Here’s one to toss around over dinner: the Union Pacific Railroad has been flying drones over some of their rail yards. The company’s stated reason is that they’re monitoring safety procedures—watching for workers crossing between cars, climbing down off of moving equipment, and other infractions that are frowned upon by the safety people.
As we would expect, the union—the International Association of Sheet Metal, Air, Rail and Transportation Workers (the initials spell SMART, by the way)—has objected, but not for the reason you are probably thinking.
According to the union, it’s a safety issue, all right, but the union leadership claims the drones are a distraction for the yard workers and have actually made the job more dangerous. How? Because the employees instinctively look for the drones so they can appear to be performing their duties briskly. That’s a problem, says the union, because when they’re busy being brisk, they aren’t thinking safe.
Well, of course that makes sense. If you think the boss is watching, you instinctively do your best to impress.
Union Pacific has stopped flying the drones, but it’s a temporary hiatus while results from the test periods are examined. As of now, the company has every intent of resuming the drone flights.