Jim Beam plant in Bullitt is cited over bathroom breaks
Union says 45 workers disciplined, but company defends restrictions
By Joseph Gerth firstname.lastname@example.org
The Jim Beam bourbon-making plant in Bullitt County is disputing a Kentucky Labor Cabinet citation involving toilet breaks for the plant's bottlingline workers.
Under a policy implemented in October, line workers at the Jim Beam Brands Co. plant may use the restroom only during lunch and two other scheduled daily breaks, one before lunch and one after. They also are allowed one unscheduled toilet break per day, and can be disciplined for taking more, starting with a warning and escalating to dismissal after six incidents.
Under the old policy, workers were allowed to rotate off the line for short, unscheduled breaks throughout the day, with no set number.
The company said it changed the policy after concluding that workers were taking advantage of the liberal break policy -- even asking for one within five minutes of reporting for duty.
Jim Beam, in a memo filed with the Labor Cabinet, said it ''observed, documented and analyzed break habits of the employees'' and consulted with a urologist to make sure that the new policy would be ''reasonable.'' The company said people with medical conditions get more leeway.
But the United Food and Commercial Workers union that represents the approximately 100 production-line workers said the urologist who studied the toilet-break patterns determined that they were not motivated by need, but most likely by ''smoking habits.''
The union said 45 workers have been disciplined, some workers have begun wearing protective undergarments and others have urinated on themselves because they were afraid to leave the line.
''It's embarrassing to be a 36year-old woman and have to justify your need to go to the bathroom,'' said Krystal Ditto, who said she has been disciplined five times and is one unscheduled bathroom visit away from losing her job.
''Once you get the feeling you have to go, you sit there looking at the clock and see you have an hour to go, and it intensifies. I'm not going to sit there and be miserable.''
The Labor Cabinet, in a citation issued in November that the company has appealed, said Jim Beam is violating a federal labor law requiring employers to provide restroom facilities to employees. While Jim Beam does that, the cabinet said its policy illegally impedes workers' ability to use those facilities.
The cabinet did not propose a fine. A hearing on the citation is scheduled next week in Bardstown.
''We feel our system provides reasonable breaks for all employees, and we're looking forward to explaining our position in detail next week at the hearing,'' Stephanie Moritz, director of publications for Jim Beam, based in Deerfield, Ill., said yesterday.
Kembra Taylor, the Labor Cabinet's general counsel, said it's unusual for a company to fight so long against a citation that doesn't include a fine.
Jo Anne Kelley, the union local's president, has worked at the Jim Beam plant for 34 years. She said that the policy is degrading and that company officials have told some workers that they should ''practice'' going to the bathroom every two hours at home on the weekends to put themselves on a schedule.
''Basically, we're being asked to train our bladders and other organs to meet their needs, not ours,'' Kelley said. ''Your bodily functions don't have a time clock.''
Kelley also said some women employees were told they should report to the company's human resources department when their menstrual cycles begin, since that might require additional trips to the restroom.
''It is just so dehumanizing,'' said Jill Cashen, a spokeswoman at the union's headquarters in Washington. ''All the company cares about is when and how often you go to the bathroom. No one cares about what kind of a job you did.''
In its appeal, Jim Beam said its break policy ''effectively balances the medical needs of employees with the company's need to maintain a productive workforce.''
''What the company proposes may not look outrageous on paper. But when you get right down to it, it is dehumanizing,'' she said.
quote:Originally posted by Dingle HAHAHAHAHAHH!H!ahahah!! what a fucking crock of shit. Nobody would wear plastic panties to work just to keep some factory job, and anyone who did is too stupid to even consider.
I don't know, poor folks that work in factories don't always have much of a choice. Look how many women have had to suck cock to keep a job. I've seen folks do some wierd shit to keep a check coming in.
in my job, if i'm working by myself, i can't go to the back to use the bathroom. i know this- so i use it before the store opens, or hold it until my 12 o'clock person comes in. why is it so hard for them to use the bathroom before they clock in? it does sound like a few of them miss the nicotine fix they could grab in the stall. hell- they get two scheduled breaks a day, plus lunch, plus one unscheduled toilet break a day. that's four times a day, five if you count before their shift starts. i don't know anyone that needs to go to the bathroom that much in one day.
Yeah, this story does sound pathetic for people with normal bladders. Some people really do need to go 5 or more times a day though. Especially older people, pregnant women, women who have just had babies, women with heavy periods (I know they say they allow for that, but good grief, do you really want to have to report your menstrual cycle to your boss?), people with bowel problems and people who drink coffee in the morning to get their day started.
It's about more than bladder capacity though. This company has taken control of their workers' bodily functions and that is going too far.
i think if the employees were using the facilities in a fair and concientious manner, it wouldn't have gone this far. they're not using the bathroom half of the time- they're smoking or goofing off. maybe now they'll come to appreciate the chance to actually use the bathroom.
Thie problem is that they are solving one problem (employees smoking when they are working, or whatever) by restricting everyone's access to a pretty basic human need. Which isn't great people management as far as I can see.
I say its the company's prerogative to make what rules they wish.. if the employees don't like it.. quit.. although I think it IS shitty management.. and the company's employee related success will reflect that.. that's their choice though.
I have had days where I am the only person here.. and I cannot leave to use the restroom or take a smoke break for say.. 5 hours.. on a really really shitty day.. it's a job.. I am paid for my time..
You're all skipping a very important detail. It's in Kentucky. Every fucking redneck in the plant [i]is[/] abusing the bathroom break option, no doubt. Every single fucking redneck who works there smokes like a chimney, no doubt. Jim beam isn't dealing with normal adults - they're dealing with mentally-stunted adult-sized children with chemical addictions. They can't be trusted to behave like mature adults on their own.
Tha being said, the company is being a bit too invasive for my comfort. And our experiences during industrialization taught us that we do need to regulate corporate treatment of employees. Three bathroom breaks a day sounds okay to me, but I don't think they should set the schedule. Let people go to the bathroom as the want, and then fire the ones who abuse it most aggregiously. There's nothing like a firing in your department to make you straighten up an fly right.
And that stupid cunt wearing the Pampers - make her sew a quilt.
quote:Originally posted by Dingle " The union said 45 workers have been disciplined, some workers have begun wearing protective undergarments and others have urinated on themselves because they were afraid to leave the line. "
HAHAHAHAHAHH!H!ahahah!! what a fucking crock of shit. Nobody would wear plastic panties to work just to keep some factory job, and anyone who did is too stupid to even consider.
Why, oh why, must every fucking thing in print be packed with exaggerations, manipulations and plain lies?
Yes, why must everything in print (and this is print) be packed full of exaggerations, manipulations, and lies? Or is that an exaggeration, manipulation, or plain lie?
I don't know anyone who would throw away thier dignity and piss on themselves to keep a factory job. Fortunately I'm not a drinker of beam, I wouldn't want to worry about getting some disgruntled workers own special blend.