Holiday pay: Does a bus strike "justify" absence?

Six employees griped to Maintenance Supervisor Bill Greco that Christmas holiday pay had been omitted from their checks. Mechanic Second Grade George Sipple took up their cause. "It's not our fault that we missed work the day after Christmas.

07/01/1999


Six employees griped to Maintenance Supervisor Bill Greco that Christmas holiday pay had been omitted from their checks. Mechanic Second Grade George Sipple took up their cause.

"It's not our fault that we missed work the day after Christmas. The bus line was on strike."

Greco shrugged. "Tough luck. I'm only going by the terms of the contract."

He pointed out that the labor agreement specified no holiday pay for employees absent the day before or day after the holiday.

"We know that," Sipple conceded. "But that clause also says 'unless the absence is justified'."

"A bus strike doesn't constitute justification," Greco countered. "There are other methods of transportation. You could have gotten a ride with someone or chipped in for a taxi."

Sipple disagreed and threatened to take the matter to a "higher court."

Question: In your opinion, are the workers entitled to the holiday pay?

Breslow's decision: "Authorize the holiday pay," Plant Engineer Harry Breslow instructed Greco. "Whether or not some of the guys could have gotten to work by other means is moot. The purpose of the contract provision is to prevent holiday stretching. These employees were absent because of the bus strike, not of a desire to lengthen the holiday."





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