Public Employee Press
DC 37 has your back
Member vindicated after rights violated
By MIKE LEE
No member should be put through an unfair and illegal process based on a false allegation, particularly when working in a dangerous environment.
That is what happened to Addiction Counselor II Eugene Plummer.
The SSEU Local 371 member works at Metropolitan Hospital in the Inpatient Detox Program as part of the Substance Abuse Services treatment team at the facility. His job is difficult, directing and coordinating patients in recovery. He also monitors their progress. Plummer’s work includes acting as a sponsor or primary counselor to the patient throughout the recovery process. Instead of lauding Plummer for his service and dedication, management chose to punish him.
On April 7, 2016, while completing an assessment in the detox service program, Plummer was threatened by an unstable patient.
Though cornered in his office, Plummer managed to maneuver into a corridor and out of immediate danger. Hospital staff intervened and restrained the patient.
The following day, Plummer was called to the Labor Relations office and informed he was suspended due to the incident. Despite his attempts to explain his side, he was asked to surrender his ID badge and escorted out — an outrageous violation of due process rights.
“Mr. Plummer was victimized twice. First by an irate patient, and secondly by his employer. It’s disheartening to think one can simply show up to work, be threatened, and then suspended,” said Council Representative Alexander Elias, from the Professional Division, who took on Plummer’s case. “Due process is a fundamental union right.” he said.
The union filed a grievance for lost wages and for failure to serve formal charges. Though Metropolitan Hospital dragged the case out and attempted to settle the incident as time served, the suspension was eventually overturned, and Mr. Plummer was paid 30 days of lost wages.
“The union stood up for our member and got justice,” said SSEU Local 371 President Anthony Wells. “Only by using our power can we protect our members from management’s attacks.”
“Without the right of due process, justice is denied. It’s the union that has the power to maintain these basic rights and protections for our members,” Elias said.