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Ford Motor to track bathroom breaks

post #1 of 26
Thread Starter 
http://money.cnn.com/2005/10/27/news...eaks/index.htm

Ford Motor Co. management reportedly is trying to stop the company's financial outlook from going down the toilet.

The paper reported that the memo also warns that Ford supervisors will begin collecting weekly data on the amount of time workers spend on bathroom breaks and "respond appropriately."
...
Ford spokeswoman Anne Marie Gattari told the paper the 48-minute bathroom break limit [per shift] is spelled out in the UAW contract that covers local plant rules.

"We are managing our business according to the local agreement," Gattari said.
post #2 of 26
Quote:
"We are managing our business according to the local agreement," Gattari said.
And so will their employees!
Seriously, I have worked places where people spent more time in the toilet than working, and guess who has to pick up the slack? And don't get me started on smoke breaks .. I'm really glad these days most legislation is against smoking!
post #3 of 26
The headline makes it look unreasonable, but more than 48 minutes in bathroom breaks in addition to the hour lunch and 2-15 minute breaks is just ridiculous! They SHOULD be cracking down on it if it's a common enough problem to actually slow productivity. It's things like this that reinforce the stereotype of a lazy Union worker!
post #4 of 26
Also, I can't vote in the poll because I don't see it as a simple Yes/No issue. Do I support it in this instance? Yes, because spending more than an hour in the bathroom over an 8-10 hour period is obviously just wasting time (unless there is a valid medical reason). But overall, I don't want my boss to know the number of minutes I spend in the bathroom on an average day.
post #5 of 26
!!!!
post #6 of 26
And for us women their are certain times of the month that me do spend more time in the bathroom. I'm sure as usual its a few rotten apples making it bad for everyone else!!
Good thing my non work related computer time was never discussed!!
post #7 of 26
I find these kind of things ridiculous to be honest. When companies are losing money and doing poorly it is *not* because of the their low rung workers that it is happening. To me it looks like another attempt of upper management to point fingers elsewhere.

I mean, we've seen several people post vents on TCS about how their high paid managers don't do as much work as they do. I'm guessing that's more the problem here as well.

But I'm sure monitoring bathroom breaks will improve moral.
post #8 of 26
What are they going to do with people who have digestive problems, women with morning sickness, or people with bladder trouble? Are they just SOL?
I am embarassed to admit this, but there are days when I spend that long (or longer) in the restroom...and not because I want to, I can tell you that.

Where does this stop?
They don't want people using the bathroom so much, so they watch and see who does...then they ask them about their medical history, to see if there's a good reason for it...even if it's a violation pf the person's provacy. Next they're finding excuses to let those folks go. Then they start asking about medical issues before they even hire you.
After that, they'll find out who's prone to certain illnesses...they're gone.

Some unions might appear to take things a little too far, but keep in mind that labnor unions are there for a reason, and that is that coporations used to take terrible advantage of their employees. A lot of non-union employers still do, to some extent.
I'd rather have a union that thought "better safe than sorry" and maybe went a little overboard on the issue of defending employees' privacy than one that didn't do enough.
post #9 of 26
I normally wouldnt have a problem but where is the baqthroom a ten minute walk?? I have worked at places where the bathroom is 10 -15 minutes walk ... I to have some digestive issues at many pts
post #10 of 26
Hmmm..I don't think I have ever seen a Toilet Break clause in any of the jobs I've had!! You just go when you want and nobody really cares!

I think it would only become an issue if you were obviously spending a lot of time in there - And if you were sick or were having bathroom troubles (i.e. menstruating or pregnant) then you would let your employer know that you were there so they can understand your absence.
post #11 of 26
Don't get me started on unions and their ridiculous demands.

I worked with one girl that spent a large portion of her day in the washroom checking her makeup, fixing her hair, replenishing her perfume and the rest of us had to do more work because she didn't get hers done.

