When SSSCC/O’Hare Communications Steward Paul Pollard was looking over some City pay scale information back in July, he shared it with his co-worker Richard Urbinati, who was about to receive a huge payback.
After Richard looked over the information, he realized he had missed a contractual merit increase from March 2015, and thus all of the subsequent raises and higher overtime rates since that time. He immediately sent an email to payroll and was told he in fact was due money back and it would take approximately eight weeks for it to process.
“I kind of expected it to take a while to receive payment, and that was no problem,” said Richard. “But I was now going on week 14 without getting paid yet, so I wrote another email to ask and they told me it was out of their hands and was in the budgeting department.”
Richard told Paul about the response he was given and they relayed the information to their business agent, Carlos Sanchez, who helped them file a grievance at the end of September. One week later, Richard received a check for more than $10,000 of back pay that he was rightfully owed. “It was a beautiful thing,” he said.
Paul said this isn’t the first time he has seen someone receive back pay from a payroll oversight. “My best advice for all City employees is to follow your schedule and don’t depend on someone else to count your money,” said Paul. “With Richard’s case, I told him to ask and even if we’re wrong, let them tell us we’re wrong and give us a reason why. The worst thing that can happen is they just tell you you’re not due for anything.”
Richard, an SSSCC employee for 16 years, said this experience has made him more aware of keeping track of his schedule and pay scale and that the union is there for a reason.
“The union stood up for me, and that is what you would expect as a member,” said Richard. “Before I filed the grievance I was stuck in limbo. A week after I filed the grievance, I was paid. I am very thankful to both Paul and Carlos for helping me get the money I was deserved.”
While he did buy a new TV for his home, Richard said the rest of the money is going to be put toward his daughter’s education as she starts high school next year. Now that’s a beautiful thing.