Direct Government Workers - Overtime Ban Q & A ***UPDATED

September 25, 2012

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION FOR MEMBERS
UPDATE ON UNION'S OVERTIME BAN
SEPTEMBER 25, 2012

pdf version for download

PLEASE NOTE: Changes are in bold.

The union continues to meet with the Public Service Agency [PSA] to confirm additional information that will be provided to members and managers about the impact of the ban and what steps must be taken before bargaining unit members can be assigned overtime work.

GENERAL APPLICATION
The parties agree that there are exceptional circumstances where the ban on overtime will not affect certain work groups because of the obvious safety and health risks.

A clear example is Wildfire Management. Fire fighters, Air Operations Clerks, Logistic Officers, Dispatch Supervisors and Finance Chiefs are exempt from the overtime ban due to the emergency nature of their work. Members working on standby are exempt if there are called out to respond to an emergency. Staff who are required to attend court on a non-workday as a witness in relation to their job duties would not offend the overtime ban.

Further details about component specific exemptions are provided below in the information for those occupational groups with the highest usage of overtime.

For workers that are NOT covered by the clear exemptions, the parties have agreed to a step by step process that employers must take before any overtime work can be assigned to a bargaining unit member. Most overtime requests will relate to work that has been agreed is an essential service but may also involve work performed by other non-essential staff (as defined by the Labour Relations Code).

CORRECTIONS
The parties agree that the duties performed by Correction Officers in Adult Custody are essential to the health, safety and welfare of inmates. If a need for overtime arises in Adult Custody, the following procedure will be following prior to the assignment of overtime to bargaining unit members:

1. The normal call out procedure will apply. Backfill shift work will be offered to callboard employees at regular pay rates.
2. If no callboard employee is available to work the shift, the employer agrees that qualified excluded staff at that facility will be assigned the work (to a maximum of 16 hours per day and 60 hours per week). The numbers of excluded managers at each facility are as follows:
• Nanaimo Correctional Centre – 3
• Vancouver Island Regional Correctional Centre – 3
• Surrey Pre-trial Services Centre- 4
• North Fraser Pretrial Centre – 5
• Fraser Regional Correctional Centre – 6
• Ford Mountain Correctional Centre – 2
• Kamloops Regional Correctional Centre – 3
• Prince George Regional Correctional Centre – 3
• Alouette Correctional Centre for Women – 2
3. If no excluded is available, and the shift/work must be assigned, the parties agree that an emergency exists and the overtime work will be performed by bargaining unit members.
It is understood that the employer will review the circumstances present at each facility to mitigate the overtime expense as is their current practice (ie., collapsing programs etc.). If an excluded manager lacks the skills to perform specialized work (Control/Records) the excluded can backfill a Correctional Officer with the training who can be moved to perform the backfill duties.

Correctional Supervisors and Senior Correctional Officers will not substitute into ADW positions if it is only for the day that the ADW is doing overtime in an agreed post. Substitution will still occur in the normal course of events, unrelated to the overtime ban. Temporary ADW substitutions which are over 20 days duration will be considered excluded employees for the purposes of the overtime ban and will be considered eligible for assignment to extra shifts in the agreed posts, as are other permanent exclusions.

YOUTH CUSTODY
If a need for overtime arises, managers will use the callboard/auxiliary callout system. If no auxiliary is available to perform the work, a qualified excluded manager will be assigned the work (up to the 16 hour and 60 hour maximums). Only if an excluded is not available to perform the work, will the work be assigned (outside of day shifts) to a bargaining unit member. There are two excluded managers in Prince George, three in Burnaby (only two in October), and two in Victoria.

The parties agree that only a female excluded manager will be assigned to work in the female youth unit.

It is agreed that Correctional Officers and Senior Correctional Officers will not act up into Director positions for the purpose of excluded personnel backfilling unless they had already been appointed to substitute in a vacancy over 30 days.

