Terror On The Job - Monroe Power Plant


   South Area Power Plant Truck Driver, Jim, went on vacation July. 28th 2006. He returned from vacation and went back to work on Aug. 8,2006. It was at that time he noticed the Trenton Channel Power Plant Supply Chain Supervisor would not speak to him whenever he had to go into the office to get his days information. The Supervisor's silence was sending Jim the message something was wrong, and even though this bothered Jim he just let it go, figuring at some point the Supervisor would tell him what was on his mind. NOTE: At the time of this writing, early October 2006, the Trenton Channel Power Plant Supply Chain Supervisor is assigned to the Regional Warehouse Committee and is the temporary Monroe Power Plant Supply Chain Supervisor.


   On Aug. 18th, Jim was asked to meet with the Supervisor so the Supervisor could inform Jim of how he wanted things done. Dave, Jim's Committeeman was asked by Management to be present at the meeting because the Supervisor said he didn't want to meet with Jim alone. During the meeting, the Supervisor preceded to tell Jim that he was to be notified of all extra driving for the other plants and he had sent out an email to all of the south area Supervisors telling them to let the Monroe Power Plant Supply Chain Supervisor know of anything they needed Jim to do.


  The Supervisor told Jim he needed notification of all other requested pick up's or deliveries, and if time and traffic permitted, he would let Jim know if he could make the pick up or delivery or if alternate measures would have to be taken. Jim said there were times that this could not be done, for instance if Jim was to receive a phone call while traveling down the middle of I-75 at 60 or 70 miles an hour, it would difficult to pull over and do the transaction as the Supervisor wanted Jim to do. Jim told his Supervisor he needed to learn to trust him to do the job as safely and conscientiously as the other Supervisors have done in the past, and pointed out to the Supervisor that he, Jim, was a self motivated employee. The Supervisors expectations suggest Jim is incompetent to do his job without someone baby-sitting him. Jim feels he is fully capable of deciding which stops he can do safely and timely, without driving in an unsafe manner and putting himself or the public in danger? After 7 years in his current position there have been no instances of Jim abusing time or Company equipment. The Supply Chain Supervisor then looked Jim in the eye and said "NOT ONLY DO I NOT TRUST YOU, I DON'T LIKE YOU".


   This confirmed Jim's original suspicions that his Supervisor did in fact have an issue, however Jim was surprised by the Supervisor's statements of dislike and distrust. Jim turned to the his Committeeman, and said that he doesn't know how to respond to that and he felt the statement was threatening. Jim's Committeeman agreed and why shouldn't he? The Supervisor's statement did seem to one aimed at creating a hostile work environment. After 28 years with the Company and never having a problem like this, either in the Operations Group from which Jim came, or with anyone in Supply Chain since moving over to Stores 7 years ago, you can imagine Jim's surprise at this remark. He felt so insulted and threatened by the statements of the Supply Chain Supervisor, he and his Committeeman got up and left the office.  


   Jim was beside himself at the remarks made at the meeting, which weighed so heavily on his mind he called EAP on the way home. Even after days of inner reflection and self examination, Jim began questioning his own abilities and self worth, which was getting Jim nowhere. With this bearing on Jim's mind constantly, and Jim being prideful of how well he does his job, he began to wonder how working under these hostile conditions was going to affect not only his ability to do his job, but more importantly, how far would the Supply Chain Supervisor go to negatively affect Jim's employment with the company. Don't forget the Supply Chain Supervisors statement to Jim and Jim's Committeeman of, "NOT ONLY DO I NOT TRUST YOU, I DON'T LIKE YOU".


   I've never known the Company to stand behind actions and statements made by a loose cannon. Granted there are many loose cannon's in the Company prone to making ludicrous statements, but previously Management has always had the wisdom to make sure they don't make their way into Management ranks, unless of course this is the wave of the future, the new DTE. This is not simply a statement made in "the heat of the moment", because there wasn't a moment to have heat. It was just a meeting called by Management to discuss their expectations with an employee. This is what the worker and the Union initially perceived the meeting to be about, that was until they got into the meeting and were shocked to find this wasn't the case.


   Now it's obvious this was an orchestrated event designed to deliver a vicious attack and set the stage for future attacks on an innocent employee. The Supply Chain Supervisor, after setting the stage to establish a hostile environment, appears to be wasting no time laying the ground work expanding his personal assault on Jim by saying he himself is afraid of Jim. The Supervisor says he works late nights and is afraid Jim might "Assault Him". 


