In June of 2007, NFFE Local 2049, representing employees at White Sands Missile Range, filed a grievance against the Army on behalf of all bargaining unit employees. The Grievance alleged violations of the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) and Title V (FEPA), among other violations.
The Law Offices of Snider and Associates, as the legal representatives for the Union, are working hard for the bargaining unit employees to ensure that their rights under federal law are upheld. As part of the process, we have been contacting WSMR employees about their job duties and how much unpaid overtime they have worked.
The Agency disputed that the Union’s Grievance was viable and Arbitrator Diane Massey was selected to resolve the dispute. In a series of hearings and rulings by the arbitrator which took place from 2009 through 2011, Arbitrator Massey ruled that the Union’s Grievance was viable, effective May of 2009. After the matter was brought by the Agency to the FLRA, which ruled in favor of the Union, arbitration hearings on the merits began in May of 2015 before Arbitrator Lawrence Little. In the fall of 2016, the Union and Agency resolved which positions should be FLSA Exempt and which should be non-exempt.
The next stage of the case is to recover damages for the Union on behalf of bargaining unit employees. Employees covered by the FLSA may be entitled to compensation for suffered or permitted overtime, and employees covered by FEPA may be entitled to pay for work that was ordered or induced to be performed but not paid properly. Additionally, there are damages which flow from the Agency’s failure to properly designate certain employees as FLSA non-exempt.
Currently, the Union and law firm are preparing for arbitration hearings to determine which employees were not properly compensated for overtime they performed, and to what extent. The Union will also attempt to negotiate a settlement with the Agency. We expect this process to continue for some time as we gather more information about overtime work from bargaining unit employees, gather certain data from Agency records, and prepare witnesses for the hearings. If you are or were in the NFFE Local 2049 bargaining unit at WSMR, please contact us if you believe you have information to share about overtime for which you did not receive proper compensation. The Arbitration hearings are scheduled to begin in January of 2018.
All bargaining unit employees, whether or not they are members of the union, and regardless of position or pay grade, are covered by this grievance and could potentially benefit from a successful result.