Safety SPOC: What is it?
The Safety SPOC program (SPOC means Single Point Of Contact) is a safety program initiated by Midwest AT&T. Safety SPOC is a term coined by AT&T management to describe a work-group employee who after volunteering is mutually selected and agreed-upon by the Company and the Local Union to bring safety awareness to AT&T employees. Not all departments choose to implement this program. But, after trials in IEFS (formerly SD&A/Uverse) it was noticed that, when used in close cooperation with Local safety leaders, it becomes a valuable safety tool.
What are the duties of a Safety SPOC?
The duties of a SPOC generally fall under peer-education, such as stop-the-shop safety discussions, peer-to-peer education, and sometimes they may also accompany managers on safety inspections (safety defects encountered by management when accompanied by Safety SPOC’s should be corrected immediately by education and counseling, not discipline). Because this person is involved in safety dealings with management, which is a mandatory subject of bargaining, this volunteer is always chosen with the agreement and involvement of the Union (if this is not the case in your garage, let the Local know!). How the program operates is always a matter of mutual agreement between the Local and the Company, because manager/employee safety programs are always subject to mutual agreement under our contract with Midwest AT&T; and, usually under federal law.
Why is my Union involved in this?
Our Union is committed to always looking for ways to keep our membership safe. When implemented properly and with the buy-in from the Union, we believe this program may help further workplace safety education. However, in a situation where managers unilaterally appoint Safety SPOC’s without consultation with the Local Union, this can lead to a less safe environment! Often, unilaterally-appointed employees are managers’ “pets” or even non-members and this can promote disunity in the work-group and cause mistrust or misapplication of the safety message. When this occurs the Union will always object to such a program, no matter how lofty the stated goal. As well, such programs are often illegal (in Union-shops).
Live long and prosper!
The bottom line is this: The Local supports all safety initiatives which involve our members. Our Local has ensured that the employees through their Local have a voice in who is a Safety SPOC and what their role is. We ask that all our members extend respect and thanks to those whom volunteered, met with their Union, and serve in that role. We ask also that you do what you’ve always done: Follow all safety procedures, work safely, and help your Union sister and brother do the same!