As many are by now aware, over the weekend information was disseminated about an AHOD Settlement that was reached between the Union and Department. I wanted to first apologize for how the information was leaked out, and explain why the Union was not the first voice in making this announcement.
There was a process to getting this settlement agreement done, and at the end there were still unanswered questions concerning payroll, among others. I felt that it would have been irresponsible of me to release any information before being able to answer those questions to the membership.
The Settlement Agreement will resolve all current and pending AHODs. Members will receive an additional half time of compensation for all hours worked during the AHOD period for 2007, 2008*, 2009, 2010 and 2011 (total of 21 AHODs) if:
- Your regular days off of Fri/Sat were switched.
- You had split days off during the week.
- You had to switch your regular shift to work the AHOD.
- You had to work more than one shift during the AHOD week.
*Only members affected on the August 4th- 6th AHOD will be compensated, because that was the only grievance filed in 2008.
You will also receive an additional 4% on top of the payment amount you receive.
We have agreed to dismiss the 2014 (pending the ruling from the arbitrator) and 2015 (which was in line for arbitration.)
There will also be an appeals process for members who believe they did not receive the correct amount of compensation. This will also include the two AHODs that were already paid out by the Department for April and June of 2009. The Union and the Department will work on an appeals process, and when that process has been developed, its methods will be communicated to you.
For the last (almost) 10 years now, there have been unrealistic expectations of tens of thousands of dollars of payouts per officer for AHOD, but these truly were unrealistic expectations.
The Union lost the 2012 and 2013 AHOD decisions in arbitration, with one arbitrator going so far as to say that the Union placed the Department on a learning curve, and that through the years the Department made changes and finally got it right. There was also a PERB Opinion issued, and while not binding, it basically stated that in 2009 it was their opinion that the only violations to be compensated would be statutory violations (DC Code/basic work week,) and not contractual violations (scheduling.) The PERB also offered the opinion that we were not entitled to “liquidated damages” (penalty pay,) since the arbitrator was silent on the issue, and went even further to say that an all-out leave ban for the AHOD was not compensable either.
While this was only a PERB Opinion, they did want this to go to a hearing examiner for a final ruling. After speaking with our current legal representation, Pressler and Senftle, and the legal team that worked on the majority of these cases with intimate detail, Conti, Fenn and Lawrence, it was determined that advancing the 2009 cases would have most likely have resulted in less of a payout than what this settlement agreement would have provided to members effected. It was also the opinion of both firms that we accept this agreement. There was a similar agreement made by the agency about a year and a half ago between the Department and the previous Union administration, but the Department pulled the offer at the last minute, causing that to collapse.
This was a very hard decision to make. We have all been dealing with this issue for almost a decade now, with little to no movement on it. “What’s going on with AHOD?” is probably the most common question that is asked, and it’s frustrating for both the person asking the question as well as the person answering the question, especially when the answers have been the same for some time.
I understand that this answer is not the one that many of you were hoping for. However, as stated above, in the opinion of our legal counsel, (from two different firms, in fact) this is the best deal we are going to get. To continue arguing the 2014 and 2015 cases, after having already lost the 2012 and 2013 rulings, is nothing but a waste of already scarce resources.
That being said, there was no motive on my part to keep this information from the members. The deal was reached after lengthy deliberations, and I merely wanted to wait to speak with someone from payroll to iron out a time frame before making an official release today. The time frame for payouts is going to be four months, I am being told. That being said, the method by which the agreement was surreptitiously leaked was nothing but a short-sighted attempt by certain members to sow division in our ranks. Those members consistently place their own interests above your own. Infighting avails us nothing.
This is not to say we are above reproach. On the contrary, we are completely open to any and all criticism, and will gladly answer any questions that any of you have.
As always, be safe and watch each others’ backs.
Posted October 03 2016 at 2:50 PM by Matthew N. Mahl | Permanent Link