SFO Creates Its Own Loophole to Avoid Paying Employees Their Due

What’s the difference between a Project Manager and a Contract Manager at SFO? As it turns out, not a lot, except for one pesky little thing: monetary compensation.

A Project Manager is in charge of the budgeting, scheduling, and coordinating between the different organizations impacted by the project. Depending on the level of the Project Manager and her/his underlying job classification, the Project Manager assignment can result in a significant increase in pay.

The San Francisco International Airport (SFO) has found a way to skirt around the contract they signed with Local 21. SFO has disregarded the existing guidelines and abused the process by assigning their engineers and architects to do the work of Project Managers, but is avoiding properly compensating them by improperly classifying them as “Contract Managers” instead. “Contract Manager” is a made-up designation that  doesn’t exist in the Local 21 Contract, but carries the same job duties as a Project Manager in SFO’s own Policies and Procedures Manual.

SFO’s Policies and Procedures Manual states the only difference between a Project Manager and a “Contract Manager” as, “A Contract Manager (CM) is typically from DC Architecture and Engineering (A/E) Branches whereas a Project Manager (PM) is from the Project Manager Branch.” It lists no differences in duties or responsibilities, further demonstrating that “Contract Manager” work is the same as Project Manager work.

Local 21 recently filed a grievance on behalf of an employee who bravely stepped forward to challenge this practice. The case progressed to expedited arbitration, where the arbitrator sided with SFO. Local 21 disagrees with the arbitrator and firmly believes that the airport should not be creating their own loopholes to assign employees high-level work outside their classifications and then undercompensating them for that work. Project Manager work deserves Project Manager pay. It is Local 21’s understanding that close to a hundred projects at SFO are still using Contract Managers where they should be classifying those workers as Project Managers instead.

Despite winning the arbitration, SFO has agreed to have a dialogue with Local 21 to find an equitable solution to this problem.

If you have any questions or if this is an issue that is effecting you, please contact your Local 21 representative.