard 5 years ago from Wisconsin

Thanks Stu. :)

JON EWALL profile image

JON EWALL 5 years ago from usa Author


Recently workers at a Wallmart in New York voted NOT to

have the union represent them. IT WAS THE UNIONS 3RD TRY. Kudos for those workers who understand that a bird in hand is more than 3 in the bush. UNIONS destroy JOBS.TODAY, workers are in competition throughout the world for jobs. The jobs will leave the US because of government regulations, higher taxes and higher union wages. Wallmart told the employees that if they wanted the union, the company would have no choice but to lay off workers. I guess the workers stuck together and decided that it was better to be employed than to be collecting unemployment checks.

tom hellert profile image

tom hellert 5 years ago from home


I have been there, the Unions eat their own before giving up anythingthe walMart vote shows promise that people are waking up to math-Unionization =0 jobs when the company closes down and moves and then they blame the companies...



wba108@yahoo.com profile image

wba108@yahoo.com 5 years ago from upstate, NY

Jon- It has to be a major distraction for businesses to have to deal with union politics and handle these folks with kit gloves. Thanks for this insider view of union relations!-WBA

JON EWALL profile image

JON EWALL 5 years ago from usa Author


I have written some other articles on my adventures with the unions in the 70’s, 80’s and 90’s. The private sector unions are small in number today. The dangers today are the public sector unions. The way the public sector works is that elected officials ( who have no skin in the game ) negotiates union contracts. Many of those officials are union affiliated and in part backed with union money. The hidden fringe benefits are causing city, state and other public funded entities to wake up. The taxpayers are discovering the real costs of what the union members are being paid.

A LOT OF THE STIMULUS package funding went to the public sector to retain union members and under funded union pensions.

Check this out ‘’ Stupid in America ‘’ by John Stossel



On Thurs., Sept 22, 2011,at 9:00pm ET Fox News and Google are sponsoring the Republican Presidential debate from Florida. AN OPEN FORUM DISCUSSION

JON EWALL profile image

JON EWALL 4 years ago from usa Author


We the people are finding out that public sector unions are bankrupting cities , towns and states. Obama, champion of the middle class (public sector unions ) will be our President for the next 4 years. the mainstream media is commenting on Obama's accomplishments of the past 4 years.Somehow their facts seem to be a little brighter than the facts.

2009 unemployment 7.8%, today 7.8%. there are 8.3 million less workers than jan. 2009. the obama investments, $1 trillion stimulus, $700 billion tarp and $6 trillion deficit spending in 4 years.The Senate and the President have yet to pass a budget in 4 years.

Just a different view of success and failure.

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