I always treated them as equals and with respect, and the same was shown back to me. We are adults. We can handle the situation without getting into cussing and carrying on. And if it is not settled here today, then there are other means to settle labor issues. And while the exchange might be heated, there should not be conduct that should come back to bite you later on.
Now, that being said, there were many issues that I represented people for where it was cut and dry, the company was out of bounds or just plain wrong.
BUt there were many more when the driver or other hourly brought the crap on themselves. In that case, while you walk in as equals, you also know they have you. And you are asking them to please allow this driver to come back. That he will not act like a spoiled brat and quit his/her job again, or walk off the job. Believe it or not, we have had many drivers quit while on the job and walk off. And after they get home to the wife and kids and realise what they have actually done......
It is at times like that your previous treatment of management will come back to haunt you. While we are equals in the meetings, I never forget that in cases like the ones above, they are doing you a real favor by bringing the employee back. They dont have any obligation to, and they know it. And so does the union.
I dont like, nor would I tollerate someone getting into my face. I would not expect for them to put up with it from me either.
BTW, there are many things that are legal, but still not right.