Sign up For DC 37 News


Public Employee Press

DC 37 has your back

Local 768 member wins back pay and promotion


By settling an out-of-title grievance in January, the union helped a Local 768 Respiratory Therapist win a promotion and $2,200 — for six months in back pay — for the salary difference between two titles.

“In the end the outcome was great,” said Samone Riley, a licensed therapist since 2004. “I could not have done this on my own. Having my issue handled by a proactive rep like Joel made the difference.”

Riley works at Bellevue Hospital, the city’s renowned healthcare institution and the jewel of NYC Health+Hospitals. Riley and other breathing specialists in Local 768 administer oxygen and nitrous oxide therapies, intubate and ease patients’ ability to breathe.

She works hospital-wide, wherever she is needed. Riley’s work takes her from the prenatal unit aspirating a newborn to intensive care to ventilate a geriatric patient struggling to breathe, or to the World Trade Center clinic to evaluate survivors’ health — all in a day.

Management assigned Riley the duties of a Respiratory Therapist Level 2, but hersalary remained at Level 1, some $5,500 less annually.

“After talking to my colleagues I learned that I was underpaid and was at the bottom of the pay scale for my title,” Riley said. Management assigned Riley the duties of a Respiratory Therapist Level 2, but her salary remained at Level 1, some $5,500 less annually. “We had the same state certifications, degrees and years of experience,” Riley said, “but my coworkers earned hundreds more a week than me for the same work.”

Riley also found herself on the receiving end of a bullying manager who, besides shorting her pay, “humiliated me in front of staff and created a very toxic environment,” Riley added. The harsh treatment ended, said Hospitals Council Rep Joel Viera-Vera, when NYC H+H eventually “fired the manager and escorted her out of Bellevue in handcuffs.”

“The grievance we filed went to Step 2 before Health and Hospitals settled this case in January,” said Viera-Vera. NYC H+H paid Riley six months back pay, the maximum from the date charges were filed and agreed to promote her.

“It pays to speak up, ask questions, be proactive and work with the union,” Riley said. “I want to be respected and to get equal pay.”

“We urge members to stand up for themselves as Samone Riley did,” said Local 768 President Fitz Reid. “If management assigns you out of title work, call the union immediately. We’ll see that you are compensated fairly for the work, skills and qualifications you bring to the table.”