June 24, 2024
Annapolis, US 85 F

Annapolis Unions File Grievance

Overtime Pay Cited

The union representing the Public Works employees has filed a grievance against the City for failure to pay overtime. Late last month, we were contacted by an irate Public Works employee.  He claimed that during the snow storms, the City failed to pay the department proper overtime based on a decision by Director of Human Resources Kimla Millburn. He stated that this was a new City policy implemented without notice.  The basis of the gripe was that during the days that the City was officially closed, the employees who reported for work were paid their base rate and not an overtime rate.

There are two sides to every story and we contacted the City’s Public Information Officer, Phill McGowan, to get his. The unions have filed a grievance against the City. However, it seems that the issue is a moot point. A different rate of pay is not addressed in any of the collective bargaining agreements. However, in the past, the prior administration authorized the overtime payments as a discretionary payment. As Mayor Cohen stated in his State of the City address, back then the City was able to afford the bonus, and now they are not.

McGowan was very clear, “the City will pay every penny owed to the letter of the law, but not a penny more.”

No one can deny the power of labor unions in any business. While it seems like Spring may have begun to melt the snow, the temperature is still very frigid at the bargaining table.  Undeniably the unions are upset with the layoffs and this perceived change in policy.  We wonder how earnestly they will participate at the bargaining table with a Mayor who is looking for nearly $2.5 million in concessions?

The City’s finances have been laid out for all to see. No one can deny there is a problem. Mayor Cohen, despite his seemingly liberal leanings, has taken the fiscal bull by the horns and is positioning himself to do what is best for the City of Annapolis.

When he campaigned and accepted contributions from the unions, many thought it to be a quid pro quo arrangement. Apparently not. When Mayor Cohen was appointed to replace Democratic primary winner Zina Pierre, many thought he was merely a puppet for the “Democratic Machine”. Apparently not. It seems our new Mayor is doing his best to steer this City out of choppy waters to the detriment (perhaps) of his own political career. These decisions are not easy. Mayor Cohen has almost four years to prove himself and this is certainly a trial by fire.

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