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No Overtime Pay for Union Organizer Playing with "Rats"

Union Inflatable RatIn a stunning decision, a Federal Court denied overtime claims of a salaried union organizer for the Laborers Union in New York City.

The organizer normally would spend his time trying to persuade non-union employees to sign union cards to organize their employer. Part of his duty was running picket lines. And typical with any picket line over the last 20 years, there was an inflatable rat on the picket line maybe 15 to 20 feet tall. This gentleman, Mr. Krupinski, argued that any time he spent setting up, operating or disassembling inflatable rats involved manual labor and therefore was above and beyond his normal exempt status as a paid organizer. The Court threw this out quickly concluding that even though he might have done some manual labor, it did not per se defeat his normal “exempt” status. The Court concluded actually, that by his “interfacing with non-union workers, he engaged in a form of marketing and public outreach, which disqualified him from overtime eligibility."

This case is priceless and its turnabout is fair play; it’s usually a union trying to convince employees to file against its employer for unpaid overtime. In this case it was a union organizer turning to bite his own master (the union) for not paying him for extra time he spent trying to convince other people to join a union! Turnabout is fair play. No overtime pay for the union rat handler.

Categories: Overtime, Union

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Frank T. Mamat, is a nationally known labor lawyer for companies and governments from coast-to-coast. He is also an adjunct professor of labor and employment law as well as an accredited arbitrator. Frank formally was with the General Counsel's office of the National Labor Relations Board and has represented companies across the United States for over 40 years.

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