Local 791 Prevails
In Ohio Turnpike
Steward Darrell Brown (left) congratulates Richard Durbin on his
arbitration victory. Durbin holds a copy of the arbitration award.
In both a moral and a monetary victory for UE Local 791/UTW
members, an arbitrator ruled last month that the Ohio Turnpike commission was
wrong in charging a maintenance worker with "unavailability for
overtime" and found that he must be compensated for overtime he should
have been allowed to work. The decision in the case of Richard Durbin
also means that both maintenance and toll workers will not lose overtime turns
in the future because of an "unavailable."
Arbitrator Tobie Braverman upheld virtually the entire
argument offered by the union. She rejected the Commission’s claim that this
case was "not arbitrable," writing that the union followed all of
the contract procedures and met all of the time limits for processing a
grievance for arbitration.
Ohio Turnpike maintenance workers are expected to be available
for overtime on a rotating basis. A rotating overtime roster is updated on a
weekly basis and maintained at each building. Under the terms of the contract,
those employees who are called out for overtime but do not report are charged
with the available overtime and moved to the bottom of the list.
ARBITRATOR AGREES WITH THE UNION
On July 15, 2000, Richard Durbin was called to cover the 11
p.m. to 7 a.m. custodian shift. The 20-year employee responded to the call at
about 7:40 p.m., well before his time to respond had passed. However,
management had already awarded the overtime to the next person on the roster.
Durbin was charged with the overtime, meaning that he was dropped to the
bottom of the roster.
Further, the maintenance worker was charged with being
unavailable for overtime, which is a disciplinary issue. An employee
unavailable for overtime six times in a year is fired.
In her decision, Braverman agreed with the union that Durbin
was "available" to work, since maintenance workers have been told
they have until two hours before the shift begins to respond to a
non-emergency overtime call.
Additionally, the arbitrator agreed with the union that Durbin
cannot be charged with a turn on the overtime roster under these
circumstances. In the future, this means that both maintenance and toll
workers will not lose their overtime turns in similar situations because of an
"unavailable" even though the Commission had improperly done so in
Finally, the arbitration award requires that "The
Grievant shall be reimbursed at applicable overtime rates for the July 15,
2000 overtime shift" — which means the Commission is required to pay
Durbin 9 hours pay (8-hour shift plus 1-hour travel time) at one and a half
times his rate of pay.
Local Pres. Shawne P. Wise, Darrell Brown, Zone 2
maintenance chief steward and Jim Roudebush, former chief steward,
fought the Commission on this grievance through the grievance procedure. John
Arvai, Zone 4 chief steward, testified at the hearing, as did Durbin. UE
Field Org. Al Hart presented the union’s case during the hearing and
wrote the union’s post-hearing brief.
UE News - 09/01