BEFORE THE ARBITRATOR
In the Matter of the Arbitration of a Dispute Between
SUB-ZERO FREEZER COMPANY
LOCAL UNION 565, SHEET METAL WORKERS
Mr. Richard Lewis, Business Manager, Local Union 565, Sheet
Metal Workers International
Association, AFL-CIO, appearing on behalf of the Union.
Foley & Lardner, Attorneys at Law, by Mr.
Michael H. Auen, appearing on behalf of the
Local 565, Sheet Metal Workers International Association, AFL-CIO, herein the
and Sub-Zero Freezer Company, herein the Company, jointly requested the Wisconsin
Employment Relations Commission to designate the undersigned as an arbitrator to hear and
decide a dispute between the parties. The undersigned was so designated. Hearing was held
Madison, Wisconsin, on November 19, 1997. A stenographic transcript was made of the
and a copy of said transcript was received on December 1, 1997. The parties completed the
of post-hearing briefs on January 23, 1998.
The parties were not able to stipulate to the issues and agreed that the arbitrator
frame the issues in his award. The undersigned believes the following to be an accurate
of the issues:
Did the Company violate the contract by requiring Neal Keyser to
housekeeping/cleanup in his work area without giving him day work? If so, what is the
The Company has an incentive pay plan, under which plan the compensation for
the employes is based on the employe's production during a standard work day of 480
Time studies are used to set production standards. When an employe meets the production
standard, then any additional production within the allotted time results in the employe
more than the base hourly rate. The details of the incentive plan are set forth in an appendix
the labor contract. The negotiated details of the incentive plan include specific percentages
personal, fatigue and unavoidable delay allowances (herein also referred to as PFD). Each
those allowances is set at 5% and the three allowances result in a combined total time of 72
minutes for each 480 minute work day. The contract does not define the elements or
which make up each allowance. The allowances are treated as an unallocated total and
are allowed the full 15% total regardless of how much time is actually spent for each of the
factors. Under the incentive plan, once the employe has met the production standard, the
may use the time remaining in the work day either to increase compensation through
production or for personal purposes.
In January of 1997, the Company began a plant-wide cleanup campaign.
time, or day work, was given to incentive employes for cleaning until the plant reached a
reasonable level of cleanliness, which level then would be easier to maintain with regular
housekeeping in their work area by each employe. Keyser did receive day work for cleaning
work area during the campaign. Day work is essentially a reduction in the 480 minute day.
When the Company authorizes a certain amount of time as nonproduction time for an
employe, that time is subtracted from the 480 minutes, so the employe's production is
to a shorter work day which results in a higher net production rate and, in turn, higher
compensation than would result from the computations based on the 480 minutes.
Before the 1997 cleanup campaign, employes were expected to maintain a clean work
through regular housekeeping and only the employes in the paint shop received day work for
daily housekeeping. Paint shop employes were given 30 minutes of day work on a daily
because each shift has to clean the area by removing the old tape from the track, putting new
on the track and picking up the paper on the floor which paper has been collecting paint
the shift. The paint shop employes continue to receive the 30 minutes of day work for their
At all times relevant herein, Keyser was working as a welder in under-counter
The size of Keyser's work area was approximately 50 feet by 13 feet. Prior to the 1997
Keyser normally spent between 3 to 5 minutes cleaning up his work area without receiving
work for the time spent cleaning. Keyser estimates that, after the cleanup campaign, it takes
between 15 to 20 minutes total to clean his area two or three times each day. At the request
a Union steward, the Company's Industrial Engineering Supervisor, James Motelet, did an
informal check of the time it took Keyser to clean his work area at the end of his work day.
took Keyser just over 16 minutes to sweep his work area using an 8 inch wide broom.
rated Keyser's effort in the cleaning at 90% and concluded that if Keyser had
used the available 24 inch wide broom rather than the 8 inch wide broom and if
had been at the 100% level, then he could have swept the area in less than 5 minutes.
a similar informal check of Keyser's counterpart on the third shift and found that it took said
employe 5.366 minutes to sweep the same work area as Keyser swept.
WORK WEEK, HOURS OF WORK AND
Section 1. The regular work week shall be
forty (40) Hours per week, eight (8) hours
per day, five (5) days per week.
. . .
Section 3. The Employer will grant the
privilege to employees to smoke in designated
areas before and after the work shift and during rest periods. Further, a rest period of
minutes in the morning and (15) minutes in the afternoon will be granted. The same shall
to any second or third shift.
. . .
SHOP RULES AND BULLETIN BOARDS
Section 1. The Company shall have the right
to establish, maintain, and enforce
reasonable rules and regulations to assure orderly plant operations, it being understood that
rules and regulations shall not be inconsistent or in conflict with any provision of this
The Company shall maintain on its bulletin boards, and furnish the Union with a written or
copy of all such rules and regulations and all changes therein. Changes in existing plant
regulations, as well as new rules and regulations promulgated by the Company, shall not
effective until three (3) regular work days after copies thereof have been furnished to the
and posted on the bulletin boards. If the Union considers a proposed Company rule or
to be inconsistent or in conflict with any provision of this Agreement, such rule or regulation
be subject to the Grievance Procedure and Arbitration. Any plant Rule so challenged may
placed in effect by the Company until completion of Step 2 of the Grievance
. . .
Section 3. Employees shall be permitted five
(5) minutes of Company time at the end
of the shift in which to properly record job cards and wash up.
. . .
(b) Housekeeping: Each employee will make every effort to
keep their immediate
work area clean and orderly.
. . .
SUB ZERO INCENTIVE
A. TIME STUDY AND WAGE INCENTIVE
. . .
