“I defended you!” the union rep said to me at the most recent union meeting. Out of the blue.
Defending me is her job as a union rep. But in her role as hospital employee, her job is to screw me over whenever she can. I think this is a conflict of interest, but nobody else seems to mind.
“Defended me against what?” I inquired, cautiously.
“Against Celia’s emails,” the rep proudly declared.
“Well, it doesn’t really concern you,” the rep answered.
“If you say that you had to defend me against them, then it concerns me,” I said. “Please forward all of those emails to me.”
“No,” she sneered. “I just told you it doesn’t concern you. Celia is just being spiteful. She makes more money than I do and she’s still complaining.”
I mentioned the emails to my immediate supervisor.
“Oh yes!” she replied. “I defended you.”
Her defending me was also unheard of. And still is.
She said she could not forward me the emails. Instead, she read me what she wrote, which included gems such as, “Enid does whatever she wants and I have no control over her” and “I watch in horror while she runs from task to task and never know what she is going to do next.”
“How is that defending me?” I asked.
She paused, then replied, “Well, I guess this is really defending me, but I had to write something.”
“Neither one of us look good in your reply,” I told her. “And everyone’s refusal to involve me in resolving this issue, when I am supposedly the problem, shows that your goal is to talk about me behind my back and not to solve any problem.”
The next day I went to see the director of the hospital. He’s a friendly man, but I can’t trust anyone. I asked him to forward the emails to me.
“They don’t concern you,” he answered. “It’s more of a problem with the process and not any one individual.”
“I’m not following you,” I tried.
“Celia was just venting,” he said. “I’ll read you some of what she wrote: When you cover the intake department, you don’t fill any beds. Most recently, you did no work except the work she told you to do and you also covered two other departments at the same time instead of focusing on just her department. Also, she wants your rate of pay lowered to the rate for a new graduate without a baccalaureate because you don’t do enough work. But don’t worry. We can’t do that because it’s against your union contract.”
This is so rotten of her. “Let me explain the most recent time I covered her office. The shift supervisor ‘forgot’ to tell me that I was covering that office until I returned from lunch. I still had a doctor coming to do rounds, so I needed to finish with him before I could get up to Celia’s office. Celia neglected to write that I inherited a jammed fax machine and had to spend an hour picking pieces of chewed paper out of the machine. The rest of the day it slowly spit out her faxes from the past two days. Her work was not important enough for her to get it out of the fax machine, but when she needed evidence against me, suddenly the faxes were very important.”
“You see,” the director said, “That is why it’s a problem with the process and not any of the individuals involved.”
“Well, the fax machine. It should have been replaced last year. And we have a new one ordered. It just hasn’t arrived yet,” the director explained.
“Celia cited a problem with me not reviewing faxes and not with the fax machine itself. Her requested resolution was not a new fax machine, but a reduction in my salary. She complained that I covered other departments at the same time, but that was my assignment from her buddy, the nursing supervisor. This is an unfounded attack against me cemented in writing,” I said.
“It’s clearly a personality and cultural conflict,” the director responded. “So there is no reason for the hospital to take any action against either of you, so don’t worry about it.”
“Celia is the one writing to the entire hospital about my supposed work deficiencies. This is not a fair fight. She is the head of a department and the shift supervisor is her friend who sets me up and then supports Celia’s complaints. I don’t care for either of them, but I do my job and keep my opinions out of hospital-wide email. She needs to do the same. To make this more even, you could tell Celia that she can’t let her work pile up all week, call out, and then blame me for not doing several days of her work in one hour. And you can tell the shift supervisor that she needs to come to work on time, get off her phone, and make assignments at the beginning of the shift, not in the middle.”
I stared at him.
“That is not going to happen,” he said.
“I know,” I said. “So we are done here.” I left.