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Most frequently asked questions and answers.

A union is a group of workers who join forces to have a say in their workplace. Unions help workers by giving them a stronger voice to negotiate with their employers on important issues like pay, benefits, safety, training, and other job-related matters. Besides this, unions also ensure that workers are treated fairly and respectfully by their employers. Union leaders are elected by the members, and unions operate democratically to serve the needs of their members.

When we come together as a union, we speak with one voice that can’t be ignored by anyone – not our bosses, not the people we serve, and not our elected officials at any level. So, if you feel passionate about making a positive difference in your community, then joining a union might be the right choice for you.

Yes. Workers who are union members earn 26.2 percent more than non-union workers. The average unionized Asian American and Pacific Islander worker in America earns three dollars per hour more than their non-unionized counterparts according to a report from the Center for Economic Policy and Research.

There are some people who blame public service workers for the problems in America. They say that we earn too much, our benefits are too good, and we have too much political power. They cut our budgets and take away our pensions. They give our work to private companies who pay less money.

But public service workers are very important for the American middle class. Together, we fight to make sure that all families have a good life and a chance to get ahead.

Some people want to make it so that private companies do our work instead. They want to take away our rights and get rid of the things we do to make our communities stronger and safer. No one who works for the public, no one who cares about supporting a family, no one who cares about building a strong middle class should let that happen.

Section 35.02 (a) Observance of Holidays of the Unit 1 and 10 contracts provides that employees whose workdays fall on Monday through Friday during the workweek in which a holiday occurs shall observe such holiday as follows:

Section35.02 (b) of the contract provides that employees whose workdays fall on other than Monday through Friday during the workweek in which a holiday occurs shall observe such holiday as provided below:

In general, employers are not obligated to pay overtime for working on holidays or working over eight hours per day, unless the employee exceeds 40 hours per week. However, the United Public Workers union has negotiated contracts that include extra benefits, such as overtime pay for working on holidays or exceeding the daily limit, pay raises, vacation pay, shift differential pay, and meal and rest periods.

Yes, you are allowed to attend grievance meetings or investigate complaints during work time. According to Section 5.02 of the Unit 1 and 10 contracts, union stewards are recognized as participants in maintaining positive employee-employer working relations. Therefore, stewards are entitled to time off with pay during working hours to investigate complaints, resolve grievances, and ensure compliance with the Agreement in their respective work area or coverage as a steward.

Moreover, stewards can attend meetings between the Employer and the Union aimed at discussing and/or resolving complaints or grievances. In case the Employer is unable to arrange an on-site meeting, the Employer must provide transportation to and from the meeting.

The term “just and proper cause” refers to a level of employee misconduct that warrants disciplinary action, such as suspension or termination. Although there is no clear definition of this term in the contract, there are common guidelines established through numerous arbitration cases. The most widely-used guidelines are in the form of a seven-part test of questions created by Arbitrator Carroll Daugherty. To determine if just cause exists, all seven questions must be answered with a “Yes”. These questions include whether the employee was given forewarning of the consequences of their conduct, whether the company’s rule or order was reasonable, whether the company made an effort to discover if the employee actually violated a rule, whether the investigation was conducted fairly and objectively, whether there was substantial evidence of guilt, whether the company applied rules and penalties even-handedly, and whether the degree of discipline was reasonable based on the offense and the employee’s record. If an employee believes that disciplinary action was taken unjustly, they may file a grievance within a certain timeframe specified in the contract. It is important to note that employees should not simply accept discipline without question, and should file a grievance if they believe their rights have been violated.

To access your personnel file, you should refer to Section 17 of the Unit 1 and Unit 10 Agreements, which outlines your contractual rights relating to your file. It is recommended that you review your file periodically to ensure that all information is accurate and up-to-date.

According to Section 17.01 a. of the Agreements, you are allowed to examine your personnel file by appointment. Additionally, Section 17.01 b. states that upon request, you or your union representative are entitled to receive a copy of any material in the file.

Check your personnel file to see if there is any negative information that you are not aware of. According to section 17.02 a. of the agreements, any derogatory material about an employee cannot be placed in their personnel file unless they are provided with a copy of it. Additionally, section 17.02 b. states that the employee must be given an opportunity to submit explanatory remarks to be included in the file.

Look for and request the removal of any negative information that’s more than two years old. Section 17.03 of the Unit 1 and 10 Agreements allows for the destruction of derogatory material not relevant to an employee’s employment after two years, upon request by the employee and/or union.

Yes, you are entitled to funeral leave with pay for a period of three (3) working days as per the Unit 1 and Unit 10 agreement, Section 41. This leave will not be deducted from any other leave. You can take this leave on any day of your choice, provided that it falls within a reasonable period after the death of your immediate family member.

Immediate family is defined as parents, brothers, sisters, spouses, children, parents-in-law, grandparents, grandchildren, or an individual who has become an immediate family member through the Hawaiian “Hanai” custom or step relationship.

If the death or funeral occurs outside the State of Hawaii, you are entitled to request a reasonable number of additional days of accumulated vacation leave or leave without pay.

