From the Desk of the President (September, 2014)




1st – Tywanna Gray has been elected at the August 20, 2014 Executive Board meeting to fill the vacant Chief Steward position. She has been one of our stewards so is familiar with the job duties and is able to hit the road running. I look forward to working with the Kela Williams/Tywanna Gray Chief Steward team as they continue moving forward with the excellent services our stewards provide to the members of Local 34. Please join me in congratulating her on this election and assisting her with the job duties when she needs that help as it is big job to take on.

2nd – delegates have been elected to represent you at the Council 5 convention. They are Angel Alexander, Elizabeth Allison, Grace Baltich, Jacqueline Coleman, Jean Diederich, Deborah Diggins, Ibrahim Farah, Linda Flykt, Tywanna Gray, John Herzog, Fatuma Kasim, Kathy Kelly, Deb Konechne, Andrea Lazo-Rice, Lashonda McKinley, Ahmed Mohamed, Vicki Moore, Jacquelin Poole, Kay Powell, Patrick Regan, Shawnice Reid, Miguel Salazar, Lindsay Schwab, Jody Stadler, Sharon Streeter and Wes Volkenant. The convention is held September 11-13, 2014.

3rd – delegates elected to represent you at the MN AFL-CIO convention are Grace Baltich, Jean Diederich and Kathy Kelly. That event will be held September 21 -23, 2014.

4th – please join me in congratulating three of our Local 34 members who have been selected to participate in the 2014- 2015 Minnesota Union Leadership Program – Brenda Braswell, Deborah Diggins and Lakisha Perkerson. They will attend a series of workshops over the course of a year touching on the topics of union in the 21st century – labor being in the public eye, labor and our economy, labor and social changes, building union membership and taking leadership roles in the union. Way to go Brenda, Deb and Lakisha!

5th – Local 34 has committed to supporting the 2nd Annual Working Partnerships’ Golf Tournament held on Monday, October 6, 2014. The Local 34 membership voted to approve lost time for up to ten members to volunteer at this event. If you are interested in helping out, please let me know so that I can forward your name on to Doug Flat-eau. Last year’s event had a good turnout and they look forward to having even more participants this year.

6th – we have concluded the disputes to the seniority dates on the new Local 34 Seniority report. About a dozen members contacted me with issues which appear to mean that the dates on the report are correct as of the date it was printed. Of course, as folks move from one job class to another, their seniority will change based on where they fit into the new job class. So, if a person is currently the 18th per-son from the top in their existing job class and they move to another job class, they could then find that they are 45th in that new job class based on the hire/rehire dates of the folks in that new job class. Thank you to everyone who asked questions about the report.

Reporting Your Hours on APEX

I thought that this issue had been laid to rest a long time ago but it is cropping up again. Workers are once more sharing with me that they have been instructed by their supervisors to report their time as 8 hours per day, Monday through Friday, on the timecard for APEX, regardless of when they actually do the work. That is wrong, wrong, wrong!!! Putting false hours on the timecard leaves workers wide open to disciplinary action for falsely reporting their time. You know darn well that the supervisor will not be on the hook for that false reporting even though they are the ones instructing their staff on how to complete the timecard – it will be the worker left holding the bag.

The Federal Fair Labor Standards Act governs exempt and non-exempt status for employees. If you look at our contract, Article 38 spells out the non-exempt and exempt job classes for Local 34. We are supposed to report our time as we work it.

Those folks in non-exempt job classes report their hours on a weekly basis. Anything over 40 hours worked must be compensated as overtime. In other words, if you work 10 hours on Monday, 6 hours on Tuesday, 5 hours on Wednesday, 8 hours on Friday, 7 hours on Friday and 4 hours on Saturday, that is how you document your time on APEX. If you do not qualify for the weekend pay differential, you would select the code, INELIG-WKD, in User Field 1.

Those folks in exempt job classes report their hours on a pay period basis. So, if you are scheduled for 80 hours per pay period, you can work those 80 hours at any time during the pay period and report them as you work them. So, if you work 10 hours on Monday, 4 hours on Tuesday, 18 hours on Wednesday, off on Thursday – Tuesday, work 15 hours on Wednesday, 16 on Thursday, 8 on Friday and 9 on Saturday, that is how you report your hours. Again, if you do not qualify for the weekend differential, you would use the INELIG-WKD code in User Field 1. Any hours worked over 80 in the pay period should be reported as you worked them, so that you earn compensated time for those hours.

You need to keep this in mind – we earn overtime or compensated time when the Employer has approved it. If you are facing the point of going over the 40 hours per week for non-exempt or 80 hours per pay period for exempt, you need to let your super-visor know that you are there.

If they want you to continue working past the 40 hour or 80 hour mark, they then ought to be approving the time. You cannot be forced to work past your scheduled times without pay as that would be a violation of the law.

If you are one of those folks who has been instructed to report your time as a straight 8 hours per day, 5 days per week, even though you do not actually work those hours, please let me know. We want this misinformation to stop and to have every-one report their time truthfully. I do not want to see any one of us being dinged for falsely reporting our time.

And, as a corollary to this topic, there is also misinformation on compensation time. You can have 40 hours on the books at any given time but it is a rolling 40. That means that you can have 40 hours on the books, use 20 hours, earn another 20 hours to bring you back up to the 40 hour limit, use the 40 hours and, again, earn another 40 hours. My hope would be that there would not be a need to continue working so many hours that you accrue the comp time but you are entitled to it if that is what it takes to do your work.

As we celebrate Labor Day on September 1st, please remember these words from John Lennon – “A working class hero is something to be.” Enjoy the fruits of your labor and celebrate your day.