City Threatens Discipline Against Union Members

Workers who refused overtime could face discipline

By Jenel Nels
|  Tuesday, Aug 3, 2010  |  Updated 8:57 AM CDT
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SAN FRANCISCO - JUNE 11: Norcal Waste worker Manuel Vera moves a bin with compostable materials while collecting recyclable materials in a Sunset district neighborhood June 11, 2009 in San Francisco, California. The San Francisco Board of Supervisors voted 9-2 on June 9, 2009 to pass the nation's toughest recycling law for the city of San Francisco. City residents will be issued three bins, one for garbage, one for recycling and one for compostable materials and will be expected to separate their waste in the proper bins for garbage collection. Those who do not properly separate their garbage will be fined $100. San Francisco currently recycles 72 percent of the city's waste and hopes to increase that number to 100 percent by 2020. (Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images) *** Local Caption *** Manuel Vera

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A number of union members who refused to work overtime could face disciplinary action from the city.

Following last month's flooding rains a number of workers knocked off after a their regular shift before the work was done The city says a some union members violated their contract by refusing an overtime request following torrential rains on July 24 that left thousands of area basements under water, according to the Chicago Sun-Times.

The union's contract makes extra work mandatory whenever the city declares an emergency and gives members at least 16 hours' notice, but Lou Phillips, business manager for Laborers Union Local 1001, says many workers picked up second jobs and are reluctant to substitute that cash for comp time.

"Comp time isn't the worst thing in the world. But you can't bring it to Walgreens and buy medicine with it. You can't pay a mortgage or a Catholic school tuition with it," said Phillips to the Sun-Times.

Streets and Sanitation spokesman Matt Smith says the overtime is a condition of employment.

"Some workers refused to perform this mandatory overtime work [Wednesday through Friday] and in response the department is initiating the necessary disciplinary actions," said Smith to the Sun-Times.

Union members will receive a chance to defend their actions in a hearing.

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