As per Section 18 of the Unit 1 and Unit 10 agreement, you are entitled to a 10-minute break after every 2 hours of overtime work. Furthermore, Section 34.01 a.1. states that you will receive a meal allowance after completion of 2 hours of overtime work, and every 5 hours thereafter. The meal allowance differs for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Additionally, Section 32.03 provides a night differential compensation for overtime work done between 6:00 pm and 6:00 am.

Yes, you are entitled to receive mileage reimbursement in addition to your overtime pay. According to Sections 57.03 and 57.04 of Unit 10 Agreement and Sections 59.03 and 59.04 of Unit 1 Agreement, employees are allowed to claim mileage reimbursement for call-out work and overtime work on scheduled days off and holidays, except for employees whose normal work hours include a holiday. However, if you were on off duty status and called back to duty, and you continued to work into your scheduled workday, you won’t be eligible for mileage reimbursement.

No, your seniority will not be affected during the period of your authorized leave. Section 16.01 e. of the Unit 1 and  Unit 10 Agreements states, “Authorized leaves of absence, with or without pay, shall not constitute a break in service and shall be creditable for computing continuous length of creditable service.”

The “UR of the Day” program is a service offered by the Oahu Division of UPW to improve services for its members. It assigns one Union Representative (UR) per day to remain in the UPW hall from 7:30 am to 4:30 pm to assist members who walk in or call when their regular UR is not available. This program was set up to ensure that members can receive prompt assistance and support from a UR, even when their regular representative is busy or unavailable. The UPW receptionist makes the referral to the “UR of the Day,” although members can also choose to discuss their matter with their regular UR if they prefer.

“To be made whole” is a phrase used by unions to refer to remedies for grievances related to back pay. This could include cases involving disciplinary action, improper denial of overtime or promotions, and other similar issues. Essentially, the term means that the grievant should be treated as if the improper action by management never occurred. This could involve restoring the grievant to their previous status before the action was taken, or treating them as though the correct action had been taken. When “to be made whole” is included in the remedy, and the grievance is upheld, the grievant is entitled to receive all back pay that is due, as well as any associated rights and benefits, such as seniority, vacation and sick leave, pension, and medical coverage.

Section 58 of the Unit 1 and Unit 10 contracts is a part of the Bill of Rights for the employees. It is designed to protect your rights and ensure that you are not unfairly treated by your employer. The section specifically mentions that no employee can be required to sign a statement of complaint that is filed against them. This is an important provision as it ensures that employees cannot be forced to sign statements that may be used against them at a later time.

In addition, the section discusses the procedures for investigating complaints. It outlines that in case of a complaint against the employee, the employer is obligated to conduct a detailed investigation to establish the truthfulness of the complaint. A thorough investigation is a crucial component in guaranteeing that employees are treated justly and that their rights are safeguarded.

Section 19 of the Unit 1 and Unit 10 contracts outlines the procedures that need to be followed for cleaning up at the end of the workday.

Employees are allowed personal clean-up time of up to 5 minutes before meals and 10 minutes prior to the end of the workday. Those working with noxious or poisonous chemicals can have 10 minutes before meals and additional clean-up time may be permitted at the employer’s discretion. Employees are not allowed to leave the work premises during the clean-up period or before the end of the workday without permission.

According to section 37.14 of the Unit 1 and Unit 10 contracts, sick leave can be used instead of a vacation day if you become ill during your vacation if you can provide a physician’s note or satisfactory proof to your employer.

The FMLA is a law that requires larger employers to provide employees with up to 12 weeks of job-protected unpaid leave for various reasons, such as caring for a sick family member or a new child. To be eligible, the employee must work for a business with 50 or more employees within a 75-mile radius, have worked for at least 12 months, and 1,250 hours within the last 12 months. The FMLA also provides additional protections for eligible employees.

For the filing of a Step-1 grievance, see Section 15.11 of the Unit 1 and Unit 10 contracts.

The Unit 1 and Unit 10 contracts state that if an employee believes there has been a violation of the contract, they may file a Step-1 grievance. This grievance must be filed in writing with the department head or their designee within 18 calendar days of the alleged violation. The term “after the occurrence of the alleged violation” is defined differently depending on the situation. For discharge, it is 18 calendar days after the effective date of the discharge. For suspension, it is 18 calendar days after the last day of the suspension. For other disciplinary actions, it is 18 calendar days after the effective date of the discipline. For other alleged violations, it is 18 calendar days after the alleged violation occurred unless the violation is continuing, in which case it is 18 calendar days after the alleged violation first became known to the employee or the union if the employee did not know of the alleged violation.

If the alleged violation is a payroll computational error, the grievance must be filed within 18 calendar days after it is discovered by the grieving party and/or the union. Section 15 of the Grievance Procedure provides additional timetables for the employer’s responses to a grievance and union step appeals in the grievance procedure. If a grievance is not filed timely as provided in Section 15, the employer does not need to consider it. However, deadlines may be extended by mutual agreement by the employer and union.

Section 15. Grievance Procedure provides for additional timetables for Employer’s responses to a grievance and Union step appeals in the grievance procedure. A grievance not filed timely as provided in Section 15 “need not be considered by the Employer.” However, deadlines may be extended by mutual agreement by the Employer and Union.

Legal Disclaimer: The information provided in these Frequently Asked Questions is for general guidance only and does not constitute legal advice. Members should consult their bargaining unit agreement or contact their Union Representative with specific questions related to their employment.