Saturday, October 1, 2016

Owning Overtime



In case I had any hopes that the union for nurses could ever be on my side, that is gone.

On Friday afternoon, a supervisor asked me to work the weekend for overtime on the floor.  "Nurse Megan has been out sick all week.  She usually covers this weekend, but I haven't heard from her yet, and I don't want to be short."

I asked, "What if she shows up?  Do I go home without pay?"

"No, I'll just move you somewhere else where it's wild," the supervisor said.  (Not that her guarantee of today would exist tomorrow.)

I came in Saturday and worked the shift without Nurse Megan appearing.  As the shift neared its end, the supervisor told me that Nurse Megan called, upset that her overtime shift was given away, and demanded that she work tomorrow.  "So I don't need you tomorrow," the supervisor commanded.

On Monday, we had a nurses' union meeting.  The people who take $50 out of my paycheck in return for . . . nothing.

Nurse Megan made an appearance and declared, while glaring at me, that her overtime was taken away and she wanted to file a complaint against the supervisor who did it.

There were gasps in the room.  Some people offered pity, others angrily demanded to know the name of the supervisor who did this.

"Megan, I worked Saturday because we didn't know if you were going to show up or not because you had called out sick all week.  The supervisor said she would keep both of us if you came into work, but you didn't.  She then took my overtime away for Sunday because you said you wanted it," I explained to the unsympathetic crowd.

"I was not sick!" Megan snapped, annoyed.

"Oh, that's what the supervisor told me," I explained.  I recalled that she had been out all week.

"I called out sick, but I was not sick.  I had things to do.  I have a life, you know," Megan hissed, rolling her eyes like an annoyed teenager.

"Of course we'll file a complaint for you!" the union rep chimed in.  "We protect the rights of our nurses."

"I'd like to file a complaint, too," I chimed in.  The group turned and stared at me.  "My overtime for Sunday was taken away."

"It wasn't YOUR overtime," Megan yelled.  "You don't own overtime."

"But you do," I said to Megan.

"Yes.  I've been working overtime since before you ever started working here, so it is mine and not yours," Megan quipped.

"Okay, so Megan," the union rep interjected, "We'll file a complaint for you to be paid for the shift that was taken from you at the overtime rate of time and a half, plus ask for double as a penalty for giving the shift away to Nurse Enid."

"You want the hospital sanctioned for giving me overtime?  I'm also a nurse that you represent," I admonished.

"Well, they were wrong," the union rep answered.  "We can't make demands without stating the facts, so we have to give the name of the nurse who took the overtime, and that was you.  There are rules."

"What rule says that you get paid for not working a shift that you are not scheduled to work?"  The union rep didn't answer, so I continued, "There is a rule that says that sick days can only be used for illness, not running errands."

"We are all on the same team here," the union rep said.

"And what is my position?" I asked.  "Odd man out?"

So I left.  But first I went over to the refreshment table and placed a bunch of bagels and cookies in a bag and carried it out.  Breakfast for a week, but still not a recoup of the $50 from this paycheck.


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