The contract language in our Master Food Agreement with Albertsons, Ralphs and Vons (Article 6J) along with the Staters Brothers and Gelsons (Article 6K) Agreements allow for the use of a Clerks Helper or Combo Clerk work in a higher classification.

What is a Combo Clerk? A Combo Clerk is a Clerk’s Helper that works a portion of their shift as either a General Merchandise Clerk or a Food Clerk. The contract allows this as long as the Clerks Helper receives proper pay and credit for such work in the higher classification.

The maximum number of hours per store in one week that Clerks Helpers may work in a higher classification shall not exceed (15%) of the total number of hours scheduled in the Clerks Helper classification for the week.

For example: there is a total of two hundred (200) hours of Clerks Helpers scheduled to work for the week. Fifteen percent 15% X 200 hours=30 hours. Thirty (30) hours is the maximum number of hours that may be used in this store for Clerks Helpers working in a higher category.  This includes all the GM department work such as service deli, bakery, stocking GM products, GM price changes, Starbucks or service desk. It also includes Food Clerk work such as cashier, dairy, produce, stocking food products and doing food price changes.

There are very tough penalties for stores that exceed the 15%.  These penalties include pay for GM and Food Clerks that worked less than forty (40) hours during the week.  It can also include a suspension of these rights for the store that uses Clerks Helpers (combos) in a higher classification for ninety (90) days or longer.

In the event of a violation, the most senior part time employee in the classification(s) in which the majority of that work was performed, shall receive pay for the number of additional hours worked over the fifteen percent (15%) up to forty (40) hours. If any balance of hours remains, it is then paid to the next most senior employee until that balance is exhausted.

It is important for all GM and Food Clerks to monitor the usage of Clerks Helpers working in higher classifications. Remind them to clock over or fill out the proper forms to get paid correctly and report any abuse of this program to your Union Representative.

Remember, these penalties were negotiated to preserve your jobs and make sure that you are getting the proper hours that you deserve. This language also protects Clerks Helpers from being under paid and stuck in a lower paying classification without the opportunity for promotion.

The theory is if your store is paying out penalties for abuse, then it would be less expensive to promote.