Raymond Dreyfack Contributing Editor

Articles

Lubrication June 12, 2003

Human Side – 2003-06-12 – 2003-06-12

Shift cancellation: What is management's obligation? The weather looked threatening on the one hand. On the other, business was slower than usual. Plant Engineer Murray Kreissman paid Maintenance Supervisor Tim Hanley a visit. "What do you think, Tim? Can we get by without a second shift?" "I was asking myself the same question," Hanley replied. After a short discussion Kreissman instructed Hanley to call off the second shift. Six employees were slated to clock in at 5 p.m. Hanley told Joe Fry, his assistant, to contact the men and tell them not to report. Fry telephoned five of the six without difficulty and gave them the message.

By Raymond Dreyfack Contributing Editor
Workforce Development May 6, 2003

Human Side – 2003-05-06

Safety violation: Withdraw the suspension? More often than not, discipline stands up when a safety rule is violated. Rightly so. Safety rules are set up and enforced to avoid employee injury and the loss of corporate assets.

By Raymond Dreyfack Contributing Editor
Workforce Development April 28, 2003

Human Side – 2003-04-28

Undermining associates: Can he be fired? If a plant popularity contest were held, Maintenance Planner John Tyler wouldn't have wound up at the bottom of the barrel. He would have been underneath it. The word most often used by Tyler's associates to describe him was "obnoxious." Tyler regarded himself as a superior human being and wasn't hesitant to make known not only his brilliance, but his coworkers' inferiority as well, regardless of their feelings. He was always certain what had to be done, and knew he could do it better than anyone else. Tyler was seemingly oblivious to others' response to his denigrating remarks.

By Raymond Dreyfack Contributing Editor
Workforce Development March 15, 2003

Human Side – 2003-03-15

Employee illness: Full recovery disputed After a tough bout with pneumonia, and following nine days in the hospital, Welder Grade I Tony Molinaro telephoned his boss that he was ready to return to work. "That's good news," Maintenance Foreman Al Comanche replied. "Did you get a green light from your doctor?" "No problem. The doc says I'm fit as a fiddle and ready for action.

By Raymond Dreyfack Contributing Editor
Lubrication February 15, 2003

Human Side – 2003-02-15

A man's job? Don't treat women as the weaker sex When a stock handler's job opening appeared on the bulletin board, it caught Alma Kornhauser's attention. But when the utility worker applied for the job, Maintenance Foreman Joe Sternfeld didn't take her request seriously. Kornhauser lost no time assuring him she was perfectly serious. The job would carry with it an increase in pay. Kornhauser reminded her boss she was a single mother with two kids to support.

By Raymond Dreyfack Contributing Editor
Lighting January 15, 2003

Human Side – 2003-01-15

Prohibited offenses: Must violation be on the list to warrant discipline? The plant's policy manual included a list of employee offenses likely to result in discipline up to and including termination. These included among others: Being under the influence of alcohol during working hours Theft of company property Assaulting or threatening to assault supervisors or coworkers Insubordination Violation of safety rules. Floyd McIntyre, a marginally performing welder, had been repeatedly and justifiably denied incremental wage increases over his 3 yr of employment. The worker was eloquently bitter on the subject. One day the company, in an effort to attract skilled personnel, participated in a Job Fair conducted at a nearby municipal facility. McIntyre showed up at the event and accosted several participants, sounding off on why his employer was the worst company in town to work for. When word of his action reached McIntyre's boss, Maintenance Foreman Harvey Chesnik, he promptly typed a termination notice spelling out the charge.

By Raymond Dreyfack Contributing Editor
Safety Standards December 15, 2002

Human Side – 2002-12-15

When Jeff Dugan, a former warehouseman, walked into the plant one sunny afternoon, he took Maintenance Foreman Harry Cooper by surprise. "What are you doing here?" Cooper asked. "I thought you were in the Army." Dugan had volunteered for service the week following the September 11th attack, and had been sent to the Middle East where he served in Afghanistan.

By Raymond Dreyfack Contributing Editor
Energy Efficiency & Management October 15, 2002

Human Side – 2002-10-15

Heated argument escalates: Is fighting cause for dismissal? Maintenance Foreman Jeff Arnold had been called out of town for two days. Before leaving he instructed Ted Berner, his assistant, to "keep an eye of things" while he was gone. That afternoon Group Leader Joe Salmon resented the way Berner appeared to be observing him more closely than usual. "I don't like the way you've been spying on me," he groused. "Tough luck, pal," Berner snapped back. "I'm just doing my job.

