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Updated on Monday, December 29

#20318

OMG: Why is WPIRG taking a stance on the issue of reinstating a uw employee who was fired for theft? Students don't pay $200,000 a year for them to focus on issues that 1. Don't help students in any way, and 2. Promote the idea that theft is okay? Its sickening how many students feel like she was promoting "charity" by giving away coffees and baked goods.. They weren't hers to give away! Any retail worker who steals is fired, regardless of how many children they have and their marital status, end of story. I really can't fathom how this is an appropriate use of student money.

15 comments

  1. You are very naive. Giving away goods free of cost is not "stealing", it's very typical in food retail. Even if it is against Food Services policy, if you are an employee with a 28 year flawless record, you deserve at minimum the courtesy of a warning prior to firing. This is just bad management practice.

    Zero tolerance policies don't work and are especially unfair in the case of negligible losses. I imagine you download unauthorized copies of copyrighted material using your internet connection. That's very clearly against the rules in residence and with many landlords, and it's theft! Yet somehow I don't think you'd be arguing that theft is theft and theft is wrong and it's fair to get thrown out of rez without a warning or smaller penalty first. Or what about taking a pen home from the office?

    Note how the university is not pursuing criminal charges. They have in significant cases of theft: https://uwaterloo.ca/news/news/university-waterloo-statement-concerning-theft-and-fraud This tells us something about the scale of the crime (small and not almost certainly not considered criminal, which is what you mean to invoke when you say "stealing" or "theft")

    The university is also going to lose big-time financially on this one, as they're probably going to have a legal battle with the union and/or a settlement. No matter what angle you look at it from, they dealt with this poorly imo.


    As for WPIRG, it stands for the Waterloo Public Interest and Research Group. It is not a group that we spend money on to directly help students (that's called FEDS); it's a group that acts in the public interest. Supporting a victim of an unjust firing? Public interest. Aiding the One Columbia students when FEDS and the University sat around twiddling their thumbs? Public interest. Their activism in regards to tuition raises, Gaza/Israel, intellectual property/net neutrality, #BlackLivesMatter, etc.? Public interest. If you don't like it, go get your fee refunded. I personally think they are doing some pretty valuable work for less than the cost of one Starbucks per term.

    Though I'm not sure why "student money!!" is your issue here. This is one of multiple projects their paid staff work on. Are you concerned about printing costs or something? Like, this probably won't even end up a line item on their budget it's so small...

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    1. 'Giving away goods free of cost is not "stealing"'

      I stopped reading after that.

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    2. It's only okay for a retailer to give things away for free is if

      1) They own the business
      2) They are managers authorized to give away things under certain circumstances (eg restaurant managers may comp meals if the service is exceptionally poor)

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    3. "You are very naive."

      //Good, good, start with an ad hominem! Nothing helps your position like attacking the person making the argument for the other side.

      "Giving away goods free of cost is not "stealing", it's very typical in food retail. Even if it is against Food Services policy, if you are an employee with a 28 year flawless record, you deserve at minimum the courtesy of a warning prior to firing. This is just bad management practice."

      //Might not be theft, but it's absolutely a financial liability, which is why it's not something you can just choose to do of your own volition. Especially in order to give special treatment to your friends/family. After 28 years, you should be expected to know better. Warnings are there to correct mistakes - not deliberate violations of policy. Also - I'll bet you anything (because this is almost always the case in these sorts of situations) this isn't actually a first offence, nor the only issue that has been piling up for this staff member with her manager.

      "Note how the university is not pursuing criminal charges. They have in significant cases of theft: https://uwaterloo.ca/news/news/university-waterloo-statement-concerning-theft-and-fraud This tells us something about the scale of the crime (small and not almost certainly not considered criminal, which is what you mean to invoke when you say "stealing" or "theft")"

      //If your standard for dismissal only begins at "we need to press criminal charges against this person," then your standard is way, way too low.

      "The university is also going to lose big-time financially on this one, as they're probably going to have a legal battle with the union and/or a settlement. No matter what angle you look at it from, they dealt with this poorly imo."

      //Saying 'the union will likely fight this' should never be a reason to avoid dismissal. Also, the University's legal costs are extremely low, since all of their legal work/representation is now done by in-house staff who were already working for the University in the Secretariat. Regardless, as long as the University feels they have sufficient grounds for dismissal, they'll do fine in court - at which point the only cost is to the union. So you can't even make the "student dollars are being wasted here" argument.

      "As for WPIRG, it stands for the Waterloo Public Interest and Research Group. It is not a group that we spend money on to directly help students (that's called FEDS); it's a group that acts in the public interest. Supporting a victim of an unjust firing? Public interest. Aiding the One Columbia students when FEDS and the University sat around twiddling their thumbs? Public interest. Their activism in regards to tuition raises, Gaza/Israel, intellectual property/net neutrality, #BlackLivesMatter, etc.? Public interest. If you don't like it, go get your fee refunded. I personally think they are doing some pretty valuable work for less than the cost of one Starbucks per term."

