UCSD employees dispute sick leave

    UCSD Mail Services and Business and Financial Services Storehouse employees are contesting what they believe to be an unfair allocation of sick leave hours by their supervisors. At issue are some 24 hours per year of leave accrued under UCSD employee regulations but purportedly not available to these employees.

    The disputing sides met on Oct. 3 in a meeting that American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees organizer Juan Astorga called “”negotiations”” and UCSD Labor Relations representative Dan Wyman characterized as a discussion of “”minor issues.””

    Appendix A of the UCSD Implementing Procedures states that full-time UCSD employees accrue 8 hours of paid sick leave per month — a total of 96 hours per year. Mail Services and Business and Financial Services Storehouse employees, however, are allowed only 72 hours of paid sick leave per year — then supervisors may discipline them. Employees who use time over this limit are subject to disciplinary actions, mail processor Melvyn Allen said.

    Mail Services supervisors Jorge Espinoza and Fred Gomez, and BFS associate controller Sally Brainard, who oversees Mail Services, declined to comment.

    Wyman said the departments’ sick leave policy dates back to 1981 and is based on supervisors’ study of employee attendance and desire to improve it.

    “”It allows employers to know at what point the department becomes concerned with an employee’s attendance,”” Wyman said in regards to the 72-hour limit.

    At Oct. 3 meeting were Mail Services and Storehouse employees and supervisors, organizers from AFSCME, and labor relations representatives on behalf of the university.

    One issue discussed was an alleged failure of supervisors to notify employees when they were approaching their 72-hour sick leave limit. Allen said in the past, many employees were allowed to exceed this limit, and only after one employee was caught taking too much sick leave earlier this year did they review other employees’ files and issue retroactive citations to those found over the limit.

    Wyman, however, said, “”The rules have been applied as have been written as far as I know.””

    According to Allen and mail processor Ana Gasper, supervisors at the meeting reiterated their policy of notifying employees when they were approaching their 72-hour sick leave limit, and of uniformly enforcing sick leave standards. Additionally, Wyman said other options regarding the issue were under consideration.

    “”The university does intend to look at policy more closely, and we have already discussed some changes,”” Wyman said. “”We may not ultimately do everything they’d like to have happen.””

    Reactions from employees and union members were mixed. Gasper characterized the meeting as “”negative”” while ASFCME organizer Irene Corozco saw positive signs.

    “”They agreed to look into it,”” she said. “”That’s always positive where the union is concerned.””

    Wyman expects to follow up with the union some time next week. Until then, he said he is trying to “”keep the lines of communication open.””

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