Arbitrator deals SEA major win on holiday pay

In a major win for SEA/SEIU Local 1984 members, an arbitrator has ruled that the state improperly limited premium pay for certain state employees. The arbitration was held last week and the decision delivered Tuesday, a very quick turnaround time.

“This decision affirms what our legal department believed all along,” said SEA President Rich Gulla. “I’m proud of their efforts as well as those of our members who came forward and took part in the arbitration.”

The Executive Branch contract previously included language that limited premium pay that a flex or alternatively scheduled employee could make on holidays. Employees working a 37.5-hour schedule were limited to 7.5 hours of premium pay on a holiday, and employees working a 40-hour schedule were limited to 8 hours. For example, if an employee works a 40-hour week, 10 hours per day, 4 days a week, and worked on a holiday, then he or she would have been paid eight hours premium pay, two hours straight time.

During the last round of collective bargaining, the state proposed removing the language that limited overtime. With the language removed, our legal department argued that there was no longer a limitation, and affected employees should be paid premium pay for all hours worked on a holiday. The state refused, arguing that was not the intent, and the SEA filed a grievance and brought the matter to arbitration.

The arbitrator agreed with the SEA’s position and found the contract is clear on the matter. You can find the arbitrator’s decision here.

“This is a great decision that will impact a lot of our members, and it’s a great example of what can happen when workers stand up and assert their rights,” Gulla said.

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