During the December 8-10, 2003, arbitration hearings the Union, despite the Agency's reluctance, has moved the INS Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) case forward. Something was accomplished for every class of claimant during the December hearing:
1. Old Claimants-At the Union's insistence the Agency has been ordered by the Arbitrator to move forward and actually contract with the National Finance Center to get Old Claimants paid. Payment will take place regardless of any ongoing "suffer or permit" claim and Old Claimant may have pending. Despite Union demands, the Agency has not yet provided a timeline for payment of these claims.
2. Newly Excluded Old Claimants-As previously stated, through an Agency error, almost 1000 persons were wrongfully classified by the Agency as Old Claimants. These 1000 people are now being referred to as Newly Excluded Old Claimants. Neither the Arbitrator nor the Union accepts the Agency position that these persons are now excluded from being claimants in this case. For reasons of efficiency, the Arbitrator has ordered the Union to reopen its website to allow Newly Excluded Old Claimants to make a claim. The Union will reopen a website for this purpose shortly after the end of January 2004. Please return to this website for further information on the timing and location of the Newly Excluded Old Claimants website location. Please note that this website is not open now and will not open until February, 2004.
3. New Claimants- The Arbitrator has ordered the Agency to make available to the Union all of the reasons that the Agency claims that a particular New Claimant is not a proper claimant in this case. The Union will open a website so that a claimant can view and respond to the Agency's reasons shortly after the end of January 2004. Please return to this website for further information on the timing and location of the New Claimant website. Please note that this website is not open now and will not open until February, 2004.
4. Suffer or Permit Claims-Those of you who have filed suffer or permit claims and have indicated (by filling out one or more Form C's on the website open in late 2001-early 2002) that you have documents or other evidence that will support your claim, you must now collect and copy the documentary information you previously indicated that you had. Do not send these documents to us yet. However, gather the documents and prepare any witnesses that can support your "suffer or permit" overtime claim. The Union will open a website so that a claimant can view his/her previous Form C's shortly after the end of January 2004. This website will give precise directions as to how to organize, copy, identify, and ship any documentary evidence that you have on the "suffer or permit" overtime issue. Please return to this website for further information on the Suffer or Permit Claims website location and timing of the sending of documents. Please note that this website is not open now and will not open until February, 2004.
The arbitration hearing process has started on the almost 500 suffer or permit claims submitted by Old Claimants. The Union is supporting these claims with over 5300 pages of documentation. We will have a better idea on how these cases are going in about a month. We are pressing forward aggressively on these cases.
As you can see, the AFGE NINSC is working with tremendous effort on your behalf. Remember, the cost of this litigation is being fronted solely by AFGE and the AFGE NINSC. If you are not already a member, please contact a local Union representative and join today. Help us help you.