Standby Pay, Weekend Loading Pay and Voluntary vs. Mandatory Overtime
Last week GSU general Secretary Hugh Wagner and staff reps. Donna Driediger and Steve Torgerson met with management at Viterra. There were various items on the agenda, but one item in particular is of interest to GSU members who work at Viterra and who sometimes load rail cars on weekends. The discussion of weekend car loading, standby pay, weekend loading letter and the difference between voluntary overtime and mandatory overtime.
What it comes down to is if your Manager/Supervisor has given you CLEAR communication as to what you are supposed to do when it comes to loading cars on a weekend.
If your Manager/Supervisor tells you on Friday, of the last day you work that week, that a train is coming this weekend and that they will call you when the cars are spotted so you can come in and load the cars. If this happens there are a couple of ways it can play out. The first thing you should ask is "Are you placing me on Standby?"
No Standby - If your Manager/Supervisor says no you are not on Standby then you DO NOT have to answer the phone if your Manager/Supervisor calls you to ask you to come in a load cars.
Standby - If your Manager/Supervisor says yes you are on Standby they also have to tell you how long you are on Standby. If you are told to be on Standby from 6:00 a.m. Saturday morning until 2:00 in the afternoon, then you must answer the phone when your Manager/Supervisor calls you. But you are also paid Standby pay for the period of time that you were placed on Standby.
If you talk to your Manager/Supervisor and you have been told that there is car loading this weekend and there will be overtime to work you need to understand if the overtime is mandatory or voluntary overtime.
Mandatory Overtime - if your Manager/Supervisor tells you that you have to come in to load cars on the weekend, this can be in person, over the phone or by scheduling you in to work the overtime. You can be forced to work up to 48 hours in a week, which usually means the Company can force you to work 8 hours of overtime. If you are unsure what is being asked of you talk to your Manager/Supervisor and ask, "Is this overtime mandatory?"
Voluntary Overtime - if your Manager/Supervisor asks you if you want to come in on the weekend to load cars, this can be done in person or over the phone. If you are asked if you want to work overtime, then it is your choice to work the overtime or not and there will be no repercussions if you don't work overtime.
Railway Weekend Booking Pay - If you are going to work overtime on the weekend to load cars (either voluntary or mandatory overtime) and the Company does not advise of cancellation of the train by close of business Thursday, all members who were to come in and work loading that train will receive Booking Pay of four hours pay at overtime rates.
Knowing your rights and obligations are valuable so you know what is required of you and where you can exercise your rights in your collective agreement. This post is specific to the Viterra Country Operations and Maintenance bargaining unit, so make sure you know what your collective agreement contains related to your obligations.
This post does not account for all variations of what may happen at work and should not be solely relayed upon when making decisions about your work. If you are unsure about how Standby and overtime work, please contact your GSU staff representative and they can assist you.