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Indybay Feature
Tue Jan 9 2007
Berkeley curbside recyclers win IWW contract fight
Tue Jan 9 2007
Berkeley curbside recyclers win contract fight
IWW Curbside Recyclers at the Berkeley Ecology Center won a small, but important victory Friday, January 5 by refusing to let management violate their IWW union contract.

Currently, all Saturday work must be paid at time-and-one-half standard wages, except work performed before 8:00 AM and after 5:00 PM, which must be paid at double-time. The same rules apply for Sunday work. Weekend work is rare, and is usually scheduled the same week as non-working holidays. Prior to 2001, the workday began at 8 AM and ended at 5 PM. In 2001, the start time was moved up to 6:30 AM by mutual consent by Management and the Union, but the Saturday and Sunday work rules remained unchanged as an incentive to schedule weekend work as little as possible.

On Saturday, December 30, 2006, work began at 6:45 AM, but Management refused to pay double-time for the 1:15 worked. A newer employee noticed the the contract violation and informed Shop Steward, Mike Hudgins. Fellow Worker Hudgins brought notice of the violation to Management. Martin Borques, Chairman of the Ecology Center Board of Directors, tried to argue that the language in the contract is "a misunderstanding", left over from the time when the start time was changed, and that the double time pay should only apply if work begins prior to 6:45 AM or continues past 3:45 PM. The IWW refused to give in, saying that if management succeeded in arguing that weekend overtime language was "a misunderstanding", they could declare any part of the contract they found inconvenient, "a misunderstanding".

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