By DIANE S. WILLIAMS
DC 37 and Local 420 recently won more than $43,000 in back pay in separate grievances filed on behalf of two Service Aides at Woodhull Hospital in Brooklyn.
“It took a lot of patience and persistence to finally see these two grievances resolved in the members’ favor,” said Carmen Charles, President of NYC Hospitals Employees Local 420. “We’re pleased with these outcomes. We continue to fight to protect members’ jobs and to make sure they are fairly compensated for their work.”
The victories came after Grievance Rep Courtney Fenton filed separate grievances on behalf of Service Aides Omar Anderson and Lorenzo Stevens.
Anderson contacted the union because Central Office confiscated his entire paycheck after he returned from a medical leave. H+H hired Anderson part time in the Cook Chill plant, where management assigned him full-time hours. Around 2019, he transferred to Woodhull and came under their payroll system.
“We believe management tried to take advantage of Omar and we made every effort to protect his rights,” Fenton said. “We went to OLR to bring him back to work.”
Management reported that they overpaid Anderson and recouped his wages. H+H took more than the contractual 3% allowed. The union filed a cease-and-desist letter, but Central Office overrode it and continued to confiscate Anderson’s wages.
“During the pandemic, H+H issued emergency payroll checks. I asked Woodhull to prove Anderson signed for and cashed the check,” Fenton explained. “They failed to produce any evidence.”
Anderson’s case was settled at Step 3. In June, H+H paid him $1,400 in back pay.
Service Aide Stevens, who has been employed at H+H since 2007, was working out of title as a supervisor. He called the union when Woodhull management never compensated him for the extra duties. Fenton filed a grievance in May 2019 to pay Stevens the difference between his Service Aide salary and the Assistant Coordinating Manager salary, which is about $14,000 a year.
“The case was important to him because his Service Aide duties had changed significantly over the years, and despite taking on more responsibilities, his title and pay rate remained the same,” said Amos Laor, the DC 37 attorney who won the case at arbitration.
“Stevens worked shoulder to shoulder with managers in Woodhull’s warehouse and was the only Service Aide performing computer work,” Laor explained. “Stevens monitored deliveries, ensured payments were processed, and fixed errors in the hospital’s data-management system.”
In July, an impartial arbitrator ruled in favor of the union and awarded Stevens about $42,000 in owed wages, the difference in salary from May 2019 to June 2022.
“This is a great achievement for the union,” Laor said. “It’s not every day that a member wins supervisory compensation from an entry-level title.”
Soon after arbitration, Stevens transfered to Cumberland Clinic and was promoted to Assistant Coordinating Manager, a supervisory position.