Membership Pays Off for Georgia Federal Workers

IAM Local 2783 in St. Marys, GA represents about 1,100 federal employees at Trident Refit Facility (TRF) in Kings Bay GA, and recently received good news concerning three separate grievance issues. Two of these resulted in significant financial awards, while the third hopefully signals a better relationship with management.

Management incorrectly classified bargaining unit employees as “Exempt” for Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) classification, which made them ineligible for normal overtime rates. Most of these employees worked large amounts of overtime due to the nature of their jobs. The original grievance was filed in October 2006 and settled this year after five years of arbitration. The workers affected were correctly reclassified and paid for the overtime they have worked since the original filing. This resulted in a payment of approximately $2,000,000 to some 300 bargaining unit employees.  Some employees received as much as $60,000 in back pay.

Local 2783 also addressed a misinterpretation of the Code of Federal Regulations by management concerning Environmental Differential Pay (EDP). The agency agreed to evaluate requests for EDP compensation from specific shops, Shop 38A, 57A, 57B and 71A.  The agency decided to not recommend any of these shops for EDP compensation. Local 2783 filed a grievance, the arbitrator ruled in the union’s favor and the agency appealed to the Federal Labor Relations Authority (FLRA). The FLRA ruled in the IAM’s favor and ordered the agency to abide by the arbitrator’s decision directing the agency to pay $1,036,834.02. About 70 members will receive up to $8,000 apiece.

This command has a vibrant apprentice program in place. The apprentices sign a contract that says they are promoted and allowed to work overtime after completing their academic program. One of the groups was held back six weeks due to a paperwork error between the college and apprentice program administrators. The local negotiated a cash award of $500 and a six-week early promotion to remedy the mistake. This was a positive indication of management cooperation.

“Local Lodge President Harry Spafford arbitrates grievances for the local,” said Local 2783 Trustee Gene Sykes. “He attended the arbitration class at the Winpisinger Center, and it sure has paid off for the Local Lodge.”

“The union is important for the federal workers at Kings Bay,” said Southern Territory GVP Bob Martinez. “The education and professionalism of our representatives are instrumental in making sure our members get the pay they are entitled to.”