Public Employee Press
DOT owes L. 1157 member
$29K for 9/11 overtime
IN FULL: Local 1157s Willie Tucker Sr. will get about $29,000 in overtime
pay that DOT management had denied him after WTC clean-up.
An impartial arbitrator at the Board of Collective
Bargaining ordered the Dept. of Transportation to pay a Local 1157 member more
than $29,000 in back wages after it determined the agency improperly withheld
overtime work assignments during the World Trade Center clean-up operation.
DC 37 and Local 1157 filed a grievance in 2001 for 48-year DOT veteran Willie
Tucker Sr., a Supervisor Highway Repairer.
The union charged DOT violated
the collective bargaining agreement when it unfairly denied Tucker overtime assignments,
assigned him duties that were substantially different from his job specifications
and failed to pay him for overtime after 9/11.
Blue Collar Division
Council Rep Bill Fenty and DC 37 Legal Dept. attorney Diana York took the case
to step 3 and then arbitration. They argued Tucker was denied around 953 hours
of overtime shared by other supervisors and was denied more than 1,500 hours of
overtime in 2002. At best, Tucker was assigned only a couple of overtime hours
that year, Fenty said.
After the 9/11 terrorist attacks, New York City
employees in Blue Collar agencies were required to work 12-hour shifts, on
instant standby to react. The majority were assigned to ongoing clean-up
at and around Ground Zero, the Staten Island landfill and the city morgue.
That September, Tuckers DOT manager issued a memorandum specifying
that Tucker not work any overtime without written permission. At the hearing the
manager said Tucker did not have the skills
speed and he was uncomfortable giving him certain assignments.
But Tucker said his work was never criticized and witnesses testified he was a
The union argued that if Tucker was no longer competent
to perform, DOT would have been required to serve Tucker charges and provide him
a full evidentiary hearing on the matter prior to relieving him of his supervisory
duties, or taken other disciplinary action against him, which DOT did not do.
The arbitrator wrote, There was no testimony or evidence that
could lead me to make a finding that Tuckers knowledge or abilities to perform
supervisory duties were suddenly diminished during September 2001 as compared
to his performance prior to that date, and decided in the unions favor.
While the award does not question managements right to determine
when overtime is to be scheduled, the arbitrator wrote, I did not
agree that the distribution of overtime can be assigned arbitrarily, without recourse.
DOT and the union were left to calculate the pay out. This case demonstrates
that the union will not allow management to unfairly deprive a member of contractual
benefits enjoyed by his or her co-workers, said DC 37 General Counsel Eddie