No breaks given (rest period issues)

Discussion in 'UPS Union Issues' started by TMGwam, Jan 9, 2011.

  1. TMGwam

    TMGwam New Member

    I currently work at a building where our preload shift has had a non-consistent system of breaks for well over a year.

    With the old system, we received a 15-minute break period which was made as closely to the middle of the shift as possible. Everyone (unloaders,sorters, loaders, irreg drivers) would stop working for this break. Now this is done almost only during peak season.

    As for the rest of the year, no break is given. When the manager first started this system of "no break" the reason given was that California law says an employee must work 3 hours and 45 minutes (3.75 hours) in order to receive a break. He also claimed business was slowing down enough that we shouldn't have to be working that amount of time. In reality, the majority of people end up having to work 4 hours and being robbed of their 15 minute break. After a week or so without breaks, people started learning only via word of mouth how to receive the 15 minutes we're being robbed of. Simple: stay on the clock another 15 minutes at the end of the day. Management didn't officially announce this or go around to everyone. To do this day, new employees never know this either untill we tell them. Sometimes management tries to tell people during this time that they have to punch out and punch back in. Again, it seems like they're not doing things in any official matter. Finally, as of recently, some people are standing up and saying law allows them to take the break in the middle and that they only have to work 3 and a half hours to earn it, and they have actually stopped and taken their individual breaks while the whole building is up. These people are usually loaders so it's somewhat easier for them to walk away from their jobs than a sorter or pickoff, but I don't think they're going to continue doing that.

    I've finally got around to educating myself about the law and have discovered that the real numbers are "3 and a half hours of work" and "10 minute break". So they're giving us extra 5 minutes, but robbing us of the whole system itself?

    It is also common knowledge in our building that our contract guarantees us the very same 3 and a half hours of work daily. In other words, EVERY employee should be earning break EVERY day. It seems like the old break system is the only legit and practical one.

    From now on, I plan to take my break at the mid-point on any day I feel I may need it. I also plan on informing my brethren of all this information in hopes of rallying further support for change. I figure if enough people are being assertive with their right to a break, they'll have to give it to us. Unfortunatly, I have very little faith that there would be enough people doing this for it to matter. As it is, many people are working 4 hours straight and NOT claiming their 15 minutes at the end. They just clock out and go home. And this is how their :censored2:ed up system ends up working. (Not to mention all the money they save from higher-seniority sort-aisle employees who only work the minimum 3 and a half hours and think they havn't earned a break)

    I would appreciate any help, advice, or extra information that might help this situation. Also, if you're in California, it would be extra helpful if you know the laws on breaks and can tell me anything I'm missing or am misinformed of.
  2. UPSGUY72

    UPSGUY72 Well-Known Member

    You need to file a grievance and contact your BA to let them know what is going on. They should give you a Paid break after 2 hour of work what they are doing is trying to cram all the work into 3 hr and 30min then they are covered but when they go over 3 hr and 30 min they know that most if not everyone will just go home instead of sitting around for 15 min.

    If you want something to be done about it you need to file a grievance and contact your BA otherwise they will keep doing it.
  3. Dragon

    Dragon Package Center Manager

    I agree with UPSguy72, you should file a grievance. However taking it upon yourself to just walk away and take a break may subject yourself to some other un-intentional consequences.
  4. over9five

    over9five Moderator Staff Member

    And I agree with that. Don't "abandon your job". Work as directed, and grieve later.
  5. UpstateNYUPSer

    UpstateNYUPSer Very proud grandfather.

    The part that has me curious is where the OP says the work is done and that he and several others stand around for 15 minutes and then punch out. I am surprised that his mgt team allows this, especially if they are not allowing a break.

    75 minutes a week at $10/hr may not sound like much but over the course of a year adds up to over $600.
  6. JonFrum

    JonFrum Member

    What does your Supplement say about the length of paid breaks and when they should be taken?

    State Laws on paid breaks and unpaid lunches (and other things) are here . . .
  7. cachsux

    cachsux Wah

    I would not just take your break as you see fit. As explained by others above it will backfire on you. What you can do is educate your coworkers so they all know they get a break. You can also organize and all request your break at the same time and the message might come across. Definitely file grievances until it is corrected.
  8. TMGwam

    TMGwam New Member

    UpstateNYUPSer, to further explain that situation:

    I don't really know how that system started (did management tell someone they can collect their 15 minutes at the end, or did the person tell management that's what they feel is fair?), I just know it's the response to our official break being taken away. I suppose the official idea is that we have to clock out, clock in, wait for 15 minutes, and clock out again. But many of us are getting away with just staying on 15 minutes. We decided because management hasn't made an official announcement or told us individually, we can keep doing it that way. They're not denying us this after-work "break" because they're agreeing that it is our legal right to it if we worked 3 hours and 45 minutes. (in reality, the legal number is 3 and a half hours) There's been times when an employee arrives very late to work, making it obvious that he or she won't earn a break that day. At the end of the shift, the fulltime supervisor may be standing next to the punchout clock to make sure that employee punched out. I think the part timers also keep track of what time employees are told to go home. A lot of times, the part time supervisor's goal is to send home as many employees as possible before they make 3 hours and 45 minutes. In reality, it's all based on a lie and we already make break due to our work guarantee.

