Should emergency leave be granted for union meeting?

Maintenance Department Carpenter Grade I Harold Newsome approached his supervisor's desk. "What's on your mind, Newsome?" "I'd like to request authorization for an emergency leave so that I can attend the union meeting tomorrow.
By Raymond Dreyfack August 1, 1999

Maintenance Department Carpenter Grade I Harold Newsome approached his supervisor’s desk.

“What’s on your mind, Newsome?”

“I’d like to request authorization for an emergency leave so that I can attend the union meeting tomorrow.”

Maintenance Supervisor Joe Quinn frowned. “Sounds to me like an excuse to get out of work. To qualify as an emergency, the reason for a leave is defined in the labor agreement as ‘personal and compelling.’ There’s nothing special about tomorrow’s union meeting so far as I can tell. How do you figure it fits the definition?”

“It’s special to me,” Newsome said. “They’ll be discussing issues that affect my job.”

Quinn didn’t see it that way and refused to approve the leave request.

Newsome replied darkly, “I’m gonna take this to a higher court.”

Assuming that Newsome planned to complain to the plant steward, Quinn decided to take it up with his boss.

Question: Concluding that the worker’s request wasn’t a valid emergency, was Quinn justified in turning him down?

Roth’s decision: “You’re correct,” Plant Engineer George Roth told the supervisor after being filled in on the incident, “in that it would take a stretch of the imagination to define Newsome’s attendance at that meeting as an emergency. But on the one hand, this issue is too picayune to warrant getting into a hassle over. And on the other, prior experience in responding to such requests shows the company to have been pretty flexible. Should this turn into a grievance, Newsome would have a good chance of winning on the basis of past practice alone. Grant him the leave and make him happy.”