Preface: I’m looking for honest opinions from the teeming masses. If you are a lawyer and you provide an opinion I understand that I am not your client and you are not my lawyer. I understand that the laws in my area may be different than your area and that I should not trust legal advise given over the Internet.
With that said…
As many of you know I’m an employee of the Great State of New Jersey and was forced to work during the shutdown.
When I say forced to work I mean the leave I was granted was revoked. The same thing happened to many of my coworkers who were told we were considered essential employees.
After the state had a budget passed a decision was made to pay everyone who did not work their normal pay for the period in question. This equaled four of five days worth of pay depending on if you were in the alternate work week program or not.
In our contract article 18 says
Special Time Off
** A. Emergency of Special Observations **
- Whenever the Governor may declare a special emergency of observation of an event of State or national concern and authorizes time off to employees of the State of the observation of such and event, those employees covered by this Agreement who are required to work during the period of the authorized time off shall be compensated for such hours worked as outlined in this Agreement, or as otherwise authorized by the Governor.
2. Every employee designated as essential will receive notice of such designation each year. Notice of such designations will also be provided to the Union.
3. Employees who are designed essential will receive a sticker for their ID card identifying them as essential.
**B. Other **
Whenever the Governor may declare time off for all employees (such as a day preceding or following an existing holiday) those who are required to work on that day shall be compensated for such hours worked by being granted equivalent time off at other times in accordance with the Governor’s proclamation, or as provided by the appointing authority and, if operationally feasible as requested by the employee. If the time off occurs on a seven (7) day operation employee’s regular day off, he/she shall be granted equivalent time off in accordance with the above provision.
**C. Inclement Weather **
(this part doesn’t apply)
Based on how we are interpreting this, those of us who were forced to work believe we are entitled to comp time per section B. None of us have been told we were essential prior to the shutdown and none of us have the stickers that A2 and A3 talk about.
Our Union is basically refusing to file a grievance on our behalf. We were told that if we as individuals want to file one they will accept it but will not give us any support. If we need to go to an arbitration session our shop stewards who have had no negotiation training will be the ones to represent us because the union says the issue is not related to our contract.
If our union will not repesent us then what are we paying union dues for? In my office there are at least 20 people who believe we are entitled to the time based on our contact and there are at least two other offices involved.
According to our contract and collective bargining agreement all complains about policys and procedures have to go thought the Union we can not complain directly to upper management.
What I want to know is
Do you (IN YOUR OPINION) believe we should be given the 4 or 5 days that we are asking for based on our contact
Have you ever withdrew from a union because you have no conficence in the leadership?
If you were a union member Have you ever switched the union locals that represent your office?