    It was only recently I heard that a couple people are asserting their right to take that break in the midpoint. They're not just abandoning work- though there was a debate about that. The fulltime supervisor said that an employee must notify a full time supervisor and not just a part time supervisor if he or she is to leave to take that break. However, it would just take more time to walk around and find said supervisor. It also makes me feel as if my part time supervisor is even less useful than I thought.

    I was pretty sure my BA knew of our break situation, unless he just didnt bother to question why we stand around for break at the end of the shift instead of the middle. As for a grievance, it seems we're not being denied our breaks, but you do have to be the 1% of people that assert their rights AND knows what those rights actually are well enough so they can argue back with a supervisor. In other words, they'll give me my break if I ask for it, so can I really file a formal grievance? I'm thinking I should call my BA anyways and ask him specifically about how the law says we get breaks at 3 and a half, which is what we're guaranteed anyways. But I don't really know what my question is. "How is this happening?" "Is this legit?"

    That's kind of what I wanted to ask you guys: Does this seem acceptable? Again, we're not being denied our breaks. They just have to all stand up and ask for it. If enough people do it, it'll create enough inconvenience so that they have to just stop all work for 15 minutes like they used to do. The problem lies in the fact that noone will stand up and take it even when they're informed about it, maybe unless there's an official shop steward or someone going around pressing that fact on everyone.

    I'll keep you guys updated on what my BA's response is, and what happens at work.
  9. 22.34life

    22.34life Active Member

    in texas you have a contract right to a ten minute break to be taken before the third hour but after the first,for part time people.truth is you could probably stop work at the third hour and take your break,they might raise hell and threaten you to high heaven but what grounds would they have to dicipline not telling you to do that,just informing you of your do what you think is right.
  10. TMGwam

    TMGwam New Member

    (I wrote this post under the belief that IWC Article 9 applies to us preloaders, but I'm still unsure. Can anyone attest to that please?)

    Hmm, I'm starting to realize how much money the company really owes us. Under IWC Article 9 section 12, it is said "If an employer fails to provide an employee a rest period in accordance with this order, the employer shall pay the employee one additional hour of pay at the employee's regular rate of pay for each workday that the rest period is not provided.".

    Most the people in the building have at least one day a week (except peak season) where they didnt take a break in the middle because they were told either (1) they have to wait till the end to take the break or (2) they have to work 3 hours and 45 minutes. In reality, if we had records of EVERYTHING, I could tell you that they owe us 1 hour pay for more than 75% of the work days. I believe that's over 3 weeks of pay (assuming 20 hours is the weekly average) per year.

    The problem I foresee in the argument is that people aren't standing up to these 2 points, so then management can defend themselves by saying "They never asked for the break to be in the middle." or "They never asked for a break when they worked 3 and a half." Some people did and were denied, but they probably didn't write down when that happened.


    One of my friends writes down his times every day and I think he said he even wrote down whether or not he took a break. But I doubt he'll step up and actually try to make a claim on it. Who knows? I'll push him anyways.

    I printed out various text about this law and it'll all be placed on my manager's desk tomorrow. I'll keep you all updated.
  11. UPSrookie

    UPSrookie New Member

    California Labor Code Section 226.7

    (a) No employer shall require any employee to work during
    any meal or rest period mandated by an applicable order of the
    Industrial Welfare Commission.
    (b) If an employer fails to provide an employee a meal period or
    rest period in accordance with an applicable order of the Industrial
    Welfare Commission, the employer shall pay the employee one
    additional hour of pay at the employee's regular rate of compensation
    for each work day that the meal or rest period is not provided.

    Mention this to your supervisor and lead and collect your extra hour for EACH day you werent given a break. That will immediately stop them from not giving breaks.
  12. UnsurePost

    UnsurePost making the unreadable unreadabler

    File one huge grievance for all days the one hour has been missed.
  13. menotyou

    menotyou bella amicizia

    More free money!!!