“No good deed goes unpunished,” said Richard Smiley, who works in one of the Health Department clinics. Richard was trying to help out his section and his co-workers by agreeing to serve as an interim supervisor while the department recruited a permanent replacement. The Civil Service Rules for the Health Department say that if someone is assigned duties that are above and beyond their job classification, they are to receive out-of-class pay. Well, Richard did not get his out-of-class pay.
When he spoke with administrators about it, they essentially ignored him, saying that since he wasn’t a nurse, he wasn’t qualified to do the supervisor job (even though they’d been letting him work that position for over two months!) To Richard, this was a ridiculous argument, but he was more frustrated about being ignored. So he contacted SEIU. The union filed a grievance, an investigation was done, and Richard won—just in time to have some extra money in his check before Christmas. This was the second grievance in six months that SEIU has won against the Health Department.
As Metro Government began the transition to recording time and attendance with the Kronos timekeeping system, workers wondered why they were being asked to give their thumbprints to clock in and out. After all, there were already several other useful methods for clocking in including time cards, ID badges, using a computer, or by being counted in a roll call or by a supervisor signing them in.
A Union committee, which included the Local’s attorney and organizer as well as the Metro Chief Steward and a Bargaining Committee member, met with HR officials to discuss the situation and submitted a list of questions about the Kronos system, personal privacy, liability issues, and why the need for fingerprinting non-public safety employees was necessary when there were already effective timekeeping methods that would work.
A week later, Metro HR announced that they would immediately stop gathering biometric data on employees and that all fingerprint data that had been collected so far would be destroyed.
“I am so glad that Metro worked with us on this,” said Julie Burns, a librarian at the Nashville Public Library who also serves on the Union’s bargaining committee. “This was causing a lot of stress for some of my co-workers, especially when there was never a need for people to have to do this just to clock in and out of work.”
Kronos will still be a part of Metro’s system, but there will be no more fingerprinting involved.