Unless you have a medical problem which your supervisor should be made aware of anyway, there is no earthly reason to spend that much time in the washroom. That is taking advantage IMO.
post #12 of 26
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by valanhb
Also, I can't vote in the poll because I don't see it as a simple Yes/No issue. Do I support it in this instance? Yes, because spending more than an hour in the bathroom over an 8-10 hour period is obviously just wasting time (unless there is a valid medical reason). But overall, I don't want my boss to know the number of minutes I spend in the bathroom on an average day.
Simple Yes No
Actually, I purposely made it a simple yes/no. And I specifically did not put an explanation for no because there could be a whole range of different reasons. It could be that a person is against it because it seems to demean the workers or they could be against it, even if believe workers spend too much time at the bathroom because they believe that such action even if they work in reducing time spent at the bathroom may have an overall negative impact on the business. And ultimately, the business have to decide on a yes or no basis, which is why it has to be a yes/no issue. Even if one seeks to decide on a case by case basis, that decision still requires the company to track the workers.

Work Allocation
My personal belief is that as long as you do the work you are supposed to do that is all I ask for. Therefore I do not really care that the secretary spends the time surfing the net or on the phone chatting to friends or even regularly seem to take sick leave. All I am concerned about is if there is work, can she do it and is she willing to complete it. She knows when there is something big and would stay until the early hours of the morning or even come back for the weekends. Similarly, I did not recommend that we hire a person once her probation ended despite her always coming in to work and not spending time surfing the net because she was not willing to work with the team until 4 or 5 am when the need arises.

Manager
Sometimes the Manager seems to be doing less work in the office but their value to the company may not be determined by the work done in the office. They may be tasked with bringing in the business rather than the doing of the office work.

Unions
I should make certain observation about unions. While I generally feel that a company can do better without a union, I too am aware of the benefits they bring. Studies have shown that benefits at a work place with unions generally pay more BUT the productivity rate is higher in comparison to the other similar work places. Also while cost vis-a-vis benefits are higher, costs vis-a-vis other areas are lower. Furthermore, in places where the relationship between management and workers are good, a place with unions are more likely to discover problems earlier.

Unions have always been a reaction to the treatment by employers. Thus May Day or Labor, which is a day to remember the killing to striking workers in the US (ironically this day is not celebrated in the US.) Also the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory fire in New York, where over a hundred young female immigrants were burnt to death at the factory in part because the exit was locked to prevent workers from taking unauthorised breaks resulted in the growth of unions. Also that fire which was witnessed by Robert Wagner as he saw the girls jumping to their death to avoid fire, resulted in him pushing and succeeding in the passing of the National Labor Relations Act (Wagner Act). Therefore there is a phrase that states that: "You get the union you deserve."

My position thus is that if the employers are good, then it is more economically beneficial and more efficient NOT to have a union. If the employer can tackle the concerns of the workers without them resorting to a union that would save cost. But where relations between employers and workers are very strained, it may be more efficient, as studies have shown, to actually have a union in place.

Therefore before taking a position on the unions, it is necessary to understand the benefits and cost of a place with or without a union and from these evidence rather than anecdotal stories, form an opinion.
post #13 of 26
Quote:
Originally Posted by jane_vernon
And if you were sick or were having bathroom troubles (i.e. menstruating or pregnant) then you would let your employer know that you were there so they can understand your absence.
I'm sorry, but under no circumstances am I about to approach my male boss and explain that I have my period.

I can understand that they need to crack down on people skiving, but surely the people who take longer breaks must also be letting their job down in some other way? There must be another way to monitor progress and work done other than treating staff like children.
post #14 of 26
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Purity
I'm sorry, but under no circumstances am I about to approach my male boss and explain that I have my period.
Why not, he may understand. Sometime the secretary would say she is not feeling well but you know what the reason is. I hope this is not too creepy but in my personal calender, I have marked out the estimated time of the month for the period and adjust accordingly. Nothing too exact (1st 10 days of month, middle last 10) but sufficient to give me notice so that I know.
post #15 of 26
Quote:
Originally Posted by Yosemite
Don't get me started on unions and their ridiculous demands.
My bf works in one of the few non-unionized sections of film making, thus they get worked like slaves. It's even worse for those with a similar job to him but in gamemaking. 10 hours days, 7 days a week, with no time for *lunch* breaks.

