Monterey County members win back pay

County Auditor payments still past due

Board of Supervisors agrees to compensate SEIU members for delay

 

After over a year of overtime miscalculations, the Monterey County Board of Supervisors authorized an agreement with SEIU members to pay them an additional 7% of their total back wages owed.

Read the agreement: Payroll Grievances Settlement Letter

SEIU members have always gone above and beyond by working overtime to meet the needs of our community. Sixteen months after County Auditor Mike Miller turned on his multi-million dollar payroll system, hundreds of county employees are still owed wages for miscalculated overtime.

The problems started in September 2010 when the system went live and was unprepared to handle the specific pay requirements of our labor contracts, which stated that holiday, vacation and comp time hours be included when calculating overtime wages.

When we questioned Miller about the mishap, he said the “experts” he consulted told him our labor contracts were “not consistent with FLSA (Fair Labor Standards Act) mandates.” Miller never consulted SEIU. He was either unaware or chose to ignore the FLSA rule that states when a labor agreement provides greater benefits than the minimum standards of the FLSA, the provisions of the labor agreement shall prevail.

The grievances we filed in response to Miller’s contract violations are still pending arbitration. In the meantime, 521 members have repeatedly demanded the Auditor immediately pay all SEIU members who are owed back wages for miscalculated overtime.

SEIU Steward Arlene Samrick quickly stepped up to communicate our message to the Board of Supervisors.

“Turning on this new payroll system before it was ready has had such far-reaching and long-term consequences. Withholding our pay for over a year is unacceptable!”
Arlene Samrick, SEIU Steward

The Board agreed. In recognition of the delay, the Board authorized the County to sign an agreement with SEIU to pay our members an additional 7% of their total back wages owed. Some social workers have already been made whole. For that reason, they will receive an additional 5% of back wages owed.

Read the agreement: Payroll Grievances Settlement Letter

This is good news. But for those of us who were incorrectly paid, the big question is, “When will I receive the back wages I am owed?”

According to the Auditor’s Office, a computer consultant has been retained to work exclusively on automating the process for calculating what employees are owed. You can expect to receive a detailed break-down of the retro pay you will receive. However, the Auditor’s Office would not commit to a firm date when the payments would occur. For this reason, SEIU has imposed its own deadline of March 31, after which time we intend to arbitrate the grievances and seek an order for back pay with interest if the Auditor has not made our members whole.

Our SEIU payroll team has communicated our deadline in a letter to the Auditor.

Read the letter to the Auditor: Mike Miller Letter

Stay posted for further developments.

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