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Public Employee Press: PEP Talk

21 RTs breathe easier with $10K pay win

The union resolved a group grievance in February for 21 Respiratory Therapists in Local 768, including from left: Genel Deselmond, Lijo George, Sandy Shao, Nichole Hyatt, and Jerome LaZarre at Coney Island Hospital.

Twenty-one Respiratory Therapists at Coney Island Hospital resolved a group grievance for 120 days of scheduled standby time that pays them $10,000 collectively. The union successfully fought to hold Coney Island management to the contract mandate that Local 768 members be paid for scheduled standby time.

“We filed a grievance for the group because management was not paying its employees for standby time assigned in addition to their regular work schedule,” explained DC 37 Council Rep Joel Viera-Vera who filed the grievance on their behalf in 2018. The contract mandates that for every hour of scheduled involuntary standby time, an employee should receive a half hour of regular rate of pay.

Managers in the Respiratory Department at Coney Island Hospital schedule RTs to be on call and fill in for any coworker who calls out sick or is on vacation. But the union found that Respiratory Department managers were not coding timesheets accurately.

DC 37 lawyer Terri Nilliasca handled the case that settled at Step 3 in Feb. 2020. She said since the pay dispute has been resolved, the union anticipates that H+H will set a pay date for members soon.

Respiratory Therapists work 12-hour shifts three days a week. They are first responders to medical emergencies 24/7 whenever patients are in duress and need to be ventilated or even resuscitated. They work in hospital intensive care units, ambulatory services, clinics, and emergency departments.

“We want to stress how important it is for members to check their paystubs to make sure they are paid the correct rate, especially regarding standby time, overtime, and differential pay,” said Local 768 President Fitz Reid. “The union is here for you. If any members believe they are not being compensated for work assigned beyond their weekly scheduled hours, they should contact us right away so we can start the process to protect their rights and make them whole.”