Andy’s Newspaper column archive

Title: Is this a chickens**t story? ©

Lets say you have a henhouse, a building full of chickens. Some red chickens occupy the left front corner of the building, white ones the right hand corner, Blue ones the right close corner and the black ones the left hand close corner. There are no roosters in the house.

Then one day a white rooster enters the black hen corner. The black hens are used to making their own rules about when to lay eggs, how many they will lay, scheduling their own work day and even selling some services to another hen house down the street during the time when they should be laying eggs and keeping the money when it should be put in to the collective bank account.

Now there are rules for the house in which the rooster bosses and the chicken employees agreed thru their union under collective bargaining. The contract is very specific about work hours. It says, “The official work week SHALL begin each Monday at 00:01 hours and SHALL end at 24:00 hours on the following Sunday to constitute a forty (40) hour work week, exclusive of lunch breaks, but including rest breaks.”

“Employees working a four (4) day, forty (40) hour week (designated 4/40) SHALL WORK ten hours per day for four (4) days in any work week and SHALL receive three (3) “days off” of which two must be consecutive in that work week.” This is a direct quote from the Union contract.

Now when we all went to school, most of us learned to read, write and comprehend the meaning of words in the English language. Now the white rooster the new kid on the block assigned to manage this corner of the hen house has read the above rules. The hens have also read them and based on their responsibility to understand the same rules have regularly chosen to regularly ignore them. The White Rooster knows what SHALL means and can’t ignore it.

Now a little review. These same hens were given repetitive three day weekends which at times become four days due to Holidays that fall on Monday. So in the first place, while the company struggles to deal with finances which are the very reason for the four day work week, the hens get a bonus. A re-read of their union contract does not mandate three day weekends. It only says that two of the three days off must be consecutive. Doesn’t that mean it could be work Monday and Tuesday off Wednesday and work Thursday and Friday?

I do not see the benefit for the company in providing three day weekends for staff. What about hens who regularly shorten their work hours on some days. It would seem to me that the Union and Management agreed that this is not acceptable and in effect is a violation of the contract and of company policy. Use of the word SHALL, a quite

mandatory word which most likely exists to provide excellent service to the customers, by providing full staff during work times.

Now if you were the white rooster, how would you deal with this situation? Set the record straight with the hens? Notify the union and schedule a conference with the employees or ask the Hen resources manager for assistance, notify the company lawyer, discharge the hens and perhaps demand restitution for the hours not worked which was a violation of their working conditions.

Well if you haven’t guessed by now, this is an excerpt from the Union contract with Nye County. These events actually took place except for the question of what to do. This raises the question of how to confirm that the employees are working a full day. In regards to this it would seem that a time clock would be appropriate. I wonder how many time clocks are in operation in the county?

Also how would a manager verify the full days work of employees located in Tonopah. Especially if they were to decide their own hours outside of managements purview. So who has time to read all the rules? The answer is certainly that it doesn’t matter but it is required, otherwise why have the rules, a Human Resources department and a lawyer to explain. This is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to Nye county management and operations.

Nye County paperwork also has prohibitions against political activities during working hours. which I would think is a prohibition against taking partial days off for any reason including campaign efforts. There are also times when the Human Resources department interferes with managerial functions, withholds information from managers on the suitability of employees to adequately perform their duties and at times may be in violation of the Union contract.

Last item today, the buyout of employee retirement wasn’t really a buyout because they’re getting a pension. Besides, whoever heard of a buyout for an elected official? Elected officials retire after losing the next election. There is a provision in the contract for layoffs without the need for spending 2 million dollars for an employee buyout, or was it 3 million. Even at that, there was no cost benefit analysis provided to the Commissioners showing where the expense ends and the County begins to save the taxpayers money. If they know this event should occur, I will issue a formal recognition of their use of good management practices, but I must admit, current efforts by Commissioners and hired employees at the County manager level, leave me unimpressed.

It’s election time. Register to vote.

Andrew Alberti Jr