November 2, 2006 E-MAIL PRINT

What Can IAPE REALLY Do For Me?


I've heard from a number of Harborside folks recently with variations on the same general question: "What can IAPE really do for me?"

I think that part of that comes from the company's argument that the union can't stop layoffs, seeming to imply that IAPE is useless if it can't guarantee your job.

We've covered this before.

No. IAPE can't prevent layoffs. IAPE can protect you from a bogus layoff or dismissal. IAPE can enforce the rules and guidelines in the contract— making sure that your rights are protected. (And after yesterday's note from a Harborside employee quoting HR as saying "HR and Dow Jones do not have to abide strictly by the IAPE contract and that they can deviate from it when it best suits them," I think we can dispense with the fantasy that "tandem" means anything other than "at will.")

But there's more to the question than layoffs and firings.

In the IAPE contract there is a listing of job descriptions— and the pay rate for each of those jobs. Since they're part of the contract, they can't be altered without negotiations with the union (yours can be— and have been.) Under the IAPE contract, if you work outside "your classification" (above your pay grade) for a specified period (30 days or 45 days, if in "training") you're entitled to the higher rate of pay and the job title that matches the duties you've been performing.

It's written down in black and white—- and so is the procedure to be followed as the union fights for your upgrade. You're not left alone to confront your boss in an effort to get what you've earned. That's the union's job.

We just wrapped up one such case. An IAPE-represented employee at SmartMoney who had been working "out of classification" for more than a year. The process started with conversations with management in the Classification Committee, went to a grievance and then to an Arbitration filing. Once we filed for arbitration (setting the stage for arguing our case before an independent "judge") the company opened discussions on a settlement. The employee received the proper title, a significant bump in pay and a cash settlement.

That's just one reason why you need a written contract. That's just one reason why you need a union. That's just one reason why you need to sign a union card.

Steve Yount

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