Sunnyvale Members Win More than $264,000 in Unpaid Overtime

Members from one of Local 21’s newest chapters have won a major grievance over mandatory unpaid work. Though the numbers are still being calculated, the settlement will be more than $264,000 and will be distributed to 23 current members and 13 retirees.

For years, Water Pollution Control Operators at the Sunnyvale Water Pollution Control Plant have been required to be “suited up” and attend a mandatory shift change meeting 15 minutes before shift start to transfer information from outgoing crew to incoming crew. The City of Sunnyvale has not been paying workers for that time, which would have put them over the line into overtime pay, even though it was clearly a required part of their jobs. Earlier this year, members reached out to their Local 21 Representative and raised concerns. A grievance was filed shortly thereafter.

Sunnyvale Employee Association chapter member and Water Pollution Control Operator Ryszard “Rich” Zabinski says, “This is the union advantage. When the City was getting free work from us and we said no more, we had a strong union behind us and we were able to right a wrong that had been going on for years.” 

The grievance settlement includes setting up a new shift-change procedure for these workers, and back pay for overtime worked going back 3 years from when grievance filed. Congrats to these members for their win! Together, we are STRONG!