AFGE GETS EMPLOYEE $16,000 BACK PAY
Here is another example to give those employees who refuse to join the union by asking, “What can the union do for me?”
In this case a prison guard was put under investigation, reassigned to a desk job and denied overtime until the investigation was over. The issue was not whether it was reasonable for management to conduct an investigation; the arbitrator said it had reasonable grounds to do so.
But the union challenged how the employee was treated while under investigation. More specifically, AFGE showed that it was neither fair nor equitable to treat the employee the way it did. The union showed that other employees under investigation were not denied overtime. As a result, the arbitrator ordered that the employee be given more than $16,000 in retroactive overtime pay. Bravo, AFGE. (See DOJ, Federal Correctional Complex, Coleman, Florida and AFGE Local 506, 65 FLRA No. 217 (2011)
Without the union, the employee had no practical way to get the overtime records on other employees who had been investigated nor did he have the right to take the case before an outside neutral arbitrator. In other words, without the union the employee would have lost his regular annual overtime pay of $16,000 just for being under investigation and without regard to whether he was ultimately guilty of something. Ask those non-members if they could afford to take a $16,000 pay cut one year. If they can’t then maybe they should find a way to afford the union.