Canada Employment and Immigration Union -
March 20, 2008

Overtime Work and Productivity

Our collective agreement provides that overtime work is to be offered on an equitable basis to qualified staff, but in some cases the employer is not respecting this requirement. Instead, the employer is using an employee’s productivity level to decide who will be offered overtime. This violates our contract and affected members should grieve the employer’s action.

Most of the violations of the contract are occurring at Service Canada, but other departments are guilty of the same practice. In 2007, CEIU members in Scarborough, Ontario won a grievance adjudication on this issue (Bunyan et al), but management continues to ignore it.

In the Bunyan case, the employer denied overtime opportunities to staff at the Scarborough office, saying that the office as a whole had a low productivity rate. The adjudicator rejected this argument, stating that the employer cannot introduce new barriers to overtime above and beyond those found in the collective agreement. Now management is claiming that the Bunyan decision only stops them from denying overtime opportunities to an entire office but does not prevent them from blocking overtime assignments to an individual employee with a low productivity rate. The union strongly disagrees.

Here is what the collective agreement states about the assignment of overtime work:

Subject to the operational requirements, the Employer shall make every reasonable effort to avoid excessive overtime and to offer overtime work on an equitable basis among readily available qualified employees.

There is nothing in the collective agreement that ties overtime work to productivity levels—for either a single employee or an entire office. If management is concerned about an employee’s productivity, there are legitimate ways to deal with it, but withholding overtime work is not one of them.

If you have been denied overtime opportunities, the union recommends that you file a grievance. The wording is straightforward:

Grievance details:

I grieve the employer’s refusal to offer overtime to me on (dates) despite being readily available and qualified. This violates article 28.05 of the PA agreement.

Corrective action requested

That I be fully compensated for all missed overtime.

Collective agreements are meant to be respected. If we do not enforce the contract when the employer violates it, we might just as well not have one. If you have questions about overtime entitlement, speak with your steward, local officer or CEIU Regional Union Office.

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