Section 11. All production standards shall
contain a personal allowance of 5% of the
total available production time.
Section 12. All production standards shall
contain a fatigue allowance of 5% of the total
available production time.
Section 13. All production standards shall
contain an unavoidable delay allowance of
5%. The Company Industrial Engineer will determine the actual allowance based upon the
operation, the number of elements, weight of material, length of run and other factors which
necessary in establishing proper production standards.
. . .
POSITION OF THE UNION
The Union believes it should be quite evident that when the Company instituted a
housekeeping policy, it was the Company's intent to have the work done on the employes'
available production time and not on day work or non-production time.
An expert witness called by the Union, Professor Lund, testified that no time had
allowed in the time studies and/or process sheets for housekeeping during either the
times or the allowances for personal time, fatigue, and avoidable delay. The Company tried
imply that housekeeping was included in the allowance for unavoidable delay, but the
for unavoidable delays is for delays which are beyond the control of the employe.
is in the hands of the operator and is a standard operating procedure.
When the Company came out with the new housekeeping policy, the policy was
posted as required by the contract nor approved by the Union's bargaining committee.
The Union asks that the grievance be sustained and that employes be given reasonable
amounts of time each day to properly clean their work areas, without a negative impact on
incentive earnings. Further, Keyser's earnings should be adjusted beginning with the date on
which the grievance was filed.
POSITION OF THE
Section 4(b) of Article 12 clearly and explicitly sets forth the agreement of the parties
employes would make every effort to keep their immediate work area clean and orderly.
Approximately five minutes of general housekeeping is all the Company is requiring of
Keyser does not lack the tools, the ability or the time to do the required housekeeping.
The fact that housekeeping is not expressly listed on the job process sheet is not
The job process sheets do not list every possible activity which takes place during an
work day. For example, the job process sheets do not identify either the two fifteen-minute
periods or the five minute wash-up period, both of which are required by the contract.
did the parties allocate the wash-up period, the fifteen minute rest periods or the
duties to a particular category of allowance like personal time, fatigue or delay. Even
Lund acknowledged that the parties can put duties and allowances in the contract rather than
the process sheets. The parties did put the housekeeping requirement in the contract, which
provision co-exists with the incentive pay plan. The parties intended and have practiced the
treatment of the daily housekeeping as part of the unallocated PFD allowance.
Keyser was expected to do daily housekeeping prior to the 1997 plant clean-up and
frequently did spend 3-5 minutes a day doing some housekeeping. Although the Company in
past may have been lax in requiring daily housekeeping, it is not prevented from insisting on
future compliance with a contractual provision.
The Company seeks a denial of the grievance.
The Union's case rests primarily on the fact that the job process sheets do not
include an allowance for housekeeping, which omission the Union interprets to mean the
must pay day work for the housekeeping. Such an interpretation ignores the specific
Section 4(b) of Article 12, wherein employes are required to "make every effort to keep their
immediate work area clean and orderly." Said provision makes no reference to incentive
employes receiving day work for the time spent in the cleaning. Further, it is clear from the
record that, prior to the 1997 cleanup campaign, employes did perform housekeeping
without receiving day work. Keyser testified that, prior to the cleanup campaign, he
work area regularly, even if the cleaning was not on a daily basis, without receiving day
the cleaning. Keyser further testified that he usually spent between three and five minutes
cleaning his work area at the end of his shift. In fact, the only incentive employes who have
given day work for the time they have spent in daily housekeeping of their work area, except
during the 1997 cleanup campaign, have been the paint shop employes. Thus, the past
certainly supports the Company's position that incentive employes have not received, and
not receive, day work for the time they spend in performing daily housekeeping in their own
Further, as acknowledged by Professor Lund, the parties can put items in their labor
contract, rather than in the job process sheets. Herein, the Company and the Union
have agreed to such a placement with respect to certain items, e.g., the two fifteen minute
periods during a shift and the five minutes of wash-up time at the end of a shift. It appears
the parties have treated daily housekeeping in the same manner as the rest periods and the
time, i.e., placing it in the contract, instead of in the job process sheets.
As noted by the Company, the parties have not expressly identified the activities
form the basis for the personal, fatigue and unavoidable delay allowances. Although the
minute rest periods are considered by the parties to be part of the allowances, such an
is not specified in the contract. Such a treatment supports the Company's assertion that the
daily housekeeping is included in the three unallocated allowances.
Although Keyser estimated that it took him 15-20 minutes to sweep his area on a
basis, his estimate appears to have been based on the cumulative total time for sweeping the
more than once during a shift. Keyser has been told by his supervisor that he does not need
clean his area more than one time each shift. If Keyser uses the larger broom for most of
sweeping and applies a normal effort to the cleaning, the amount of time consumed for each
he sweeps his area should be much less than his estimate and, rather, should be similar to the
amount of time he spent on daily housekeeping prior to the 1997 cleanup campaign.
The undersigned is not persuaded that the Company established a new policy or rule
following the 1997 plant-wide cleanup campaign. Instead, the Company is requiring
with an existing contractual provision. As correctly argued by the Company, even if the
had been lax in the past in requiring employes to perform daily housekeeping in their work
the Company was not prohibited from insisting on such housekeeping following the cleanup
Based on the foregoing and the record as a whole, the undersigned enters the
That the Company did not violate the contract by requiring Neal Keyser to perform
housekeeping/cleanup in his work area without giving him day work for the time he spent
performing the housekeeping/cleanup work; and, that the grievance is denied and dismissed.
Dated at Madison, Wisconsin, this 15th day of April, 1998.
Douglas V. Knudson /s/
Douglas V. Knudson, Arbitrator