Unions?

Discussion in 'Professional Chefs' started by jim berman, Oct 21, 2001.

  1. jim berman

    jim berman

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    I am interested in feedback on working with unions. Anybody involved in a union shop? Any positive/negative experiences to share? Any insight you could share would be helpful. Thanks!
     
  2. chefboy2160

    chefboy2160

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    Hey Jim , I worked as a restaurant chef in a large multi outlet hotel and casino where the culinary dpt. was union and it had its moments . At first it was a little intimidating because there are a
    lot of rules which you as a manager must follow . Also I found that you realy had to moniter the staff closely because there was a large segment of the employees who had what we called the union mentality. You would hear " thats not my job " more times than we realy cared to. Sadly it often seemed that you were spending more time as a manager and less time as a chef .
    The good points are the insurance is normally tops , Your wages are higher , and because you pay a good wage you can attract good people to work for you . Also once you learn the rules you find that they were written for the management to ensure the customers satisfaction . I realy learned a lot of management skills working 2 years in a union house and they have been very helpfull to me as I have progressed through my carreer . I am glad to have done it . Good luck and keep cooking .
     
  3. jim berman

    jim berman

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    Thanks for the info. I have been a little intimidated by the prospect of being a manager in a union house. The story of "not my job" is what I fear; the threat of a grievance filed against a manager seems like a pretty horrific nightmare. However, I would agree that the experience you get from the 'raised bar' of managing by-the-book is mostly positive.
    This is the kind of information I am looking for. Thanks, again!
    -Jim
     
  4. chefboy2160

    chefboy2160

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    Hey Jim ; Thats the way to go . Good attitude! Remember that in a service industry you as the management have to talk the talk and walk the walk . As long as you keep a professional appearence and continue to raise the bar how can anybody give you a problem ? Stay the course and you will learn how another aspect of the customer service biz works . Remember without our customers how would we or our staff recieve our paychecks .
    I never stop focusing on customer service and after being a high school drop out and not knowing what I wanted to do with my life I found out that any body who wants to learn this biz can really do it and do it well . If you live by these rules how can your staff do anything less than try to live up to them .
    Good luck to you and remember to keep cooking .
     
  5. lynne

    lynne

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    Jim,

    Chefboy has some good advice.

    The main thing is to have respect for your employees so that they in turn can respect you.

    Be consistent! Which with 15 things going on at any given moment that can be difficult. Be consistent, clear about expectations, but also document everything!

    I spent a lot of time with my first union shop management position learning the system -- and prehaps one of my proudest moments was when I had had a grievence filed against me and another union employee went to bat for me with the union (because of respect, consistency).

    Yes, you will hear "it's not my job." expect it, and now how to deal with it -- often union job descriptions have a phrase in there about "any reasonable task as set forth by management" As long as you are not consistency asking someone to work "above their grade level" you should be fine.

    Show confidence and not intimidation and you'll be fine!