BROOKLYN — Without so much as a warning, hundreds of comp time hours vanished for scores of workers at SUNY Downstate earlier this year and they’ve filed a class action grievance to get those hours back.

“It wasn’t a gift,” said Thurston Andrews, a clerk at the hospital’s Telecommunications department who lost more than 700 hours of comp time. “It was something I earned.”

SUNY Downstate Local president Althea Green cited the past practice always allowed workers to roll their comp time over into the new year.

The addition of a new accounting program and the hiring of new personnel in the Human Resources department may have played a part in the disappearance of these comp hours, according to our SUNY Downstate Local officers.

When she inquired, Green was also informed about an unknown memo from 1986 regarding the treatment of comp time.

“We weren’t notified that there was a cap on 240 hours or more,” said Green. “No one but Human Resources was notified and it wasn’t forwarded to workers. Not even the supervisors knew about the memo.”

Andrews, who works in a department “where the light never goes off,” lamented the loss of hundreds of those hours and the many sacrifices he’s made over the years.

“We go to work expecting to leave when our shift is over, but we have no control over that,” said Andrews, who has worked at the hospital for more than 30 years. “If my relief doesn’t come in, I’m there for another shift.”
Green is determined to make these workers whole and is awaiting a decision before the end of the year.

“They need to give them the time back or pay them out,” she said.

— David Galarza

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