Employee A has a contract with a union that requires employees be paid two times for all work on a seventh work day in the work week. It has come to the employer’s attention that the company has mistakenly paid all employees who work on a Sunday 2x’s even though it was not their seventh work day. The employer has established a “past practice”. How can the employer stop this practice during the term of its labor contract?

Luckily, the employer may not be stuck with this bad practice. An employer is generally able to start applying clear contract language notwithstanding its past practice. The employer should talk to the union and advise them that it intends to enforce the clear language of the contract. While this step may not be necessary, it is a wise step to take as it gives the union a chance to approve and fosters better relationships. The union will most probably object but that does not mean the employer cannot proceed. You are only advising the union, not asking for permission.

Always check your rights under the labor contract areas. Those that are not clearly spelled out should be addressed in the next negotiation.

Remember, if the contract language is clear and you have a contrary practice, you can change it.

Man in office