June 1, 2010: Freight levels are improving and overall work hours are on the rise.
Article 5.6 gives us a tool to enforce our contract and help our brothers and sisters on layoff return to work.
Freight levels are starting to improve, and overall work hours are increasing in many terminals.
Now is the right time for stewards and members to keep close track of overtime hours and help our brothers and sisters on layoff return to work.
What the Contract Says
Article 5, Section 6 of the National Master Freight Agreement (NMFA) gives us the tools to get the job done. Here’s what it says:
“On a weekly basis, the Employer shall be permitted to work the active seniority board 25% of the straight time hours in overtime. In the event the employer exceeds the 25% overtime allowance, the number of overtime hours in excess of the allowance will be applied in the next following week for determining the number of employees to recall from lay-off….”
Just to make it clear, in a normal workweek, you multiply the number of Teamsters on the active seniority list(s) that week by 50 hours for the overall weekly total hours.
Any hours worked above that overall figure are divided by 50 to determine whether or not there are sufficient hours to bring back one or more Teamsters from layoff status.
For example, if there are 50 on the “active seniority list” working or being covered for vacation, sick, etc., the company is allowed an overall total of 2,500 hours.
If the company had them work a total of 2,600 hours, then the difference is 100 hours excess, divided by the allowable 50 hours per Teamster, means that they must recall two laid-off Teamsters.
The emphasis is on the total weekly hours for the purpose of bringing Teamsters back. The hours must be above the overall allowable global figure.
Build Your Case
This clause is enforced in a number of locals, and since it’s a straight numerical calculation, it’s hard for the company to get out of it.
Make sure a steward or other member is staying on top of this issue and putting in the weekly request for information on the total hours worked.
File a grievance on a weekly basis if the company is not restoring jobs based on the required numbers. Laid off Teamsters should be “made whole” on any lost time for which they weren’t returned to work.
Contact TDU if you need advice on how to address this issue.