I still think it's like putting a band aid over a giant gaping wound, Ford has other problems more worth dealing with.
post #16 of 26
Quote:
Originally Posted by bumpy
Why not, he may understand. Sometime the secretary would say she is not feeling well but you know what the reason is. I hope this is not too creepy but in my personal calender, I have marked out the estimated time of the month for the period and adjust accordingly. Nothing too exact (1st 10 days of month, middle last 10) but sufficient to give me notice so that I know.
IMO it's a huge invasion of privacy. It's one small step away from asking your staff when they walk through the door if they had sex last night, and who with. After all, they may be tired and management need to adjust accordingly.

I admire those women who are happy to talk about periods with people they hardly know, but I'm not one of them. I won't be forced to discuss a hugely private matter with a boss just to justify why I spent an extra 5 minutes in the bathroom.
post #17 of 26
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Purity
IMO it's a huge invasion of privacy. It's one small step away from asking your staff when they walk through the door if they had sex last night, and who with. After all, they may be tired and management need to adjust accordingly.

I admire those women who are happy to talk about periods with people they hardly know, but I'm not one of them. I won't be forced to discuss a hugely private matter with a boss just to justify why I spent an extra 5 minutes in the bathroom.
That is true, hence my calender system. The person do not need to tell me anything at all, all I do is to make some observation over the months as I get to know the person. It does not take too much of an effort to discover that for some, who has more it severe, that there is a slight change of attitude at regular points.
post #18 of 26
Quote:
Originally Posted by bumpy
Why not, he may understand.
Because, its really not his business. It is up to the woman whether or not to share such information.
Quote:
Originally Posted by bumpy
Sometime the secretary would say she is not feeling well but you know what the reason is. I hope this is not too creepy but in my personal calender, I have marked out the estimated time of the month for the period and adjust accordingly. Nothing too exact (1st 10 days of month, middle last 10) but sufficient to give me notice so that I know.
Am I getting this right? You have your secretary's period marked in your calender? Does she know?
post #19 of 26
Maybe I am just not understanding, but when a woman is on her period I could see her spending approx. 5 minutes extra in the bathroom a couple of times a day. There is no way that extra few minutes prevents her from completing her work . If she is not getting her work done, as someone else mentioned, there has to be other reasons.
post #20 of 26
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Rockcat
Am I getting this right? You have your secretary's period marked in your calender? Does she know?
Of course she does not know! She, I believe would freak if she knew. I marked it out in a special code too! Imagine "Hey Mary (not her real name) ... So what is on the agenda today. I see we have a meeting at 10am and ahh at 11am is the ETA of your [.]"

I actually developed this many years back in high school when I realised that a close female friend was kind of irritable at regular intervals. I find that such knowledge helps me understand and be extra nice and not take things to heart at certain times. It is just being considerate. It worked with close female friends and I believe it works too at the work place.
post #21 of 26
Quote:
Originally Posted by bumpy
Of course she does not know! She, I believe would freak if she knew. I marked it out in a special code too! Imagine "Hey Mary (not her real name) ... So what is on the agenda today. I see we have a meeting at 10am and ahh at 11am is the ETA of your [.]"

I actually developed this many years back in high school when I realised that a close female friend was kind of irritable at regular intervals. I find that such knowledge helps me understand and be extra nice and not take things to heart at certain times. It is just being considerate. It worked with close female friends and I believe it works too at the work place.
You have the most wonderful intentions. I just think its a riot!
post #22 of 26
Even with having your period, I cannot see how it could possibly take more than an extra five minutes which is hugely different from the hour mentioned in the original post. And then how often does one really need to go to the bathroom?

I know there are days when I have to do a quick run every hour and other days where I actually don't go the whole day at work.

As in everything - there are those that abuse the system and will always end up making everyone suffer. It's too bad, but rules are usually made for a reason and that reason usually is because one or two individuals went and spoiled a good thing and took advantage.

