BLUF: What should I do to avoid a union compiaint that all should be treated the same regardless of performance?
I try to reward people based on their performance. Because salaries are part of a union negotiation (equal percent raise for all union employees) my reward system is somewhat limited. I have managed to treat extra's such as schedule flexibility, conferences/trainings, and exposure to senior leaders as a limited reward system for high performers. I have also avoided any formal complaints with union staff who used to work directly for me. Other supervisors who work for me have not had the same success avoiding complaints from their union staff.
Allowing a high performer to work a flexible schedule while not allowing other to work a flexible schedule has been perceived as "unfair" - which has been cause for past grievances that management has lost. I have not been part of a grievance, so there is a bit of an unknown fear for me. Some of the supervisors who work for me have been part of grievances (some have been upheld and other have been dismissed - all prior to my current position in my current role).
I have 53 staff (4 directs). Of the 53, about 40 are mandated to be in the union. Of those 40 only about 5 make use of the union - usually to file compaints, grievances, and the like.
The most common complaint I hear is: "So and so can do blah blah blah - I should be able to do that too." It is usually related to tardiness, but has also included training.
As a side note: Mark told me, at a conference, "Unions are a kanard! Unions are a result of the failure of management" I agree. I have heard him say, "Life is not fair! Stop looking for life to be fair." I fully and adamantly agree. I do not think I can use those statements as part of a defense though. I would prefer an offense, instead of a defense.
What should I do to prevent that management failure? What should I do to avoid a union compiaint that all should be treatly the same regardless of performance? More importantly, what should I coach the supervisors who work for me to do so they can avoid a union compiaint?