ALBANY, N.Y. (NEWS10) — A state employee union is fed up with state agencies over the issue of overtime pay during the pandemic. The Public Employees Federation, or PEF, has filed a grievance with the Governor’s Office of Employee Relations.
PEF alleges that the state did not pay some of their members a proper overtime rate for mandatory overtime hours worked. Meanwhile, a state official disputes the claim.
PEF sent a cease and desist letter to the Governor’s Office saying that the state “has failed to pay [Professional, Scientific, and Technical Services Unit] employees at their required regular overtime rate of pay for mandated COVID-related overtime assignments that were performed outside of their normal workweek.”
PEF President Wayne Spence says state agencies like the Department of Health, Tax & Finance and Department of Labor “sought or mandated” PS&T unit workers to perform the overtime work.
“They then went to mandating people to work within the Department of Labor and telling them, so we’re going to tell you you’re going to have to work 15 hours a week and you have to do that after you get your regular work done, and we’re not going to pay you at the rate that you were hired to work at, we’re going to pay you at a clerical grade level because we feel the work is clerical work,” PEF President Wayne Spence said.
In a statement, Cuomo Administration Spokesperson Jack Sterne said, “While we don’t comment on pending matters like this, the COVID-19 crisis was unprecedented — and so were our actions to help support New Yorkers during this pandemic emergency. The PEF has rights as a union to submit a grievance, but all staff were paid in accordance with longstanding state policy.”
PEF says that “numerous negotiations” have been held with GOER, the Department of Labor and other state agencies about the overtime issue.
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