Correctional Officers and Senior Correctional Officers will not substitute into ADW positions if it is only for the day that the ADW is doing overtime in an agreed post. Substitution will still occur in the normal course of events, unrelated to the overtime ban. Temporary ADW substitutions which are over 20 days duration will be considered excluded employees for the purposes of the overtime ban and will be considered eligible for assignment to extra shifts in the agreed posts, as are other permanent exclusions.

SHERIFFS/JUSTICE
The parties agreed to the following exemptions from the overtime ban:
• Sheriffs will not offend the overtime ban if in the period of time that abuts their regular work shift, they are providing inmate transports or they are maintaining security in the cells or the courthouse that extends beyond two hours. The parties agree that excluded managers can provide security in the cells or the courthouse. They can also conduct short term escorts (for non-level one transports) during the course of the day and at the end of a sheriff's shift for up to two hours per escort.
• Sheriffs will not offend the overtime ban in an unscheduled overtime situation that abuts their regular shift where a court or a jury trial sits longer hours (except when the length of the overtime reaches the normal jury duty replacement point).
• Sheriffs will not offend the overtime ban in an overtime situation (both scheduled and unscheduled) that abuts their regular shift relating to the transport of inmates and court security for high security trials (defined as utilizing a level one or level two escort and/or a search gate).
• Unscheduled overtime that abuts a regular shift for staff in the Integrative Threat Assessment Unit and Protective Officers on emergency call-out.
• For travel time related to administration duties of provincial circuit court staff throughout the province.

• Air Escorts for the Youth Female program are also an emergency exemption when staff are pulled from operations and incur overtime. Other Air Escorts are subject to the regular call-out provisions.

For sheriffs, the employer has agreed to use the callboard/auxiliary system for anticipated overtime. If no one is available, the employer will assign the work to qualified excluded manager (up to the 16 hour and 60 hour maximums). Only if an excluded is not available to perform the work, will the work be assigned to a bargaining unit member.

Deputy Sheriffs, Sergeants and Staff Sergeants will not substitute into excluded manager positions if it is only for the day that the excluded manager is doing overtime in an agreed post. Substitution will still occur in the normal course of events, unrelated to the overtime ban. Temporary excluded manager substitutions which are over 20 days duration will be considered excluded employees for the purposes of the overtime ban and will be considered eligible for assignment to extra shifts in the agreed posts, as are other permanent exclusions.

COURT CLERKS

The first obligation for overtime in a court is to assign the work to excluded staff who are qualified. Where no qualified excluded staff is available, the court clerk may as an exemption to the overtime ban accept the overtime to avoid a delay in a trial.

STEP ONE
If an employer becomes aware of a vacancy that needs to be backfilled (a scheduled overtime situation as a result of sickness, special leave etc.), the employer must first use the normal call-out process. They must offer the work to callboard/auxiliary/part-time regular employees at regular pay rates.

STEP TWO
If no callboard/auxiliary/part-time regular employee is available for the shift, the employer must assign the work to qualified excluded managers at that worksite/location. Excluded managers will be assigned additional work to a maximum of 16 hours per day and a maximum of 60 hours per week.

STEP THREE
Only if no excluded manager is available, and/or their daily or weekly hours have maxed out, will the overtime work be assigned to bargaining unit members. The employer has stated that they will take all reasonable steps to minimize the additional cost and the need to incur overtime. If all prior steps have been taken and a backfill emergency exists, the provisions of Article 16 would apply and bargaining unit members (essential and in some emergency circumstances non-essential members) would perform the overtime work and there will be no violation of the ban.

MINISTRY OF CHILDREN AND FAMILIES
The parties agreed to the following exemptions from the overtime ban:
• In a situation of unscheduled overtime, Social Workers who are conducting a child welfare investigation will continue to work to conclude the investigation where the overtime incurred abuts their regular scheduled work shift. The overtime worked would not offend the ban.
• A Social Worker who is working on standby, and is called out on a child protection matter. The overtime worked would not offend the ban.
• In circumstances where a Social Worker is contacted at home after their scheduled workday by an After Hours Worker (or the Child Help Line or the police or a hospital) and that Social Worker is required to take action in their local community in relation to a child welfare emergency, the overtime incurred by that Social Worker will not offend the ban.
• In circumstances, where a Social Worker is required to attend court as a witness in a child welfare or a court hearing in relation to their employment, the overtime incurred will not offend the ban.

