First, some background. I live and work in the US and have 18 years experience in my engineering career across a variety of industries. All of my experience has been focused on product development, but I have only been with my latest employer for about 7 months.
So, on to the issue at hand...my boss recently sent out a notice to the engineers in the department, that we're now expected to work 6 Saturdays/year as "manufacturing floor support". This is in addition to the normal workweek and those weekends we work at our discretion to support our ongoing projects. When I asked what exactly we're supposed to do as "manufacturing floor support", I was told that the "manufacturing (hourly) guys are complaining because they have to work weekends and the engineers don't so it's time to share the pain". That neglects the fact that they get overtime pay and since we're salaried, our paychecks stay the same.
Personally, this really makes me angry. I work hard, I work smart and I get things done and I feel like this is a kick in the teeth. I place a very high value on my weekend time, especially the weekends I have with my kids. I can't leave them alone at home and I can't bring them to work. We're not getting any extra pay, no additional time off, nothing. I feel like this is simply a bridge too far and I should start networking, looking for a new employer.
Am I justified in being this angry about this, or am I making a mountain out of a molehill?
Is adding mandatory weekend work a common practice in other fields?