Even the rules here on TCS are not randomly made. They are made because someone, sometime has taken advantage/been disrespectful/posted inappropriate material or material that could cause TCS to potentially be sued or the TCS owner has used knowledge and wisdom gathered from seeing these sorts of things happen on other web sites. Rules are not generally made just because someone needed something to do - there is usually an underlying reason for making rules or adding rules. Ford probably has a 3 inch file on workers who have abused, taken advantage, etc. and have finally had enough.
post #23 of 26
I voted yes, but I don't think bathroom breaks should be *tracked.* But definitely, restrictions should be in place. I've worked in places where coworkers' excessive bathroom breaks made everyone else have to work even harder. An hour in the bathroom per 8 hour shift is horribly excessive! A normal healthy person shouldn't need to make more than one MAYBE two trips to the bathroom in 8 hours. And a half hour lunch break and two 15-minute breaks is plenty of time to take care of that. As I tell my daughter "Go now so you won't have to go later!" Make a trip to the bathroom on your lunch break even if you don't *have* to go, and you should be good for the next 4 hours! Even during that time of the month, I've never had a problem with taking care of my needs during the break times alotted to me.
Please note that I said "normal, healthy person." If someone has some sort of condition that causes them to need more frequent or longer bathroom breaks, I think that person SHOULD have to discuss it, at least briefly, with a supervisor of some sort. If for no other reason than to prevent the person from being thought of as trying to avoid doing thier job, or building resentment from other employees. I worked with a girl in a factory once who was taking a bathroom break every 10-15 minutes it seemed like. She was absolutely driving me crazy, as I had to do her job AND my job when she went to the bathroom. Finally I said something to her about it, and she told me she had a bladder infection. Oh, yeah, been there and done that! So I wasn't irritated with her anymore, as it was temporary and couldn't be helped. I still got irritated when she left me with her work to go to talk to her boyfriend, though!
Bottom line, you're being paid to do a job, not hang out in the bathroom while someone else does your job, and thier job too, for the same pay. And if you're abusing bathroom breaks to do anything other than go to the bathroom, you should have some action taken.
And just for the record, the link came up page cannot be displayed for me, so I couldn't read the article.

Amber
post #24 of 26
Ok so because you ate lunch at a new place and you got a really nasty case of diahrea, you're going to get docked? I wouldnt feel comfortable telling my boss, "Hey, I got a nasty case of diahrea and I will be in and out of the bathroom so please dont dock my pay?".....
post #25 of 26
I said yes... I have worked in places where people take their cell phones to the washroom and use it as an excuse for a smoke break/talk to their friends/ plain break from work and they are not actually using the washroom, just standing in the room and not the stall wasting time. And being on the other side of the fence and running a business it annoys me even more that I am not only covering their duties but also payng them for it. Personally I don't think it should be 'tracked' but I can easily tell you which of our employees abuse bathroom breaks as well as lunch and smoke breaks. Its not like you have to actually 'track' it.

However, I also can't imagine docking someone's pay for 1 day where they spent too long in the washroom, it would have to be an ongoing thing. I am sure they would (as a union workplace) have an appeal process in place where you could just go and say that you had/have a medical problem which causes this.

But to be honest - they get at least an hour in breaks and another 48mins in which to use the bathroom in company time, if you need to spend more than 98mins in the washroom during an 8-10 hour shift - there is something medically wrong or you are just plain abusing the breaks. If there is something medically wrong to that extent - the employer should be made aware - I accept letters just stating that there is a medical reason for blah blah without questioning the employee on the specifics as long as I check with the doc that the letter is official.
post #26 of 26
Quote:
Originally Posted by DixieDarlin256
Ok so because you ate lunch at a new place and you got a really nasty case of diahrea, you're going to get docked? I wouldnt feel comfortable telling my boss, "Hey, I got a nasty case of diahrea and I will be in and out of the bathroom so please dont dock my pay?".....
I'm sorry, but on any occasion I have ever had to spend more time in the bathroom than doing my job, I went home sick.
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