The ban extends to include ICM training and administrative paper work. The union did not agree that overtime work performed by ICM support staff (IT) was an exemption to the ban as these members are not on standby.

AFTER HOURS OFFICES
The employer agrees to use the callboard/auxiliary system for uncovered shift coverage. If no auxiliary or callboard employee is available to perform the work, the employer will assign the work to a list of qualified excluded managers within the geographic area (32 kms) of the After Hours office (the maximums of 16 and 60 hours will apply). If no qualified excluded manager is available to perform the work, the overtime work will be deemed an emergency and will be assigned to a bargaining unit member.

BROADMEAD/FORENSICS
The employer agrees to use the current auxiliary roster system for shift coverage. If no auxiliary or part-time employee is available to perform the work, the employer will assign the work to a list of qualified non-contract employers/excluded managers (the maximums of 16 and 60 hours will apply). If no qualified non-contract employers/excluded manager is available to perform the work, the overtime work will be deemed an emergency and assigned to a bargaining unit member. The union has asked for current lists of non-contract/excluded managers and will review this information with local component executive members.

RETAIL STORES
The parties anticipate there will be no overtime required. For the essential service positions that have been designated on a standby basis, if those members are called out, the parties agree an emergency would exist and the overtime work would be performed by the member.

INFORMATION TECHNOLOGY
The employer has agreed but not yet provided a list of positions for review by the union that they argue support health, safety and welfare functions. Some of those positions are on standby and others are not. The union will review that information and respond to the employer after consulting with stewards and members.

TRAVEL STATUS
The employer has discretion in the scheduling of travel time. The union told the employer to schedule travel during normal work hours. Overtime is NOT allowed for travel to and from training. The union told the employer that members will decline overtime that arises as result of the employer's training schedule.

The union had agreed to individual exemptions for members who had already travelled prior to the date of the overtime ban and could not reschedule flights or arrangements to avoid an overtime situation in order to return home. Individual exemptions must be reviewed by component chairs.

NO MORE FREE OVERTIME
We are reminding members that the overtime ban includes the direction that members must stop working for free after their regular work day has ended. We are asking stewards to monitor the workplace and to remind members of the reasons for the overtime ban and the goals of the strike.

Clearly there will be some missteps as both sides adjust to the new process. It is very important that members monitor their work situations and forward any concerns or questions about questionable overtime assignments or distribution to their stewards and local chairs. The union and the employer have agreed that they will meet to review and resolve outstanding situations.

It was apparent during our meeting with the PSA that the employer has, for too long relied on overtime as a stop gap measure to "run" the business of government instead of backfilling vacancies and creating positions for long term auxiliaries.

The union believes the overtime ban will cause administrative chaos for government. We want the government to feel the pressure of the strike. The overtime ban will directly and negatively impact excluded ministry staff for the foreseeable future. The decision to impose the ban was not taken lightly. We recognize that the overtime ban will also hurt our members. Some of you will feel the financial implications and some of you will be negatively affected in your workplaces.

We are asking you to stay strong and solid. Some of you have asked what will happen to members who do not respect the ban. The BCGEU Constitution requires members to support the strike and has disciplinary procedures for those who do not, including those who break solidarity by performing free overtime. Let's remind each other of the strength we have in our solidarity. You gave the union the mandate to take strike action in support of bargaining for a fair and reasonable wage increase. The fight is also about respect for workers and for improvements to their working conditions. Respect the ban and each other in this fight for dignity and a fair and reasonable settlement.

Regular updates will continue to be posted to the website. We will provide more information as it is available.