The Results are in! Member feedback on “To Pee or Not to Pee”

January 27, 2020 - On Dec 11th we sent a communication detailing members reporting that they are no longer allowed to use company time for a Bio Break, while other members report they are not having any “blow back”. 

We sought member feedback for a better picture of whether many individuals were impacted or if there were just a few cases here and there that we had heard about.

We received over 100 responses. 81 members indicated that they had been impeded from going to the washroom by management when they needed to, to some degree. 10 members indicated they were having no problems and the remaining responses were not on topic.

We are in the process of contacting each member who provided their contact information for further assistance. In particular, members could have medical considerations which should be taken into account by management.

We would like to thank all members who responded. Member feedback allows us to quantify if there is an issue to be addressed.

Based on members’ feedback we strongly believe this is an issue that needs to be addressed.

The feedback shows there is no consistency between managers and or departments. It has also been suggested that the reason why there is push back for using Aux Emergency is due to the Aux Emergency code negatively impacting managers’ stats. 

Some direct feedback from members included:

“I have never used the bathroom on company time. Frankly, I’m afraid to.” 

“The policy I’ve been told is we have a 0% allotment for personal/emergency time including bio breaks, and if we don’t want to show up on a report, not to ever use that call state. I have not been reprimanded by my manager, but I am very careful not to use that state.”

“We were told the 6 mins we have per day was not bio breaks but “emergency time” and that, there isn’t an emergency every single day.” 

“We were told that if we need to use the bathroom more than whatever they feel is an appropriate amount that we should provide them with a doctor’s note in order to be excused.”

“I am not specifically told not to pee but that I have to work on my “emergency” time which means I go to the bathroom too much. This has been mentioned several times in one on one sessions. It is degrading when someone says I basically go to the bathroom too much.”

“My manager has told us we are no longer allowed to use Aux Emergency to go to the bathroom and must utilize our breaks for this and if we can’t wait then we have to tell them or the OCM if they are not in office.” 

“Working in a call center I find that it’s very hard to wait almost 3 hours sometimes for a glass of water or to use the washroom.”

Generally, the feedback shows two tendencies:

1) That use of Aux Emergency is permitted however, there is a max limit of 30 minutes a month or face being spoken to.
2) That members are told never to use Aux Emergency for a bio break and instead take a break earlier than scheduled.

It also appears from member feedback there are some extreme cases, such as members being told that if Aux Emergency is used the member must email the manager detailing when and why it was used, as well as members going against Doctors’ advice and have suffered negative consequences because they are afraid of getting into trouble.

Now that we have many examples, we'll be raising the inconsistency, and reasonableness with senior management. Please document any issues you are having with the use of “Aux Emergency”. Members should contact a shop steward if they would like union assistance in seeking a medical accommodation, or had their accommodation request denied.

Going forward, USW Local 1944 will be raising additional workplace issues and seeking member feedback. In the overall big picture, campaigns can be used to highlight issues. Bringing issues to the forefront allows members to give input, have a better understanding of what an issue is, what their rights are, and how to collectively push back instead of being singled out suffering on their own. Please stay tuned and we look forward to your future participation!

In Solidarity,

USW Local 1944