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Public Employee Press

Union deal for Ticket Agents to get overtime pay

The White Collar Division and Local 1501 Pres. Jeremy Sanders helped get back pay for New York Aquarium Ticket Agent Kenny Woo and six others.

As PEP went to press, the union is negotiating with the Wildlife Conservation Society to pay seven ticket agents in Local 1501 a total of $22,000 in back pay for work assignments beyond their 40-hour workweek.

“A manager asked these Ticket Agents to work holidays and busy times,” said White Collar Council Rep Samantha Santiago. “Instead of paying them time and a half, he made a verbal commitment to offer the workers flexible schedules. The problem was nothing was put in writing nor was the union informed. The law and the contract says they have to pay workers overtime. We brought it to WCS management and they are cooperating with us.”

In labor-management meetings Jeremy Sanders, president of the NY Zoological and Museum Employees Local 1501, White Collar Division Director Tyler Hemingway and Santiago pressed the union-friendly conservancy to pay the seven Ticket Agents for overtime hours they had worked dating back five years to 2012, based on city payroll records.

Had these members filed a grievance, they could only seek payment going back six months from the date a grievance is filed, Santiago said, “so the settlement we are working on will benefit the affected members.”

The Ticket Agents are owed as much as $4,700 in one case and the lowest owed amount is about $585. Three Ticket Agents work at the Bronx Zoo, three are at the Central Park Zoo and one works at the New York Aquarium. Ticket Agents earn about $30,000 a year.

“This is a great example of the union’s persistence in holding management to its obligation to pay workers overtime,” said Sanders.

“The union empowers its members,” Sanders explained. “The members read the contract and understand their rights, they came to us. We were able to meet with management and to work on a win-win solution.”

Kenny Woo, a full time Ticket Agent at the aquarium since 2012 said, “I had no problem working the holidays and extra hours at my manager’s request. I’m always agreeable when it comes to my work schedule. The overtime pay DC 37 is negotiating will come in handy.”