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California, closed RO pay/unlawful language-contract

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  • California, closed RO pay/unlawful language-contract

    I am a Union "Flat Rate" mechanic in California (East Bay Automotive Machinists Union #1173). Per our Union contract we can be paid whenever the repair order is closed/bill paid. This could and has been months before being paid, for a repair that has been completed. I believe this is against the law per the attached URL (letter of opinion). Should we be paid the pay period that the job is completed? Is it against the law? If it is against the law, does a union contract over rule a CA state law?

  • #2
    This is complicated, in part because there is possibily some industry specific regulations affecting you that were not applicable to the opinion letter you just quoted. And parts of my answer are going to soft because sometimes CBAs affect the answer and this is not something that I have ever had to bother learning.
    - The starting point is federal law (FLSA). CA can make things more favorable to the employee then federal law, but there is nothing that any state can do that will make federal law go away. For example, CA can waive CA OT requirements whenever they feel like it, but there is nothing CA can do that waives federal OT requirements.
    - You are apparently an automotive mechanic. Under federal rules, if you work for an auto dealer you have no legal right to an overtime premium. If instead you do exactly the same work for an employer who is not an auto dealer, then an overtime premium is required.
    - This is not my area of expertise, but it is possible given a collective bargining agreements for the CA specific overtime provisions to be affected by the CBA. And I of course have not read your CBA.
    - To my knowledge, minimum wage must be applicable. That currently is $8/hr state wide in CA, with the possibility of a higher living wage in some local jurisitictions. Your employer must pay you at least minimum wage for all hours worked during the workweek in a timely manner. If federal or state overtime premiums apply to you, and they might not for the several reasons I mentioned earlier, then those must be paid no later then one pay period late.
    - From here it gets complicated. You are using the words "Flat Rate" but what you describe sounds a lot like a commission payment. I am not CA-DLSE, I have no idea how they would slice the baloney on this one, and they could care less what my guess is. I am going to suggest however that there is a pretty good chance that the commission rules are in play and I have no idea if a CBA can impact those. Since I have never had to directly deal with a CBA, I have made no effort to learn the CBA version of CA rules. Ever. I am going to include a webpointer to the CA-DLSE manual. I am going to suggest that you read the sections on piece work and commissions. It will be in your advantage to argue that this is piece work related. It will be in your employer's advantage to argue that this is commission related. And CA-DLSE will not care what either you or your employer think, since at the end of the day, it is their decision.
    "Reality is that which, when you stop believing in it, doesn't go away".
    Philip K. **** (1928-1982)


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