Two state employees register snow-related grievances for lost pay 'Essential' workers were tardy

additional complaints may be filed

January 20, 1996|By Marilyn McCraven | Marilyn McCraven,SUN STAFF

At least two state employees have filed grievances because they were not paid when they showed up late for work during last week's heavy snowfall, according to officials with the American Federation of State and County Municipal Employees.

At its statewide convention in Annapolis yesterday, union officials said many more snow-related grievances may be filed against the state, mostly for employees of state hospitals and prisons.

Mike Glass, acting state personnel secretary, said he had not heard of such complaints from employees but will investigate the matter.

When state government was closed for two days last week, most state employees were deemed "nonessential" and were paid for the time missed from work.

"Essential" employees, such as many groundskeepers and correctional officers, were to report to work.

Now, union officials say they are receiving complaints from "essential" employees who have lost pay or received other disciplinary action because they could not report to work because of the weather.

The employees' chief complaints are:

* Some employees did not discover they were "essential" until they called supervisors to report they couldn't come to work.

* There is no written policy governing snow-related absences for essential employees. So, many such workers were penalized at the whim of supervisors, union officials say.

* There may be long-term repercussions for essential employees who missed work, they say. For example, those who receive "Failure to Report" notices in their personnel files may be denied promotions and pay raises.

The two employees who have filed grievances work for the Eastern Correctional Institute in Westover, on the Eastern Shore, said Tom Mooney, president of AFSCME Local 3478, which represents some employees there.

Mr. Mooney would not give the employees' names to protect their privacy.

Mike Miller, administrative assistant to the warden at the prison, said he was not aware that such grievances had been filed.

Mr. Mooney said the two employees who filed grievances were late to work because their vehicles had gotten stuck in ditches. "These people have proof," Mr. Mooney said. "They've got bills from tow truck drivers."

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