With chronic short staffing and Covid rolling through our ranks just before and after the holidays, affecting about two thirds of our center, many people were being subject to mandatory order-in shifts of four hours or more.
Per Connecticut labor law, overtime pay is not applicable unless the person has actually worked more than 40 hours in their pay period. This meant that if someone were to be out sick in the beginning of their week, and then ordered in later in the week, they would just get straight time.
We thought this was unfair as we have repeatedly fought for more staffing from the city for the past 25-plus years. We filed a grievance and were able to negotiate a settlement that would give anyone affected by this an extra 2-4 hours of comp time (depending on length of the order-in). We also were able to get it retroactively to December 1, 2021, which is when the staffing/sick issues came to a head. Though this does not seem like a lot, it went a long way to helping our members feel more appreciated and heard.
Margaret Dabrowski is a dispatcher for the city of New Britain, Vice President of UE Local 222 and President of Sublocal 25, which represents the New Britain dispatchers.