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Silencing beepers

After a long fight, SSEU Local 371 Caseworkers at Coney Island Hospital gained a victory, winning back pay and no longer carrying beepers after work hours.

The second time around was a charm for 14 Caseworkers — members of SSEU Local 371 — at Coney Island Hospital.

PEP reported in early 2017 that four caseworkers at the hospital settled a grievance for nonpayment of standby time for being on call after work hours.

In this grievance, the 14 members were placed on a seven-day rotating schedule and required to carry a NYC Health+Hospitals-issued beeper.

Under the mandate, they had to carry the beeper every day overnight — from 5 p.m. until 9 a.m.

Lines blurred between work and private time

Under the contract, this is considered stand-by time, and the hospital was required to pay the workers 30 minutes for every hour while on standby.

As was the case in the previous grievance, the second grievance dealt with the blurred lines between work and private time.

Though the members were paid for the times they were contacted and reported to the hospital on emergency calls, they were never compensated for the entire time they had to carry the devices.

“Even when they were not on call, they must be compensated for work rendered,” said Grievance Rep Alexander Elias, of the union’s Professional Division. “Without our union and worker solidarity ‘working more with less’ will become the norm, not the exception.”

Like the previous case, the group filed a grievance in 2013. Finally, after a long fight, the hospital settled on Feb. 22 with the 14 Caseworkers.

In the agreement, each worker was compensated for the standby time they were not paid from when they were issued the beepers up to 120 days prior to filing the grievance.

In a further victory, the grievance settlement mandated that Caseworkers no longer have to carry the beepers.

“Once again, the union prevailed for its members. New York City has the best employees, who are dedicated and committed to community service,” said Elias. “I want to thank the union’s legal team and SSEU Local 371 President Anthony Wells for their guidance and support, without which this great win would not have been possible.”