By MIKE LEE
For more than 12 years, SSEU Local 371 member Denise Kittrell has worked for NYC Health+Hospitals as a Community Liaison Worker I at the Sydenham Health Center in Harlem.
Beginning in 2012, management began assigning out-of-title duties to Kittrell. Management mandated that she perform HIV swab testing and counseling, thus blurring the lines of her position and egregiously increasing her workload.
Ms. Kittrell filed a grievance, and the union successfully won her $3,500, as well as a cease-and-desist order prohibiting NYC H+H from assigning Kittrell duties beyond her community liaison work.
As they say, some people don’t listen and in this case, the exploitation of Kittrell’s hard work at the Sydenham Health Center continued. Management ignored the initial decision, and immediately ordered Kittrell to again perform HIV swab testing and counseling.
Within a month, in July of 2013, she filed another grievance with the union against NYC H+H for the continued out-of-title violations.
After a difficult three years battling NYC H+H over the matter, with the assistance of Professional Division Grievance Rep Alexander Elias, Kittrell won an additional $10,000 in backpay going back to the filing of the initial grievance. The award, combined
with the first decision, totaled $13,500.
The experience left Kittrell grateful and enthusiastic for the union’s efforts on her behalf in fighting and winning this case.
“I love my union and love my job. I want to thank the team for assisting me,” she said.
She added that this has encouraged her to become more involved in the union. “Because of what happened to me I have become more active in the union, and will continue to fight for my fellow workers,” she said.
Grievance Rep Alexander Elias, who was key in successfully moving the battle against management, spoke of the importance of coming to the union for assistance.
“We continue to fight for the rights for all our members, but you have to be in it to win it,” Elias said. “I encourage members to reach out to their local delegates if they have questions, and if they are not satisfied, take it to the next step,” he said.