'Super' absentees may face 'severe' discipline
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Can a Pittsburgh steelworker be sacked for missing work to watch the Pittsburgh Steelers in Super Bowl XLV or to nurse a Super Bowl-sized hangover the next day?
Employees of U.S. Steel's Mon Valley Works have an invitation to find out.
The steel producer this week warned workers at its Clairton, Irvin and Edgar Thomson plants, as well as the Fairless mill near Philadelphia, that anyone missing work Sunday or Monday "without just cause ... will be subject to severe disciplinary action."
The threat elicited a tongue-in-cheek response from USW International vice president Tom Conway. He called the warning "ham handed."
"I'm concerned that since [Mon Valley employee relations manager] Preston [Henderson] hails from the Philly region, he may not be as flexible and that this is just some kind of Eagles sour grapes being displayed here," Mr. Conway wrote in an e-mail to Mr. Henderson, U.S. Steel general counsel James D. Garraux and Donald C. Rizer, another employee relations executive.
The e-mail featured alternating paragraphs of black and gold type.
Mr. Conway proposed adjusting work schedules by enlisting volunteers for Super Bowl duty and making up any production lost during Sunday's 3 to 11 p.m. shift over the coming week. He also suggested a post-game party for the Sunday shift workers at U.S. Steel's training center in Duquesne, where they could watch a replay of the game.
"This would be a better approach to this weekend than your threat of SEVERE discipline ... whatever that means," Mr. Conway wrote.
U.S. Steel spokeswoman Erin DiPietro declined comment.
"We don't publicly discuss employee relations matters," she said.
First Published February 4, 2011 12:00 am