This reads almost word-for-word with the "management" "leadership" we received over the course of the last week at work here. What part of the contractually stipulated "discretionary short-term sick leave" portion of our employment agreement don't these people understand (I'm presuming the Steel Workers Union negotiated a similar agreement for it's members employed by US Steel such as our own union local did for us)? Each employee has a certain number of hours available over the course of the year to use as s/he thinks appropriate.
Instead of self-destructive empty posturing, why don't more employers just adjust the year's production schedule to accommodate this type of effect on the schedule? How hard would it be to make this a "floating holiday" for use as necessary? Use one of the also contractually stipulated mandatory overtime days to compensate if orders necessitate?
Something for the company to bargain for during the upcoming contract renewal process; the floating holiday for an additional mandatory O/T Saturday maybe.