If he can't "cut the mustard," must you transfer him?

Service Equipment Mechanic Jack Taylor had for years been a marginal performer at best. When several new tools and machines were installed in his work section, Taylor was unable to master them.


Service Equipment Mechanic Jack Taylor had for years been a marginal performer at best. When several new tools and machines were installed in his work section, Taylor was unable to master them. Having slipped below the line to the unacceptable level, Maintenance Supervisor Sam Bradley felt he had no choice but to fire him. It would be no great loss the way he viewed it.

When Bradley gave him the news, Taylor was stunned.

"Just like that! After 8 yr on the job. It ain't right."

"I'm sorry. I've got a department to run and standards to maintain. If you can't shape up, you ship out."

"I'm 53 and have a family to support. It would be hard for me to find another job. At least let me transfer back to Mechanic Grade II. I'd have no problem handling that job."

Mechanic Grade II was Taylor's original category before being upgraded to service equipment mechanic 2-yr ago.

"There are no Grade II spots open," Bradley replied.

"I'm going to see Mr. Quinn about that," Taylor said in a worried voice.

Question : In Plant Engineer Joe Quinn's shoes, how would you deal with this problem?

Quinn's decision: Quinn summoned Bradley to his office. "Sam, I can appreciate your need to get rid of Taylor if he can't handle the job. But in doing so you can't disregard the employee and human relations aspects involved. It would be different if the guy's performance was unacceptable due to poor attendance or some other violation like that. Or if he was a short-time employee. But an 8-yr veteran who is willing to take a demotion he can handle places an obligation on management to transfer him to the lower-rated job. I think you should make a spot for him."

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Annual Salary Survey

Before the calendar turned, 2016 already had the makings of a pivotal year for manufacturing, and for the world.

There were the big events for the year, including the United States as Partner Country at Hannover Messe in April and the 2016 International Manufacturing Technology Show in Chicago in September. There's also the matter of the U.S. presidential elections in November, which promise to shape policy in manufacturing for years to come.

But the year started with global economic turmoil, as a slowdown in Chinese manufacturing triggered a worldwide stock hiccup that sent values plummeting. The continued plunge in world oil prices has resulted in a slowdown in exploration and, by extension, the manufacture of exploration equipment.

Read more: 2015 Salary Survey

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