Teamsters Local 700 Wins Backpay Award on Behalf of Aviation Members

Teamsters Local 700 recently won two grievances against the City of Chicago for failing to pay premium rates to Motor Truck Drivers (MTDs) at O’Hare and Midway who worked six and seven days during seasonal shift changes starting in 2014 and after. All those members affected will be made whole in the coming months.

During shift change, some MTDs changed their normal two-days off schedule, thus creating a six or seven day workweek on some occasions. Although the contract covers MTDs at both airports, for a period of time, MTDs were being paid differently depending on which airport they were working.

On March 31, 2014, in e-mail to the O’Hare and Midway foremen and commissioners, Robert May, Director of Administration for the Department of Aviation, stated that during shift change he would be changing the way a workweek is defined so that employees that worked more than five days in a new week would not be entitled to premium pay. During the November 2014 shift change, O’Hare stopped paying premium rates of pay to employees who worked six and seven days.

Upon learning of the discrepancy in 2014, Teamsters Local 700 filed grievances in 2014 and 2015 for both Midway and O’Hare airports.

“The city tried to manipulate our agreement by creating their own definition of a workweek so they wouldn’t have to pay our members overtime,” said Ramon Williams, Local 700 Business Agent. “This was a clear violation of the departmental shift change that was longstanding with our members.”

The case went before an arbitrator in November 2015, who agreed to hear both grievances at the same time. The arbitrator issued his decision in April and granted Local 700 both grievances and ordered the city to distribute backpay to those members affected.

“This is a huge win for not only our aviation members but for all City of Chicago members,” said Becky Strzechowski, Teamsters Local 700 President. “This award sets a precedent for all city bargaining units that management cannot contrive their own interpretation of the contract just to get out of paying overtime or other
provisions that we have previously agreed on.”

Mark Chasen is a Steward at O’Hare and has worked for the city for 36 years, with the last 10 spent at the airport. “This is a big win and everyone affected is very happy,” said Chasen. “We would like to thank Becky, our Business Agent Ramon Williams, and everyone at Local 700 for their diligent work and for bringing home an important win.”

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