Is it fair to eliminate an obsoleted job classification?

Jim Algorth was the last of a breed. On his retirement, the classification of Service Equipment Mechanic became obsolete in this small to mid-size plant.

06/01/1998


Jim Algorth was the last of a breed. On his retirement, the classification of Service Equipment Mechanic became obsolete in this small to mid-size plant. Mechanic Grades I and II covered all mechanical service functions, including the skilled work covered by Jim's long experience.

With Jim gone, Maintenance Supervisor Jeff Lane shifted his duties to Grade I mechanics who were qualified to handle them.

This drew a quick protest from Plant Steward Jack Delman, who accused Lane of violating the contract. "You can't unilaterally eliminate a job classification."

"You gotta be kidding," Lane replied. "What's to eliminate? The classification eliminated itself; it's a virtual duplication of the Grade I category. We only retained it out of respect for Jim Algorth. When he retired..."

"It's not that simple," Delman persisted. "The classification is on the books and calls for a higher wage rate than Grade I. If you want to eliminate it, boost the Grade I rate to the Service Equipment Mechanic level. Otherwise, it's a negotiable change."

"The only reason the rate is higher," Lane tried to explain, "is because Jim has been in the department since the beginning of time."

Delman shrugged. "That's immaterial. You're still in violation."

"I think you're mistaken," Lane said, "but I'll check it out to make sure."

Question : What's your opinion? Can the obsolete classification be eliminated without consulting the union?

Frankel's verdict: "I think we're pretty much up a tree on this one," Plant Engineer George Frankel told Lane when filled in on the details. "The labor agreement states specifically that job descriptions and classifications are to remain unchanged unless both management and the union agree otherwise. In the absence of this restriction, we would be free to eliminate the classification. Since it exists, we'll have to thrash it out with the union."





Top Plant
The Top Plant program honors outstanding manufacturing facilities in North America. View the 2017 Top Plant.
Product of the Year
The Product of the Year program recognizes products newly released in the manufacturing industries.
System Integrator of the Year
Each year, a panel of Control Engineering and Plant Engineering editors and industry expert judges select the System Integrator of the Year Award winners in three categories.
February 2018
2017 Product of the Year winners, retrofitting a press, IMTS and Hannover Messe preview, natural refrigerants, testing steam traps
March 2018
SCCR, 2018 Maintenance study, and VFDs in a washdown environment.
Jan/Feb 2018
Welding ergonomics, 2017 Salary Survey, and surge protection
April 2018
ROVs, rigs, and the real time; wellsite valve manifolds; AI on a chip; analytics use for pipelines
February 2018
Focus on power systems, process safety, electrical and power systems, edge computing in the oil & gas industry
December 2017
Product of the Year winners, Pattern recognition, Engineering analytics, Revitalize older pump installations
April 2018
Implementing a DCS, stepper motors, intelligent motion control, remote monitoring of irrigation systems
February 2018
Setting internal automation standards
December 2017
PID controllers, Solar-powered SCADA, Using 80 GHz radar sensors

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

The Maintenance and Reliability Coach's blog
Maintenance and reliability tips and best practices from the maintenance and reliability coaches at Allied Reliability Group.
One Voice for Manufacturing
The One Voice for Manufacturing blog reports on federal public policy issues impacting the manufacturing sector. One Voice is a joint effort by the National Tooling and Machining...
The Maintenance and Reliability Professionals Blog
The Society for Maintenance and Reliability Professionals an organization devoted...
Machine Safety
Join this ongoing discussion of machine guarding topics, including solutions assessments, regulatory compliance, gap analysis...
Research Analyst Blog
IMS Research, recently acquired by IHS Inc., is a leading independent supplier of market research and consultancy to the global electronics industry.
Marshall on Maintenance
Maintenance is not optional in manufacturing. It’s a profit center, driving productivity and uptime while reducing overall repair costs.
Lachance on CMMS
The Lachance on CMMS blog is about current maintenance topics. Blogger Paul Lachance is president and chief technology officer for Smartware Group.
Maintenance & Safety
The maintenance journey has been a long, slow trek for most manufacturers and has gone from preventive maintenance to predictive maintenance.
Industrial Analytics
This digital report explains how plant engineers and subject matter experts (SME) need support for time series data and its many challenges.
IIoT: Operations & IT
This digital report will explore several aspects of how IIoT will transform manufacturing in the coming years.
Randy Steele
Maintenance Manager; California Oils Corp.
Matthew J. Woo, PE, RCDD, LEED AP BD+C
Associate, Electrical Engineering; Wood Harbinger
Randy Oliver
Control Systems Engineer; Robert Bosch Corp.
Data Centers: Impacts of Climate and Cooling Technology
This course focuses on climate analysis, appropriateness of cooling system selection, and combining cooling systems.
Safety First: Arc Flash 101
This course will help identify and reveal electrical hazards and identify the solutions to implementing and maintaining a safe work environment.
Critical Power: Hospital Electrical Systems
This course explains how maintaining power and communication systems through emergency power-generation systems is critical.
click me