NAPE/AFSCME union steward Ruben Adams, a Highway Maintenance Crew Chief for the Nebraska Department of Transportation (NDOT), successfully enforced our union contract and secured on-call pay for his crew.
The Wednesday before Thanksgiving, Ruben’s supervisor informed him that his crew was being placed on call from Friday at 7am “until further notice” because a winter storm was set to roll in. The employees placed on call were confused about when the on-call period would end, and Ruben couldn’t give them an answer.
At 4am on Saturday, Ruben called his crew in to treat and plow the snow-covered highways. They worked until 2pm on Saturday. The question then became whether or not they were still in an on-call status. Ruben’s superintendent was on vacation, and because Ruben was acting supervisor and hadn’t been given any other information, he told his crew that they were still on call.
At 7:30 on Monday morning, Ruben and his crew were informed that they were no longer on call. What’s more, they were told that their on-call status should have ended when they finished plowing the highways on Saturday so they would not be paid for any on-call time beyond that. Ruben knew that this wasn’t right.
“Things have to be communicated, especially with incoming winter storms. We have to know when we’re on call and when we’re not,” he said. “Two of my guys had to miss family activities because we didn’t know when our on-call would end.”
It was obvious to Ruben that he and his crew deserved proper compensation for the entirety of the time they spent in an on-call status. So, he set a meeting with Human Resources, and the issue was promptly resolved.
“The guys were tickled pink,” he said. “They had 41.5 hours of on-call time that they all thought we weren’t going to get.”
Ruben attributes his confidence throughout this situation to his knowledge of our union contract.
“When my supervisors argue with me or approach me about our contract, sometimes I just hand it to them and prove them wrong,” he said.
NAPE/AFSCME stewards are worksite leaders who are trained on the contract and the law. Ruben’s advocacy meant that this workplace issue was able to be resolved without going through the grievance process. If you are interested in becoming a union steward, click here.