Know Your Rights!
Often as I travel to the stations in my district, members have several questions about the overtime process, specifically how mandatory overtime should be administered properly. After briefly explaining the process I always end the conversation with some friendly advice to become more informed and educated on the CBA and particularly Article 7, which covers overtime. Within that article there is language describing how mandatory overtime must be administered. Below I’ve included this language so that anyone reading this article can have an opportunity to become more educated in the mandatory process.
Mandatory Assignments. The Company and the Union agree that mandatory overtime assignments are not in the best interests of either party. To maximize voluntary overtime utilization, the Company must make overtime known to the Employees, and Employees must utilize the overtime call book to the fullest. If a sufficient amount of overtime is not voluntarily obtained or if no one signed the overtime call book, the Company shall require Employees to work the overtime. It shall only be assigned as outlined in Article 7.I.2. a., b., and c. in reverse order of seniority.
a. However, when an Employee trades or gives away his/her entire shift or any portion of his/her shift, and then cancels or trades back to his/her original shift after initial callout assignments have been made, and the original trade or giveaway made that Employee ineligible for a mandatory callout assignment that he/she would have received, then that Employee will continue to be eligible for assignment as outlined in Article 7.I.2. a, b, and c, in reverse order of seniority, and will be eligible to be given one mandatory assignment when on “d” status during the next seven (7) calendar days.
b. Employees will only be required to work on one (1) of their regularly scheduled days off. However, in the event of an emergency situation and the Employee is mandatoried to work both scheduled days off, the Employee will be paid for the second scheduled day off at the applicable overtime rate plus an additional one half (1/2) time at his regular rate for all hours worked during the overtime assignment.
Although this doesn’t fully explain all of our rights pertaining to mandatory overtime, it is very important education information. Management will often state that we are obligated to be available when a mandatory situation arises, but they also have an obligation to try and avoid and prevent mandatory situations. There are stations that have excessive mandatory overtime year after year (some for more than three years), and it is the company’s responsibility to fix this problem rather than continue to point fingers and shift blame to the hard working members of Local 555. It is unacceptable to constantly have a mandatory overtime problem year after year. This represents the company doing their job in a careless and negligent manner and placing us in and unsafe work environment as a result.
I recently read an article entitled “Fatigue Risk Management in the Workplace”, which described how fatigue and deficit of sleep contributes to and can possibly be a leading cause in workplace injuries and accidents. The article also explains how working extended hours increases the risk of work related injuries. To me this is partly the problem in several of our stations that have these mandatory overtime issues.
It is crucial that we all know our contractual rights. We cannot only rely on your rep to be your only source of information because your rep is not with you at all times. There are and always will be times when you will need to know your contractual rights for your own protection. For example, a shift extension differentiates from a callout because a shift extension is less than four hours, and shift extensions are issued based on seniority and scheduled off times and not your overtime status.
Another important piece of information that we all should know is the proper procedure for issuing mandatory extensions…
Mandatory shift extensions are determined by the time overtime is needed, and the most junior employee is extended based on his shift ending time. When the extension is for a period of two hours or more, and a less senior employee is available following the extension, the first employee will be released, and the more junior employee will be required to complete the overtime requirement. The total amount of overtime by this type of coverage shall not exceed 3 hours and 59 minutes, even if the shift was ‘stair stepped’.
Other important information concerning properly issuing mandatory overtime of four hours or more is as follows:
[The assignment is issued to] the most junior of the employees on his first day off, or on his second day off who did not work 4 hours on his first day off. If unable to contact employees who are off, then it would go to the most junior available. In accordance with Article 7, Paragraph I sub-paragraph 6, mandatory overtime is assigned as outlined in sub-paragraphs 2, a, b, and c, in reverse order of seniority.
These represent a few snippets from our contract and our contract interpretations that can help you learn your rights under the Collective Bargaining Agreement. Although I can’t stop all of the mandatory overtime that is being issued and the subsequent results that are manifested from it, I can try to educate you of your rights, to possibly help protect you going forward. Always remember that there is nothing more feared by the company than an educated member. Learn your rights today!
District 3 Representative