Workload and Overtime December 7th 2015

To:          TEAM-IFPTE Local 161 Members
From:      TEAM Office
Date:       December 7, 2015
Re:          Workload and Overtime

Through surveys and one-on-one conversations, members have expressed concern about being assigned excessive workloads and working extra hours for no pay or additional time off.  MTS’s current downsizing initiative has raised the concern level further.  In the following paragraphs we review your rights to compensation for your work and some of the tactics used to discourage members from exercising their rights in the Collective Agreement.

Hours of work, overtime and on-call are defined and determined by the TEAM Collective Agreement which applies to all employees in TEAM’s jurisdiction.  These provisions ensure that employees are fairly compensated for hours worked, ensure managers balance the workload amongst their team, and protect employees from burn-out and associated health issues.

During negotiations, MTS and TEAM have agreed that the normal hours of work are 7.5 hours per day, for a total of 37.5 hours per week (Article 19).  TEAM members who supervise employees in IBEW work an 8 hour day, for a total of 40 hours per week.  It was also agreed that additional compensation is due for overtime “when an employee is authorized to work beyond the normal work day" or when responding to "a call-out for immediate reporting to the workplace" (Article 21).

By implication, TEAM members can be directed to work overtime, however MTS has stated on numerous occasions that overtime is not mandatory.  Members who are on standby receive Duty Manager pay of two hours a day and they are required to respond to call-outs and work overtime (Article 24).

TEAM members report being pressured, sometimes subtly and sometimes not so subtly, by managers and directors to work more than the agreed normal hours of work for free.  Members working on under-resourced projects or carrying an excessive workload, on making their managers aware that the deadlines or deliverables cannot be met without overtime, report being told:

When members raise concerns about the work required to meet the deadline, reported comments from managers include:

If you are faced with having to work beyond the normal daily hours of 7.5 hours, (8 hours if supervising craft employees), remember that you have the absolute right not to work the extra hours unless compensation is received at the overtime rate.  Overtime can be paid out through the payroll system on a regular payday or taken as time off, or a combination of pay and time off (Article 21.05).

Advising your manager that the deadline cannot be met or that you cannot keep up with the workload within the normal hours of work is important.  Having advised your manager, it is now his/her responsibility to consider the options and address the problem.  Take the below steps to assert your right to be compensated for the extra hours you work:

1.    Maintain a record of the communications with your manager.

2.    Advise your manager as soon as possible about the additional hours required.

3.    Keep your manager informed via email of the extra hours worked and the progress on the project/workload.

4.    Document the extra hours worked on the day, or day after, the work was done, preferably in ESS.

5.    Claim all overtime worked in ESS whether it was pre-approved formally or not.

While as committed employees and professionals, we tend to work flexibility into the hours worked, expecting to be paid for working extra hours is not indicative of a “lack of commitment” or “unprofessional”.  Our time is valuable and overtime is part of our agreed terms and conditions of employment with MTS.  It is an exchange of money (or time off with pay) for work done in excess of the normal work day.

Occasionally MTS hires contractors to do TEAM bargaining unit work, and regardless of the number of hours worked, MTS has no issue paying these contractors for every hour that they work, and often at significantly higher rates than TEAM members receive.  TEAM members should not be treated differently.

Contact TEAM if you have questions or concerns.

TEAM-IFPTE Local 161
204-984-9470 or 1-877-984-9470