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Is being the QMS Representative and a Union Member a conflict?



Hi all!

I've been at my current job for almost 2 years now - when I was hired, I was told that the position was a union position. When I told people where I was going and that I was union - lots of people said to me "Wow - that's a bit of a conflict - being in charge of the Quality Program and in the union!"

Fastforward to today - and my boss is trying to get me out of the union so he can get me more $$ - but the "big cheese" says my position and responsibilities do not meet the "definition" of "non-union" staff - I don't supervise anyone, I don't hire/fire people and the information I handle - the majority of it could be accessed under a freedom of information request (I work for a City).

This is my first experience in a unionized environment - so I'm not certain if it IS truly a "conflict" to be a union member and the QMS Rep - I know I'd like to be out of the union and get more $$... but not certain if there is truly a case to be made!

Any help/feedback would be greatly appreciated!!
Elsmar Forum Sponsor


Re: Is being the QMS Rep and a union member a conflict?

Without knowing exactly what you are involved in, I would use ISO9001 or AS9100 as an example. If you look at the management representative responsibilities that these standards describe, I would think as long as you can truly meet these reponsibilities while being a union member, there is no conflict.

a) ensuring that processes needed for the quality management system are established, implemented and maintained,

b) reporting to top management on the performance of the quality management system and any need for improvement, and

c) ensuring the promotion of awareness of customer requirements throughout the organization. (ref. 5.5.2)

d) the organizational freedom and unrestricted access to top management to resolve matters pertaining to quality management issues.

J Allen

Involved In Discussions
My two cents,
Because the position has been a "Union" position, the city may have some difficulty taking it away from the barganing unit. It is not a conflict to be a union employee and have that responsibility. At the next negotiation, the City may elect to change the position to a Manager or Quality Engineer responsibility and give more responsibilities to place it outside the bargaining unit. But the union would have to Ok it.


I agree, there is no conflict between being in the union and your responsibilities to the QMS system with the exception of your ability to manage the system - however, if you have support and access to the management folks (decision makers) things are all good - indicated by AS9100C: in the previous post.

General Motors has had positions such as this for many years - they were called Non-Traditional employees. (In the Twilight Zone)

I was in such a position with GM for over 20 years - One of the things I found most interesting was that people in those positions learned to use influence in a very positive way, that in many cases was more effective than the management person issuing directives.

Unfortunately there was no extra $$$ - I agree with the previous post that perhaps at the next negotiations your position could be absorbed into the management structure.

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