      //Yeah, we get it, WPIRG doesn't campaign for student interests. That's fine, but it probably means that students shouldn't be funding them by default. That is a change that desperately needs to happen around here.
      Also, let's not spin things to suggest that WPIRG was the only group taking any action on the Schembri issue while everybody else "sat around twiddling their thumbs." WPIRG was allowed to take the lead on the issue - that doesn't mean all other parties were nonexistent.

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    4. Why is this such a Big issue? I feel like ur writing an Essay or something. Anyway, when guys talk business u need to back the duck out cos guys will take advantage of u for knowing stuff. I feel like I'm talking too much but isn't sometimes the cost worth it despite the liability of having to pay for an undergraduate degree at a well known university? ANYWAYS, I shall continue to read.

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  2. I agree with 1 for the most part. And for 1a even if that is technically stealing(you guys like to be very technical around here btw) the action taken by the uni is still too harsh. What she gave out probably doesn't amount to more than 5 or 10 bucks. Laws rules and regulations aside, if you were in control and a worker did that u would fire them? Wouldn't a simple informal solution like making her pay that pocket change be better? And about the trust issue thing, in 28 years of work she could have setup a full underground donut smuggling group or something Lol. C'mon man

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  3. I think it's the principle. Who was she giving goods away to? If I recall, it wasn't to needy people, but to her friends and coworkers. So do they deserve to pay less / nothing at all for coffee that I have to pay for? Especially from the universities standpoint, where the staff costs them money while students provide them with money. If anything, it should be US getting the free stuff, not the other way around.

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  4. Dude, it's WPRIG. They're a bunch of Social Justice Warriors. Being intelligent, logical and moral isn't a standard for them. I mean they pull their beliefs from Marx who did nothing useful for a living and mooched off of others. You really expect them to do something useful other than complain about made up things?

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    1. Don't confuse communists with people who campaign for social justice. I think social justice is very important, and I'd never want to be associated with the socialists in WPIRG.

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  5. OP has it right. 1 seems to have a rather peculiar worldview.

    "Giving goods away free of cost is not stealing."

    Well, strictly speaking, no. But she hasn't been charged with theft. Giving away goods free of cost IS a liability, in ANY form of retail, which is why it's something you generally need AUTHORIZATION to do. Usually from somebody with management authority.

    Also, "it happens all the time in food retail"?!?! Well fuck, apparently I've been losing out all these years PAYING for my food when I SHOULD have been going into Tim's and asking if I could have my morning bagel and coffee FOR FREE!
    ...There are plenty of situations in food retail where goods get distributed free of cost, absolutely. I won't dispute that. But "because some random worker feels like treating her friends/family" IS NOT ONE OF THOSE SITUATIONS.

    And what the fuck does her being employed for 28 years have to do with anything? She's been here longer, so she can get away with things other staff can't? TBH if I was a worker in that environment, I'd be pretty pissed off if all that my coworker got for wantonly abusing her position was a finger wagging at her, while I know I'd be fired for the same thing. No - a long record of service earns you tolerance for the occasional mistake, but it absolutely doesn't get you special treatment or the right to break rules of your own free will.

    Finally... I'm with OP - who the fuck cares?! The employment status of a random food services worker is NOT an issue that has any relevance to student or public life. Food Services workers are unionized, and the union will have at it with the University and sort this all out. Nobody needs WPIRG to be a second union....

    Perhaps the folks at WPIRG should try working some real jobs - or maybe even being in management roles - themselves before they get all preachy about how somebody else runs their business.

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  6. Jesus get a fucking life people. How can people care so much about something so irrelevant to their own lives?

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    1. Could be that they're not self-absorbed losers who think the world revolves around them alone. Just a guess really.

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  7. right now, the internet is crying...

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  8. She broke the rules, even giving away expired sandwiches that would have to go in the garbage is against the rules, I think the point the company (university) is making is break one rule and get caught you are fired, does not matter who you are or how long you have been there and so many workplaces are going that way these days so if anything this story is a good lesson for students about to enter the workforce, these days it's not ok to break any rules and if you do get caught it will cost you your job and in this lady's case a LOT more since her name is now all over the internet so good luck trying to find any other job.

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  9. Let me explain to you what is and isn't acceptable in food retail and maybe you will get it:

    Giving a coffee/muffin to the tired delivery guy once a month - OK

    Giving a coffee/muffin to several friends every day, sometimes more than once a day - Not OK

    She was engaging in option 2.

    Hope this clears things up.

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