   Does the Supervisor really expect this statement to carry weight or provide cover for his outrageous statement to Jim and his committeeman? In reality, this is just an egregious expansion of his assault on Jim and all that's really been accomplished is to get Jim off the property early, thus preventing Jim from being effective in the performance of his job. We all need to start watching this man because I doubt it's his nature to assault only one of the flock and stop? People like this are usually only laying the groundwork to take their assaults to ever higher levels as is illustrated in the following 2 paragraphs.


   At one time or another, everyone has had a supervisor that either didn't like us, trust us, or as a minimum questioned our abilities. In nearly 30 years with the Company however, I have never known of a Supervisor, especially one new to a group, make a special request to have the Union present, then stand in front of a worker and his Committeeman and make such an outrageous, unprofessional, discriminatory and inflammatory statement as "NOT ONLY DO I NOT TRUST YOU, I DON'T LIKE YOU". 


   This poses a problem for not only for the employee under attack, but appears to present an open challenge to the Union as well. Why else would a Supervisor request the presence of a worker and the Union, then openly insult and verbally attack the worker and expect everyone walk away as if nothing had happened? This is the M.O. of a predator. Really, "Who set up the meeting? Who manipulated a simple meeting into something bigger? Who made the insulting statement? Was more than just the worker and his family violated or was the Union included too? Now ask yourself, who is the perpetrator here"?


   The Supervisor certainly has to realize his statement wasn't proper etiquette for a supervisor to make to a worker, or at least in my mind it wasn't. It's a major concern that the Supervisor may be trying to lure someone in their final years of employment into throwing away everything they have worked for. It appears the Supervisor is hoping he can get himself assaulted by his worker in order to bring prophesy to his words and establish a cover for his hostile intent through the hostile environment he himself has created? Is this part of the Company's PEP downsizing plan, setting people up to get fired? Even worse, as we get older and nearer to our retirement years, we're more and more prone to heart attacks and other health concerns. What if the employee gets stressed and develops health problems and dies as a result of that stress? Would Management care? Probably not. However Jim's Supervisor would likely see that as a plus. Now that's what I really call uncomfortable Tony.


  Under ordinary circumstances I'd say this is a classic case of someone demonstrating their lack of CORE VALUES. However, you have to keep in mind that this is a Management person. As has been demonstrated in the past, Management personnel normally aren't subject to the CORE VALUES process, nor do they have consequences for violating CORE VALUES because CORE VALUES are non-existent for them. CORE VALUES apply only Represented employees and low level non-reps. Obviously this just another case of Management demonstrating they can be as disrespectful and discourteous as they desire toward the Represented workforce. The hardest part to swallow is how Management seems to relish demonstrating 1st, they aren't subject to "Zero Tolerance and Core Values", then 2nd, they rub our noses in it by putting one of us at risk in the process?


   I realize we have all have had negative feelings about a fellow employee or two at some time or another; however we don't go around making things worse by setting up a situation where so many hard feelings and bring so much hostility to the work environment. It isn't that what we were taught at home, it isn't what we were taught at school and it isn't what is being taught at most places of employment, that is with the possible exception of DTE. Generally we just bite our tongues and walk away. I think the words and actions of the Supervisor demonstrates how much integrity is inherent in the ranks 1st, 2nd and 3rd line DTE Management? NONE. I think it also demonstrates how much most 1st, 2nd and 3rd DTE Management really care and respect their employees? Again, NONE.


   After 28 years on the job, after 28 years of dedication, after 28 years of maintaining a good work record, and in what is likely his final 2 years, Jim is now placed in the position of having to be terrified and worried a Supervisor who in all likelihood is void of scruples, a Supervisor who's obvious poor disposition, may stack the deck by putting untruths into Jim's record and try to take away from Jim and his family, as much as he can of what Jim has earned through his 28 years as an employee. This is a Supervisor who has already created a hostile environment in order to establish potential illegitimate disciplinary scenarios. This is a Supervisor who refuses to talk to Jim and air things out. This is a Supervisor who may be doing all this just to perpetrate a phony case against an innocent employee?


   Is this terror part of the NEW DTE mentality? Is the ability to create terror a requirement in the new wave of DTE Supervisors? Is terror part of the change DTE says is coming?  This sure makes me terribly uncomfortable, so it looks like your plan is working Tony.


Bonnie Fitzgerald

Monroe Power Plant


This page originally uploaded 10/12/06.

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