Presidents Report

UFCW Local 1167

Rick Bruer

Watch what you say

Imagine a schoolboy wanting to pick a fight with another schoolboy. He puts a block of wood on his own shoulder and dares the other boy to knock it off. The ritual usually concludes with fists flying.
This is where the old expression, “He has a chip on his shoulder,” comes from. It means a person is ready to fight at any pretext. 
People don’t use the expression a lot any more, but folks today — both men and women — seem more willing than ever to fight over provocations big and small.
Take a glance at your social media feed, where any social miscue, from a  road rage incident to a homeless person asking for change in front of a supermarket, is magnified into a major cause for social resentment.  
We already have enough genuine causes for outrage in our society. Racism, sexism, sexual harassment, ageism, homophobia and bullying are among the truly important issues being brought to the fore.
Such things have no legitimate place in our society, especially within our workplaces.
My point here is that we must all be aware that our words and actions have the power to hurt people, whether they have “chips on their shoulders” or not. And when we fail to be careful about what we say and do, the consequences can be severe.

Almost every workplace has a well-defined policy prohibiting harassment and bullying of any kind. Failure to follow such a policy can get a person disciplined or even prosecuted.
You may have said something that you believe was a friendly jest shared with someone who may have a different racial, religious or ethnic background. You might have teased a person about gender differences or sexual preferences. 
None of that matters. Regardless of your intentions, the wrong words from your mouth will get you in big trouble.
Here’s my advice: Don’t joke around with this stuff — ever. Think about what you want to say before you say it.
If you say something you and your friends think is funny today, it doesn’t mean it will be funny tomorrow. Standards about what is acceptable can change on a daily basis. 
Many of us are still learning the rules of behavior in our new world. Sometimes it’s best to respond to an inappropriate statement with a firm but polite correction, something like, “Come on, you know that’s not the right thing to say.”
But if the problem turns out to be harassment or a pattern of inappropriate comments, your union is ready to help you. We take such things seriously. If you have a problem with one or more of your co-workers, please contact your steward and Union Rep before it escalates. Sometimes it is best to settle differences within the union “family.”
We live in a difficult time when we need to be extra careful. Please speak and act accordingly. And when you are in doubt, choose kindness over anger, generosity over retribution, and compassion over resentment.
The holiday season reminds us to promote peace and brotherly/sisterly love wherever we can — at work, in the home, on the street and on your social media platforms.
From all of us at UFCW Local 1167, we wish you happy holidays and a joyous year ahead



Be strong. Be united!

YOU are UFCW Local 1167!