Unions Fight Time Clocks (article 2006)

Unions Fight Time Clocks (article 2006)

TAUNTON - Four dozen members of Local 1144 say it's unfair that the city is installing a time clock at the Department of Public Works on Ingell Street, a stance that has taken officials by surprise since the union's executive board agreed to the change a year ago.
"We met with them because any time we are making a change we meet with the union out of courtesy," said Maria V. Gomes, director of the Human Resources Department. "At that particular point in time they had no objections whatsoever."
Gomes said she met with the executive board of Local 1144 in early 2005 to discuss implementing a time clock for DPW employees to punch as they come and go from work.

The union leadership did not have any major issues with the policy, she said, but one year later 48 members of Local 1144 filed a petition with the mayor and City Council complaining about the change.

"The furloughs back in February of 2003 and the health insurance agreement, both of these concessions affected our members and their families drastically over the last three years," the petition reads. "In conclusion, our main concern is not the punching of the time clocks, but why not make it citywide, not only the Local 1144 DPW Laborers."

Mayor Robert G. Nunes said he doesn't know why the union is making a big deal of the issue.

"A lot of people have to punch in to work and I don't see why the DPW doesn't think they have to," Nunes said.

Arthur Lopes, secretary treasurer of Local 1144, failed to return calls for comment yesterday.

Gomes said it is not unusual for city laborers to punch in and out. Nursing home employees, as well as those in the Park, Cemeteries and Public Grounds Department do so, and they are members of the same union as the DPW workers.

"There are close to 130 to 150 employees within 1144 that already utilize the time clock procedure," Gomes said.

Gomes hopes to fully implement the policy in the next two months.

The petition filed by the union members will be presented to the City Council today, although Nunes said the council does not have the authority to do anything with it, the time clock, he said, is a "done deal."