Guild Wins Arbitration at Hudson News
Early last month, the NewsGuild of New York successfully convinced an arbitrator to return one of our sales associates back to work after being terminated by the Hudson News for failing to check a customer’s identification when selling tobacco.
While company policy requires employees to check ID for every tobacco sale no matter how old the customer may appear, Arbitrator Martin F. Scheinman ruled that the Hudson News’ policy was unclear about whether a termination was the appropriate punishment for a first offense. Scheinman ordered Sultana Chowdhury, the employee of four years, back to work on December 10, 2018.
“We are so pleased that we were able to win our member’s job back,’’ said Grant Glickson, the NewsGuild of New York President. “Members should take comfort in knowing that their union has their backs in times of trouble.’’
Unfortunately, the arbitration award was not a one-sided victory as the employee did not receive any backpay for the nine months that she was out of work due to being unjustly fired. Scheinman also ruled that the union and employees are now on notice that a violation of the ID tobacco sale policy will result in termination, even for a first offense.
In arbitration, the Guild contended that the Hudson News overreacted and that termination was a punishment that didn’t fit the crime for an employee of four years of service, without any discipline issues. The union’s position was that employee had been out of work for almost nine months at the time of the hearing, and that constituted significant disciplinary action. The union also put pointed out, that another employee had committed the same infraction in 2013 and only received a three-week suspension.
“Our members were very happy to welcome their colleague back to work, ‘’ said Kazi Islam, the Hudson News unit chair. “It’s times like this that members recognize the value of being union members.’’
Terminated Dunkin Employee Reinstated
The union successfully negotiated a grievance settlement that resulted in the reinstatement of a Dunkin Donuts crew member. In October, Hudson News terminated the employee and the union filed a grievance. The union claimed that management terminated the employee without following progressive discipline. The terminated employee had been employed for over two years without any prior discipline. The parties reached a settlement on the grievance, and the employee was reinstated effective December 3rd.
Longevity Increases Restored
In January 2018, employees received the new minimum wage increase as mandated by New York’s minimum wage law. Effective December 31, 2018, Hudson News implemented the wage increase bringing all employees to an hourly rate of at least $13.00 per hour. In the process, Hudson News wiped out the contractual longevity increase for 110 union employees. In March, the Guild contacted Hudson News management and filed a grievance demanding that the missing longevity increases be restored, with retroactive pay to January 1, 2018. In June, that grievance was settled and all missing longevity increases were restored effective July 1. The 110 members received full retroactive pay, payments were made over two pay periods and the amounts ranged from $60 to $650, depending on the number of hours and length of service of the employee.
On December 31, the final mandated New York minimum wage increase will go into effect. All Hudson News employees will receive an increase bringing their hourly rate to at least $15.00 per hour. Employees who currently have longevity increases will maintain that increase and have an hourly rate of $15.00 plus the amount of his/her longevity increase. In advance of the increase and in an effort to ensure longevity increase are not once again wiped out at the time of the mandated increase, the Guild spoke with Hudson News management to make sure they will maintain longevity increase in the new hourly rates. Management has ensured us they are aware of the issue and will not make the same mistake. If you are an employee who currently receives a longevity increase, please take the time to review your pay stub no later than January 18, 2019, to ensure you are receiving the correct hourly rate. If for some reason you believe your rate in incorrect please contact the Guild.
Share this story