Sunday, August 19, 2007

Union Organizers are 'Salespeople,' says UNITE-HERE

What may seem to be obvious to some, a major union has confirmed for all: Union organizers are salespeople. Their job is to "sell" workers on becoming unionized.

This now-undisputable affirmation was the topic of a recent lawsuit filed by union organizers against their employer, UNITE-HERE, for overtime pay.

Trenette Savage, a union organizer with UNITE-HERE, along with seven other organizers (who either withdrew or had their suits dimissed) sued her employer for overtime pay.

According to Savage's attorney Gregory Lisi (as reported through Portfolio Media), people in Savage's position, who sometimes work 80-hour weeks, are exactly the type of employees that the FLSA is meant to protec.

“Their job is to go around and do the grunt work for the union,” said Lisi. “They don't make any policy decision for the unions or anything like that.”

“It's a funny case, in that the unions are supposed to be protecting their workers,” Lisi added. “But in this case, they're not.”

However, according to UNITE-HERE's motion for summary judgment (view here) Savage is an exempt outside sales person.

“Although union organizers are not usually thought of as salespeople in the conventional sense of for-profit retail sales, the essential duties of the position are functionally equivalent to those making outside sales people exempt from overtime,” according to UNITE HERE.

TELL US SOMETHING WE DIDN'T ALREADY KNOW...

MAYBE MS. SAVAGE AND HER FELLOW ORGANIZERS SHOULD HAVE JOINED A UNION INSTEAD OF WORKED FOR ONE.

14 comments:

Anonymous said...

If union organizers are "outside sales people" under wage/hour law, then how come they don't get commission? I don't know of a single union that pays commission or a bonus for union wins.

The unions representing union organizers (yes, many are organized themselves) should bring this up in negotiations!!!!

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