Union officials are provided with great latitude in expressing their opinions and views. This is a fact supported by Federal Labor Relations Authority decisions.
Within the medical center, I would characterize our labor relations as collaborative. We agree to disagree often, yet for the most part, the relationships, interactions and conversations are respectable. For the most part. For the other parts, the latitude provided for expression is taken to an extreme. Interactions in these instances move down the continuum blowing right past reasonable and respectful towards confrontational, intimidating and, at times, bullying or threatening. When this occurs, I expect my staff, and medical center supervisors, to take the high road. It is not acceptable for them to engage at that level.
We are a pretty thick skinned bunch and can see past the chest pounding, positioning and posturing. We expect it. We expect to disagree. We expect to be challenged. We expect the engagement. We expect the confrontation. We expect the air to be charged. The phrase, if you can't stand the heat, get out of the fire, comes to mind here. We can stand the heat and, at times, we actually welcome it. Nothing like a good disagreement to get things going . . . .as long as it stays on this side on the line. What line? The line between good and evil? Maybe. But really, I am talking about the line you know was there at the very moment when it was crossed.
We can't control others actions but we do have the ability to define or impact how we will allow others to interact with us. When that line has been crossed, I do not expect anyone to sit there and "take it like a man or woman." No way, not now, not ever. My staff and our supervisors have my 100% support to end the meeting, right then and there. . . .any time, any place, any issue. Your meeting, your sandbox, your rules. NO QUESTIONS ASKED.