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Saturday, May 21, 2016

Chris Day on probation and the union contract

Article 1, Section 19, Paragraph 3:
The first 120 calendar days of employment for all employees will be a probationary period.
During this period, an employee will not be eligible for uniforms or any benefits except the Medical, Dental and Vision plans. Probationary employees, but not including Student Operators, will be entitled to holiday pay on New Year’s Day, Martin Luther King’s Birthday, Memorial Day, Independent Day, Labor Day, Thanksgiving Day, and Christmas Day. Probationary employees may be terminated without recourse to the grievance and arbitration procedure. At the conclusion of the 120 day period, the employee will become eligible for all benefits and rights as provided for in this Agreement.

Article 2, Section 2, Paragraph 6:
Mini-run operators, their spouses and dependents shall receive free transportation passes after the mini-run operator has completed their probationary period. Mini-run operators shall also receive pro rata pension rights based upon an accrual formula equal to seventy-five percent (75%) of the full-time rate. Mini-run operators shall receive six (6) hours holiday pay and shall be entitled to the same holidays as full-time employees after probation. Mini-run operators with twelve (12) months’ service will receive vacation to be taken in the second year on the basis of five (5) hours per day. Vacation will be paid based on the individual’s work assignment at the time vacation leave is taken up to the accrued amount. Mini-run operators with three (3) weeks vacation available may choose to designate one (1) week to use one (1) day at a time. There will be a minimum of one (1) mini-runner to use a floating vacation day at each of the three bus garages. It is understood that based on the work site of the mini-run operators, and the number of weeks withheld to be used one (1) day at a time, adjustments in the minimum allowed per garage may need to be made. A mini-run operator with 6 months of continuous service shall be eligible, beginning on the first day of non-occupational accident and fourth day of non-occupational sickness, for extended sick leave benefits as provided under Article 1, Section 9, Paragraph 4 (b), at the rate of $90.00 per week. Mini-run operators will accrue sick leave on the basis of six (6) hours sick leave for every 140 accumulated straight-time pay hours. Mini-run operators shall begin accruing sick leave on the first day of the month following the completion of the probationary period. Sick leave shall be paid based upon the individual’s work assignment at the time sick leave is taken, up to the accrued amount.

Article 2, Section 2, Paragraph 7:
Mini-run Operator’s probationary period shall be six (6) months from completion of training period. In the case of compensable injury suffered during the probationary period, upon the employee’s return to work the period of disability would be tacked onto the probationary period up to a maximum of ninety (90) calendar days. A Mini-run Operator who becomes a full-time Operator prior to the completion of their six (6) month probationary period, shall not be required to serve the probationary period for full-time employees in addition. Mini-run Operators to be covered by Article 1, Section 2, Paragraph 2; Section 3 and Section 4.


Today a probationary operator asked me questions about the probationary time as per our contract. It had been a while since I had paid much attention to that section so I went back to research some answers. There are 2 articles that defines probation and reading the two I am finding it not well written. Article 1, Section 19, Paragraph 3 starts off by saying “The first 120 calendar days of employment for all employees will be a probationary period” and because I see the words “for all employees” I begin to think that it actually means FOR ALL EMPLOYEES. Then I read further and I get to Article 2, Section 2, Paragraph 7 “Mini-run Operator’s probationary period shall be six (6) months from completion of training period.” Aren’t Mini-run Operator’s part of all employees? As I read more it becomes even more interesting when I see “A Mini-run Operator who becomes a full-time Operator prior to the completion of their six (6) month probationary period, shall not be required to serve the probationary period for full-time employees in addition.”

So from what I am reading in our contract we have 3 categories of operators. We have the “Student Operator” who has started training the first day of their hire date, The Mini-run Operator who has just completed training and is now on 6 months of probation and then the Full time Operator. With these 3 groups it creates many questions:

1: What does the statement “A Mini-run Operator who becomes a full-time Operator prior to the completion of their six (6) month probationary period, shall not be required to serve the probationary period for full-time employees in addition” mean?

A Mini-run Operator that becomes a full-time Operator before completing their 6 months are not required to serve the full-time probationary period. Does this mean that if you become full-time after your 6 months of Mini-run probation that you must also do 120 days full-time probation?

2: If probation for Mini-run Operator starts after training then are the Student Operators on probation while training?

3: Your hire date is your very first day of employment isn’t it?
I mean you start getting paid for the work that you do from that point forward don’t you?

4: What is the first 120 days for all employees really in reference towards?

This is just one example of many on how messed up our contract is and how important it is for our contract to have a thorough go over and get all this cleaned up and actually working correctly for everyone. No more cutting and pasting from last contract and making little changes here and there because when changes are made the writers don’t check to see how it effects other sections of the contract.




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