Grievance filed after employee pay gap – The Rider News

By Amethyst Martinez

After a plethora of payroll issues due to the summer timesheet change, the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME) Rider Chapter, which represents more than 50 members of Rider staff, filed a grievance document against the university near the start of the school year.

From July 15 to August 5, union members, who say they are among the lowest-paid employees at the university, found themselves without a paycheck after Rider switched from an internal timesheet program to the his payroll was outsourced via the private company ADP (Automatic Data Processing) in early August.

Kristine Brown, associate vice president of university marketing and communications, said in an email to The Rider News: “Members of AFSCME’s administration and management have been discussing throughout the summer the impact of the change in the wage bill. The grievance related to this change was originally filed on September 2, 2022.”

Lynn Rugg, co-president of the AFSCME chapter of Rider, who works as a sports news administrative associate, said the missing paycheck was due to the change from a semi-monthly pay period to a bi-weekly period. This, in turn, will change their payroll schedule from 24 semi-monthly paychecks per year (in the middle and end of each month) to 26 paychecks every two weeks, every other Friday. Since the timesheet change occurred mid-year for the 2022 pay period, members received 13 bi-weekly plus 11 bi-weekly payments, resulting in a pay gap for the year.

According to a spreadsheet obtained by The Rider News that the union created to visualize the missing funds, the previous annual starting salary for an administrative specialist for 2021 was $41,516.16 with a fortnightly paycheck rising. at $1,729.84 per cheque. With the new bi-weekly system, each paycheck after July 2022 is only $1,596.77, which is $133.07 less than the amount received with the bi-weekly system. With this change, the document states that the annual salary for the same position will be $1,463.72 less than the previous year. The salary for 2023 will be the same as the salary for 2021, which means that the salary gap will not be taken into account in the next calendar year.

“It’s not like they’ve eliminated semi-monthly pay dates,” Rugg said. “They still have it for managers and professors, but they decided to take us out of it because we are hourly employees. … It’s a well-established past practice, and then they moved us to every two weeks. There have been [a] negative impact on employees. Whether it’s not being paid at the correct hourly rate, pension money not being paid out in a timely manner, accrued sick leave and other things not being properly listed on the pay stubs.

The AFSCME Rider Chapter represents 55 members on campus who qualify as “support staff”. According to Rugg and Alison Neu, Academic Associate for the Department of English and Languages, Lite and member of AFSCME. This includes workers in athletics, student affairs, academics, admissions, library and more. Neu said the members faced serious financial hardship during the pay lag last summer. “Many of us live paycheck to paycheck, and [to go] without pay for three weeks from July 15 to August 5, right at the time of the mortgage…was an ordeal for several members,” Neu said. The union also claimed that its members were among Rider’s lowest-paid employees.

Victoria McLendon, AFSCME Rider Chapter Co-Chair and Student Affairs Administrative Assistant, said: “I don’t think any of us are still making $50,000 a year after being here all these years. . McLendon has held a permanent position with Rider for more than two decades.

Another document obtained by The Rider News showed that a fortnightly pay period was part of the union’s collective agreement, which was just renewed for a one-year extension in August.

Rider Vice President of Finance, Treasurer and Chief Financial Officer James Hartman said, “Now they’re being paid on this shift week for these two weeks of work. So they get paid for the hours they work, they get paid for their overtime, everything is paid, right now, just with a one-week lag.

Hartman and Rugg both confirmed they met in September for a reunion, along with McLendon.

“It’s the shift of a week that makes them say [they had] was paid less this year, and that’s what the grievance is based on,” Hartman said. “I tried to explain, you always make the same amount of money…just with a one week lag.”

The AFSCME Rider Section recently received a response from management regarding their amended grievance regarding violation of the terms of their employment contract and are due to meet on November 1.

Rider has dramatically reduced costs across all areas of the university. One of the reasons for implementing ADP for all Rider employees was an attempt to “cut costs,” according to Brown.

Rugg, however, said, “We know the university is struggling financially and believe us, we’ve done our part.” Neu said many members were on two months’ unpaid leave in 2020 due to the pandemic. They also said the university leadership was invited to one of Rider’s AFSCME meetings, but declined.

“We’re answering for another 50 people,” McLendon said. “We go before H[uman] R[esources] management…they should hear this from everyone. They need to hear everyone talking, and we’re asking[ed] that they go to a general meeting, rather than being the worry retriever, and [were] refused.” During those meetings, many union members voiced their grievances, according to McLendon.

Hartman said if employees had financial problems due to the change in timesheets, the university was ready to help, an example being an advance payment, which Rugg confirmed.

The union hopes to resolve these issues by receiving their missing pay by the end of the calendar year rather than when they leave college.

“You don’t mess with people’s money,” Rugg said.

Originally printed in the 10/26/22 issue.

Earnest L. Veasey