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PEP Feb 2004
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Public Employee Press

Corrections stiffs boiler workers, has to pay up

   
 

BACK PAY CHECKS are displayed by Local 983 members. From left, Local VP John Daprile and union members Anthony George and Victor Maldonado, whose grievances won them over $16,000 apiece.

 

Anthony George and Victor Maldonado, boiler operators in Local 983, recently won more than $16,000 each in a settlement for back wages.

Because it could not meet federal Environmental Protection Agency regulations, the Dept. of Sanitation shuttered the Greenpoint incinerator where they worked in 1994. The two High Pressure Plant Tenders were among eight employees offered redeployment.

“The new agency heads promised we’d keep our same wages, annual leave and seniority,” said Mr. George, who voluntarily transferred to the Dept. of Corrections. The DOS had paid the two men a differential of 60 cents an hour for minor welding and plumbing work. The Dept. of Corrections promised to do the same.

But when the men got their paychecks, their pay was short. The differential was missing. Eight months later, when another redeployed DOS employee transferred into DOC and retained his differential, the two decided to contact their local and fight for their money.

Blue Collar Division council reps filed a grievance for the lost wages, which eventually went to Step 3.

Still the agency was hesitant to pay. But Mr. George had kept the original DOC letter promising no change in wages and benefits.

“Without that piece of paper, these members had virtually no case,” explained Local 983 Vice President John Daprille, who handled the case. The local also hired labor lawyer Stuart Lichten, who demanded arbitration. The day of the scheduled hearing, DOC offered the men a settlement. The agency offered to pay the differential on back wages, overtime and leave. Over seven years, it amounted to more than $16,000 each.

“Without DC 37 and John Daprille’s persistence I would not have won my case,” said Mr. George.

 
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