Union 1705 – Why the Complaint on Vacation days and 4 Hour Min?


Maybe it is just seeing posturing for a new contract (current one expires this June) but Union 1705 I have to ask why the complaint on the City Council floor regarding vacation days and 4 Hour OT min?

Looking at the Contract, these items seem pretty clear and unquestionable.

According to the Sun “For years, members of Local 1705 say they were able to count a vacation day toward a 40-hour workweek, after which they could earn overtime pay. But last month, that practice was abruptly changed without notice, according to the union.

“This just came out of nowhere,” said Local 1705 President Corey Robinson,

If it is the case that in the past it was allowed and now it is not, to bad ! You received something (supposedly) that you didn’t bargain for or agreed to and when this new administration or new Auditor discovered it and put an end to it (thus probably saving city funds in the process) then you’re out of luck.

Looking at the black and white signed contract it seems to be pretty straight forward:

Screen Shot 2015-05-04 at 3.09.59 PM

In fact it specifically states: The above does not relate to a regularly scheduled normal vacation time.

Is it unfair to have received something and then when discovered it was something you were not entitled to and was ended fair? I thinks so….Did any of your union members or did the Union on behalf of it’s members ask anyone in the Administration why you were getting this benefit or did you just allow it to go on and on hoping no one would catch it?

Sorry but if you tried the don’t ask, Don’t tell method and got caught…You lose! You have no argument.

Next up for the Union is a dispute about Min. OT hours according to the Sun:

The city and Local 1705 are also at odds at another definition, one regarding emergency call-in hours. Under the current contract, a worker must be paid a minimum of four hours if called in for an emergency shift on the same day that employee already worked. The disagreement revolves around whether workers are supposed to be paid at least four hours if called in on an off-day. The requirement is an incentive to get workers to pick up those shifts but is rarely used, Robinson said.

Of course it is rarely used, why would the city use it if workers respond and are willing to come in for 2-3 hours and not demand 4? Again looking at the language it says

4 Hour Increments
If the overtime rotation has been exhausted and no volunteer exists, the Employer in order to provide appropriate coverage may offer overtime shifts in four (4) hour increments.

and it also says if the employee is called within two (2) hours of his normal shift starting time and works continuously into his shift, the four (4) hour guarantee shall not apply

May offer overtime shifts in four (4) hour increments doesn’t mean the City has to and at a time when the administration is trying to save funds to help cover the cost overrun for Ice and Snow why would they?

Screen Shot 2015-05-04 at 3.33.10 PM Screen Shot 2015-05-04 at 3.33.46 PM

Speaking of Ice and Snow I didn’t realize until I requested and looked at a copy of your contract that in addition to your time and a half for OT..during SNOW storms each employee also received an extra $3.00 an hour stipend. A very generous perk but a very costly one to the taxpayer this winter.



Published by Lowell School Committeeman Gerry Nutter

I've been interested in Schools since I worked at the Greater Lowell Tech and substitute taught in Dracut. I've followed the finances and issues with the Lowell School for the past 8 years while blogging and contributing to Saturday Morning Live! Currently serving my 1st term.

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  1. Past practice has been around since the city employees unionized back in the early 70’s . If the city has allowed it to goon this long and want to argue the point, then they probably need to impact bargain with the union. And those upset about the snow overtime might want to talk to the employees that worked 10 and more hour days to keep out streets clean.

  2. Gerry it apperas sick and holidays are counted towards the forty hours,why the vacation leave is omitted is unknown but both sides did sign the agreement so possibly and I am saying possibly it was a understanding if it was paid in the past. That said if it goes to a mediator I believe the union will prevail on past practice if it was paid by the past administrations. It is very differcult to gauge the contract on a few paragraghs but I think asking for 4 hours on a non scheduled day is very fair considering the employee is giving up a NS day with the family,has some travel time etc. As far as saving money everyone forgets these employees gave up their health insurence saving millions of dollars for the city. Is it possible the auditor who came from out of state is unfamilar with labor contracts and past practice,not sure,she has been doing a fine job but may be unfamilar with labor contracts. My guess is the union will win in mediation.

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