Thursday, June 11, 2009

...a little misunderstanding

At the very bottom of the salary scale in our contract are these words: "A one-time (one payment during course of the three year contract) longevity bonus will be awarded to those in step 15, columns D, E, or F."

Since I am a very literal person (with 16 years in the district) I interpreted that to mean that I would be getting an extra check at the end of the school year. Yippee! And, since I have a vivid imagination, I had that extra lil' check spent about 10 different ways in my head. So, yesterday I made my way to the district office, signed on the dotted line, and walked out with a nice manila envelope. While driving home a smile was on my lips as I imagined what I would do with the extra loot.

Imagine my confusion when I got home and looked inside. No extra check. Hmmm. Read the contract again. Maybe we don't get it until the end of the three year contract. Call the DO. Politely ask about the bonus. "Oh, it was divided up and paid out over the course of the year. You've already gotten it!" Oh my. Let's read the contract again. "A one-time (one payment....)." Hmmmm.... I'm an English teacher. Usually pretty good with words. Too bad they didn't let us in on the secret that one-time meant several payments imbedded in your regular check over the course of the year and reduced by taxes so you won't even notice that you got a bonus!

OK I'm over it. Yesterday I felt like crying. Today I just shake my head and laugh. Money comes and money goes...

3 comments:

LimesNow said...

Uh-oh. I'm a literal person, too. A wordsmith. And far more than a decade a union representative. When one says "grievance", some wronged workers go pale. Maybe it's not worth your while to pursue it. But I'd certainly ask to see the contract amendment, signed by both parties, that changed the method of payment of the bonus. It's possible your union doesn't even know the district switched it up.

Once known as The Badger said...

I too, was to be paid for three extra days of work by our district. The way it was worded was remarkably the same. However, I too was paid out over the 24 paychecks I get in a year. The money was barely noticed... don't you love school districts? But now, I can ride, ride, ride, and then come home and waste the rest of the day reading, writing, and photographing!

LimesNow said...

Folks, that is called boilerplate language. It's ubiquitous. But "the man" will keep putting its own interpretation on it until enough people say "Hey! No way." (Frustrated labor rep pep talk to people who are usually nicer, more accepting than not.) Or maybe we should all just pick our battles.