Our job as leaders is to do the right thing. With employees, that translates to following the agreements, being respectful, treating employee's equitably and yes, it even means giving them the benefit of the doubt sometimes.
If an employee does the higher graded work, give them the temporary promotion. If they have used a large number of sick days but it has been for a chronically ill child and they schedule the days off in advance with you, advance them the sick leave they need. If they are returning from maternity leave and need to change their administrative time to coincide with their breaks to breast feed - don't question it, just do it.
Our job as leaders is to do the right thing from the get go. It is frustrating to me as both an HR Manager and leader when I see the right things occur only after the Union becomes involved. First off, I really am not big on putting feathers in the Union cap. Secondly, when you really get down to it, it starts to looks like our employees need the union to get fair and equitable treatment.
Union 1, Management 0 - shame on us.