When workers get shorted on their wages, it may not necessarily be intentional on the part of the employer; sometimes an employer simply misinterprets the language in the collective bargaining agreement, personnel rules, or policy.
In a recent incident, a public sector member informed me that his employer had not been appropriately calculating set-up pay step increases for supervisors.
Upon investigation, I learned that the employer had been committing the error for the last ten years! I notified the employer of the violation and the applicable language in the contract. After numerous discussions, the employer admitted the mistake and agreed to make the members whole for lost wages.
It was a challenge going back ten years and attempting to recalculate what was owed, but in the end, the impacted members received back pay totaling more than $10,000!
Understanding the contract language that protects your wages, benefits, job security and working conditions is important. Over the years, members have fought hard to achieve that language and it needs to be respected and enforced. The old adage, knowledge is power, applies. The more you know your contract, understand the intent behind the language, know what is good, what needs to be improved, and relay that information to your business agent, the more power and control you will have over your working conditions.
It is every member’s responsibility to protect the contract that the members who came before you achieved. It is every member’s responsibility to be engaged in our Union and to work to improve wages, benefits, and working conditions for the members that will come after you.
This is your Union and collectively we can make great things happen.