By Raymond Dreyfack Contributing Editor
Safety Standards September 15, 2002

Human Side – 2002-09-15

Assignment dispute: Must unit rep be summoned while on overtime? Saturday morning a skeleton crew was on hand working overtime. Maintenance Supervisor Joe Moody instructed Utility Worker Frank Durkin to scrub down two large tanks in the lab. The tank scrub-down was the dirtiest job in the plant. "It's not my turn," Durkin protested. Ordinarily an effort was made to split up the scrub-down as evenly as possible among the department's three utility workers. Durkin pointed out he had done a scrub-down only a week ago. "Sorry about that," Moody sympathized.

By Raymond Dreyfack Contributing Editor
Workforce Development August 8, 2002

Human Side of Engineering – 2002-08-08 – 2002-08-08

How old must one be to claim age discrimination? Utility Man Grade II Bernie Ratner was assigned to a group of employees who worked the day shift in Warehouse B. His performance rating was "Satisfactory." The way he felt about his job, however, and the way he was treated by his boss and coworkers was, in his opinion, far from satisfactory. Other workers in the five-member crew had nothing to do with him. They had lunch and snacked during break periods at a table in the employee cafeteria where Ratner was made to feel unwelcome.

By Raymond Dreyfack Contributing Editor
Safety Standards July 15, 2002

Human Side of Engineering – 2002-07-15

Can you force a blood-alcohol test? Maintenance Utility Worker Joe Breen was a loud-spoken, heavy-drinking employee. Was he classifiable as an alcoholic? Maintenance Foreman Peter Goodkin didn't know, but he didn't want to take any chances. One of Breen's jobs was to monitor the operation and performance of two separate boilers. Slipping up could have dangerous consequences. Breen returned from lunch on a particular occasion and looked somewhat bleary-eyed. Goodkin asked him, "Hey Joe, how many drinks did you have at lunch?" Breen grinned.

By Raymond Dreyfack Contributing Editor
Lubrication June 15, 2002

Human Side of Engineering – 2002-06-15

Ultimate measure to determine seniority Business had declined in recent months, and management mandated a layoff in Production, Maintenance, and other departments. In compliance, Maintenance Supervisor Edgar Lehman posted a list of three employees scheduled for the ax. One of the men, Welder Grade II Charley Devons, protested. "How come Joe Tierney is being kept on, and I'm let go?" he wanted to know. "No particular reason that I can think of other than seniority," Lehman replied. "In that case an error has been made," Devons said. "I checked it out with Tierney himself.

By Raymond Dreyfack Contributing Editor
Workforce Development May 13, 2002

Human Side of Engineering – 2002-05-13

Company takeover: Are employees entitled to severance pay? In this era of mergers and acquisitions employee fears range from job termination to loss of benefits. When a manufacturing company lost its bid to a major supplier, it agreed to sell out to the competitor. The departing owner agreed to stay on six months as a consultant. He distributed termination checks containing wages and sick benefits due, along with vacation pay entitlements.

By Raymond Dreyfack Contributing Editor
Lighting April 15, 2002

Human Side of Engineering – 2002-04-15

New hires: Think twice before guaranteeing job security Maintenance Engineer was a key job on the plant engineering flow chart. When ill health forced M.E. Jeff Lyons to resign unexpectedly, it threw the department's management into a near panic. No one on hand was qualified to fill Lyons's shoes. An ad was placed in the local paper.

By Raymond Dreyfack Contributing Editor
Workforce Development March 11, 2002

Human Side of Engineering – 2002-03-11

Lost tools: Must employee pay? The plant was well protected, and there was a guard at the gate. Maintenance Mechanic Grade II Bill Cullen couldn't remember the last time a theft had occurred. So, as he did every day, he went out to lunch without locking his tool box in his locker.

By Raymond Dreyfack Contributing Editor
Workforce Development February 15, 2002

Human Side of Engineering – 2002-02-15

Don't compare apples with oranges Electrician Grade II George Raven was more than mildly perturbed. His boss, Maintenance Foreman Pete Schiffo, was on his back again. "Get a move on, you should've finished this job an hour ago." "What are you trying to do, imitate a caterpillar?" "You're bringing down the level of productivity." "You're being paid to work, not dawdle." George was sick and tired of the abuse and decided to complain to Ed Feely, the unit's labor rep. "What's the beef?" Feely said, "Time study is a part of the labor agreement." "Maybe so, but I'm not the slowest guy in the unit, and I resent being treated like I am." "So what do you want me to do about it?" Feely asked. "If my production's going to be timed, I want to be timed fairly. I want it compared with a typical electrician, not the fastest guy in the department." "Like who?" "Like Fred Turner, for example." Feely looked skeptical, but said, "Okay, let's talk to Pete about it." When Schiffo heard Raven's demand to time his work against Turner's, he scoffed at the idea. "You have got to be kidding.

