Hit me, beat me, make me read the employee contracts.

1 Aug

We have our regular Sunday meeting coming up this weekend, and I’m trying to get some stuff together for a good conversation about the employee contracts. The contracts are all up in December, so we need to start talking about them now. Council will be discussing the following contracts at next Tuesday’s meeting:

2.3.

CONFERENCE WITH LABOR NEGOTIATOR (Gov. Code Sec. 54957.6.) Negotiator:  Brian Nakamura, City Manager Employee Organizations:  Management Employees, Confidentials, Public Safety Management Employees, Chico Police Officers’ Association, Chico Public Safety Association, International Association of Firefighters, Service Employees International Union (Trades and Crafts Unit), Chico Employee Association, WPEA/Local 39

They should be posting information for us as the talks continue, but I’ll bet we’ll have to bitch for it.  The current contracts are available on the city website, on the Human Resources and Risk page, under “Labor Contracts”, here’s the link:

http://www.chico.ca.us/human_resources_and_risk_management/labor_agreements_home.asp

I’ll tell you right off the top – they’re HORRIBLE to read. No lie, they really suck. “Whereas City and CPOA have memorialized their agreement regarding matters within the scope of their representation…” 60 pages, the first 10 of which include title pages, table of contents, and definitions. Then stuff like The CPOA Time Bank – “The CPOA Time Bank is established for use by CPOA employees for the sole purpose of performing or conducting CPOA business without loss of pay…” Wait a minute – what? 

Here’s what’s worse from my standpoint – $taff loads documents in such a way that I cannot cut and paste.  Instead of giving a link and hoping people wade through all that SHIT, I want to take out bits and snatches of interest to discuss here and at our meeting Sunday, but that means, I have to open both screens and go back and forth and type it. That just makes me so mad – my time is worth something, and I just get so frustrated sitting at the computer doing stupid stuff like that. But, I can’t think of any other way to get people to pay attention than to put the outrageous words right in front of their  faces.

I’ve always wrestled with the concept of  “CTO” and “STO”. CTO is “Compensatory Time Off in Lieu of Overtime Payment“, STO is “Selective Time Off in Lieu of Overtime Payment“.  This is an exercise in accounting.  “CTO shall be accrued at a rate of one and a half hours for every hour of overtime worked.” So, they can choose to take an hour and a half of time off for every hour of overtime worked.  Sounds fair, and good for the city, right? But something sounds weird about “Payment for unused CTO …Employees may request payment for a maximum of forty (40) hours of unused CTO…The maximum amount of CTO that may be accrued and utilized at any time shall be limited to 200 hours. Employees may choose to leave CTO in place into the following calendar year. Payment for such hours will be made at the Regular Pay in effect at the time.”  

Then, “Selective Time Off” – Employees who work overtime “may accrue Selective Time Off in lieu of overtime or CTO…STO will be accrued at the rate of two hours for every hour of overtime worked.”  When an employee doesn’t use that STO? They can have it converted to CTO and get paid for it. But here’s what’s changed – they used to get paid for TWO HOURS when they’d only worked one. Even though they were paid at the regular rate instead of overtime, they still ended up with an extra half hour of pay. That sounds petty, but it really adds up. Now the formula says, “Number of STO hours divided by 2, multiplied by 1.5, equals CTO hours”. In other words, they’re getting paid for the hour they actually logged, at overtime, which seems fair to me if indeed it was an overtime hour in the first place. 

My concern is, they can roll these hours over, year after year, through pay increases, and end up getting paid a higher salary for hours worked years previous. I don’t know if it actually works that way, you read it and let me know. All I know is, these guys as much as double their base salaries with overtime, “other pay” and “special pay” and it’s all here in these contracts for any dummass who wants to read it.

Me, I fell asleep while typing and accidentally closed the contract page at least twice. My family has gone out to clean the garage because I kept reading snippets aloud and asking “does that make sense to you?” or “is this crazy or what?”

I’m going out to clean the garage. 

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