When Did Integrity Become Unpopular?

When did integrity become unpopular? When did doing the right thing become something of the past? These are questions I ask myself these days. Growing up I was taught by my Grandfather and my Dad that I come from a long line of people that stand up for people who cannot, for whatever reason, cannot stand up for themselves. We always do things the right way, even when it is inconvenient. Even if it makes us unpopular, we stand up for what we believe is right. Because in the end, when you are standing in front of God, you have to answer for not doing the right thing. Just because you can do something doesn’t make it right, just because it is not illegal doesn’t make it moral.
Being raised the way I was, becoming a Union Steward was a perfect fit, at least that is what I thought. Working in the core telephone company, I didn’t see members (that is how we refer to dues paying union members) taking advantage of lower seniority people. Seniority was and continues to be respected by the members. When I moved to a subsidiary, I began seeing things that were questionable. You expect management to try and get away with skirting around seniority, but you don’t expect your peers to do it. I admit it took me a long time to see this particular thing.
But when I did, I questioned it, I was told this was just the way it was. I became a Union Steward, I fully admit, since this did not effect me, I didn’t pay that much attention. Last year, I noticed someone with very high seniority, who had vacation the week of Thanksgiving, has signed up for Thanksgiving Day and the day after. I asked her about this, I said aren’t you going to be in California. She said oh I took that shift for someone else, and she named the person. This person was much lower in seniority than I. I said you took a shift I could have gotten with my seniority and worked and gave it to someone with lower seniority? I was furious, so I began to pay attention and talk to other members. I was told there was another union steward that does this every holiday. He takes a shift, he has no intention of working, so he can give it to a lower seniority person that would never get that shift otherwise. Thus making sure the people in between never have the opportunity to get that shift. Seniority was circumvented. Later after the holidays I spoke to the chief steward regarding this situation. I talked for two hours before she seemed to understand how this circumvented seniority, even though she had been an offender herself. She said she would speak with the one who was the most obvious offender.
Well, a year went by, no one came to me, thus I thought he had stopped. This Thanksgiving, someone said I believe he has done it again, so I checked and sure enough, he took a shift he had no intention of working with the intent to give it to the same person with lower seniority. What makes it obvious is that it is the same person every time.
I sent a text to the chief, who was clearly irritated I would not let this go. She finally said are you just pissed you didn’t think of it yourself, I would have done it for you. I said the difference is I would never have asked. She then went on to say she saw nothing wrong with it and I was ordered to let it go.
I talked it over with the Irishman, he was very angry with the situation as well, and it does not effect him. He wrote a post on her Facebook wall, which she ignored for almost a week, then when she did answer it was filled with double speak and political correctness. She deleted his post. So he created a note and posted it to his Facebook, I shared the note, as I thought it was well written and stated nothing but fact. I was attacked on my Facebook by two people. Please note I was not the one who wrote the note, however I was the one attacked for it. I was called classless for sharing it.
I then spoke with the chief who threatened to sue me if I did not take it down. I resigned from being a union steward, I am not afraid of being sued as everything that was said was the truth, however I was tired of fighting for something that people in power had no problem with.
I have thought about this for a long time, I am disgusted by the behavior of circumventing something that is so precious to us. It is all we have really, I have worked hard for mine, which my chief said I did not, I simply showed up to work and filled a seat and managed to not get fired.
I want to know when it became ok to treat people like they don’t matter, that what they have worked for doesn’t matter. Those are questions I would like answered. I can only surmise that not everyone had a dad and a grandfather like mine.

One Reply to “When Did Integrity Become Unpopular?”

  1. It became unpopular when the government said it was their job to take care of you.
    Even though I’m still a member of a union (hanging by a small thread), I see the bad sides. I see the people who are supposed to be my representative abuse their seniority. This is why I totally believe in ability and work be more important than the ability to not get fired. Sure, there are a lot of good people with seniority (I’m engaged to one of the good ones), but it only takes one or two bad ones, followed by leadership apathy to poison everything.


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