An arbitrator has handed down another favorable ruling for the members of the Federal Fire Fighters of Hawaii Local F-263. The members’ employer, the U.S. Navy, has been ordered to pay two-thirds of the attorney’s fees F-263 incurred over the four-year period that the two entities were in litigation over incorrect calculations of overtime pay.
“I’m extremely pleased with the decision, but very disappointed with the Navy for not paying our 11 members the back-pay that they were awarded in a previous ruling,” says Local F-263 President Reid Shimabukuro.
Shimabukuro explains that the facility they operate from in Pearl Harbor often hires paramedics from the county when the Navy is looking to fill the fire fighter/paramedic positions. Once hired, they are cross-trained as fire fighters.
In 2010, there were 11 such employees who were hired with a 0640 health technician employee classification. Immediately, they were scheduled to work at the Federal Fire Department, Paramedic Division, located at Pearl Harbor for a 72 hour workweek.
However, the 11 were still under the 0640 series classification and had not yet received the training to be reclassified as 0081 fire fighters, and were subject to overtime pay as defined by the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), which says employees who work in excess of 40 hours in any given week should be paid overtime at a rate of time-and-a-half. Accordingly, the health technicians were scheduled to work 32 hours of overtime.
But, the health technicians’ paychecks did not include the overtime pay. This eventually led to F-263 filing a 1st Step Class Grievance, stating that these 11 were owed overtime for each additional hour worked after completing 40 hours. The grievance was denied. Local F-263 subsequently field a 2nd Class Grievance, which eventually led to arbitration proceedings.
In December 2014, an arbitrator ordered the Navy to adjust the pay of 11 health technicians to reflect “true overtime” retroactive to December 2010 up until they were reclassified as 0081 employees.
To date, the Navy has not paid the retroactive pay. However, the arbitrator did put a time limit on the recent attorney’s fee award ruling.The Navy has until October 15 to pay those fees.