By Raymond Dreyfack Contributing Editor
Lubrication January 15, 2002

Human Side of Engineering – 2002-01-15

Does workday start at the clock or work station? Tardiness was a costly problem at a New England manufacturing plant. Most employees clocked in on time, but by the time they reached their work stations, 10 or 15 min was lost. At a management meeting it was pointed out that the labor agreement specified a workday of 8 hr with 45-min allocated for lunch. "If that's what it states in the contract," General Manager George Casey maintained, "that's what we should enforce." He suggested posting a notice informing employees who arrived at their work stations after the morning buzzer sounded that they would be docked for the time. Most executives present agreed, but the plant engineer looked leery. "What's the problem, Tom?" "Well, for one thing, the contract doesn't specify whether the workday starts at the time clock or at the work station.

By Raymond Dreyfack Contributing Editor
IIoT, Industrie 4.0 December 1, 2001

Human Side of Engineering – 2001-12-01

Quits without notice: Is he entitled to vacation pay? Maintenance Supervisor Bill Cosgrove took the call from Charley Maguire at his desk. "Hey Bill, how come I still didn't receive the check for my vacation pay. I left three weeks ago. I'm entitled to a week's accrued vacation, $416.85.

By Raymond Dreyfack Contributing Editor
Power November 1, 2001

Human Side of Engineering – 2001-11-01

Be careful what you ask in an interview Maintenance Supervisor Glen Gorsham had doubts about applicant Lou Polikoff sent to him from Personnel from the moment he set eyes on him. His application showed the experience required for the stockroom attendant's job. But for one thing, he struck Gorsham as shifty-eyed and somewhat sullen. For another, the guy walked with a severe limp which could slow him down on the job. Gorsham asked, "As a supervisor I'm obligated to inquire if you have any current or past medical problems that that could adversely affect your job performance?" The applicant's face flushed.

By Raymond Dreyfack Contributing Editor
Workforce Development October 1, 2001

Human Side of Engineering – 2001-10-01

How Open is Your Bulletin Board? The company had a longstanding reputation for freedom of speech. In fact, in the interests of good employee relations, management encouraged workers to speak their mind to get either helpful suggestions or gripes off their chest. With this goal in mind, the company bulletin board in the cafeteria was a primary source of communication. Bernie Altsheimer, 48, was a chronic complainer.

By Raymond Dreyfack Contributing Editor
Workforce Development July 1, 2001

Human Side of Engineering – 2001-07-01

A dollar buys more than status I remember it well. Early on in my career, in my twenties, I was approached by my boss. He complimented me on my work, told me how vital I was to the department, and offered to make me a supervisor. I turned him down. The "career boost" would have qualified me as an exempt employee.

By Raymond Dreyfack Contributing Editor
Workforce Development June 1, 2001

Human Side of Engineering – 2001-06-01

When can you hire an outside contractor? The labor agreement specified that existing employees be given preference to perform work assignments if they were qualified or, within a "reasonable period of time, could be taught to qualify for the work involved." The roofing repair job in question was complex.

By Raymond Dreyfack Contributing Editor
Workforce Development May 1, 2001

Human Side of Engineering – 2001-05-01

Does excused absence invalidate holiday pay? President's Day fell on a Monday. During that weekend, Milton Resnick's uncle Harry passed away. The funeral was on Tuesday and Resnick called his boss, Maintenance Supervisor Tom Lincoln, and asked permission to take the day off. "No problem," Lincoln replied and expressed condolences for Resnick's loss.

By Raymond Dreyfack Contributing Editor
Lubrication February 1, 2001

Human Side of Engineering – 2001-02-01

In the October 2000 issue of Plant Engineering, Human Side of Engineering presented "Uncommon side: The fearful fringe freak-Part I.

By Raymond Dreyfack Contributing Editor
Workforce Development December 1, 2000

Human Side of Engineering – 2000-12-01

Tightening up on gun control With public concern over firearm-related violence mounting, companies are tightening up on enforcement of gun- toting rules.

By Raymond Dreyfack Contributing Editor
Safety Standards November 1, 2000

Human Side of Engineering – 2000-11-01

Rules are guidelines, not straightjackets Group Leader Mark Chernoff yelled after Electrician Grade II Fred Baseman, "Hey, where are you going? It's only 3:00." Baseman paid him no heed.

By Raymond Dreyfack Contributing Editor
Workforce Development October 1, 2000

Human Side of Engineering – 2000-10-01 – 2000-10-01

In this issue, Human Side of Engineering offers another case of "The Uncommon Side." This feature presents incidents drawn from actual situations faced by plant engineers that are of a special or unusual nature.

By Raymond Dreyfack Contributing Editor
Workforce Development April 1, 2000

Human Side of Engineering – 2000-04-01 – 2000-04-01

In this issue, Human Side of Engineering offers another case of "The Uncommon Side." This feature presents incidents drawn from actual situations faced by plant engineers that are of a special or unusual nature. Each presentation is in two parts.

By Raymond Dreyfack Contributing Editor