A grievance has been filed against the New York State Department of Labor, the Department of Health, the Office of Temporary and Disability Assistance, and other state agencies for allegedly failing to pay its workers overtime for their work during the COVID-19 pandemic.
The grievance filed by Wayne Spence, who is the president of the Public Employees Federation, states that the Professional, Scientific and Technical Services Unit (PS&T) was not fairly compensated for their COVID-related overtime assignments that were mandated by the state.
According to the grievance, starting in March, PS&T unit employees were told they had to sign up for extra hours to handle COVID-19 related work.
The grievance lists many state agencies, but says “much of this work involved the DOL Unemployment Insurance Call Center and related UI data processing as well as the DOH COVID-19 hotline.”
It continues by stating that PS&T unit members were not told that they would be compensated for their overtime hours at a lower salary rate and it was only after they performed these overtime shifts that they were first notified that they would be paid at a lower rate.
The grievance also alleges that members were then told to adjust their schedules to avoid overtime work, with little notice.
“In accordance with DOB regulations, overtime and extra service work may only be performed in lower and higher salary grades on a voluntary basis,” the grievance reads.
“With respect to this class of PS&T unit members, the State has violated Articles 7, 32, and 45 of the PEF/State Agreement.”
The Public Employees Federation is seeking workers be compensated for their overtime hours at their regular overtime rate of pay.
In response to questions about the grievance, Cuomo's office 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."