When hours for Food Clerks become tight due to budget restraints, management tends to rely more and more on General Merchandise (G.M.) clerks crossing over to the Food Clerk classification to get the job done. Historically pay issues were easily spotted and corrected by members at store level by simply bringing it to the attention of the Store Director. Now the solutions to pay issues are more complicated and almost impossible to monitor and correct at store level. It will require auditing payroll punches, payroll checks and good record keeping by members. Many times it requires filing a grievance against your company through your Union.
In order to insure that you are paid properly it is important that you take the time to read and understand the contract that deals with G.M. cross over. Article 5U of the Retail Food and Meat agreement explains the way G.M. clerks get paid when they perform work as a Food Clerk. The language is a bit complicated, but there are some basic guarantees that you should know.
First, you should keep accurate records of the times that you are asked to preform work as a Food Clerk. Then you must clock over or fill out the proper paperwork (maintenance forms) to show that you worked in a higher classification as a Food Clerk. This responsibility usually falls on the member. If you are scheduled to work as a G.M. clerk and you are required to work as a cashier, stock the dairy box, work in produce, unload a grocery truck, hang food tags or stack off the grocery load, to name a few, you are guaranteed two (2) hours of pay as a Food Clerk. You get the pay even if the work was for just a few minutes. After the first two hours of guaranteed pay, every time you perform Food Clerk work, during that same shift, you get paid for an additional hour at the higher rate of pay. Any portion of an hour worked, will be paid on the hour.(For example, a G.M. clerk assigned to work as a Food Clerk at 10:15 AM shall be paid the applicable food rate starting at 10 AM). It is possible to do work as a Food Clerk for a few minutes in every hour of your shift and if management paid you properly, your entire shift should be as a Food Clerk.
Many members file grievances and our Representatives are successful in getting them the proper pay. But, the majority of our members do not understand how they should be paid and rely solely on management to interpret the contract and pay them correctly. That is just not the case. Your payroll system is set up to pay you the correct rates when you work in your classification on Sundays, holidays, overtime and night premiums,etc. But it is not set up to pay you correctly for G.M. crossover pay. It takes close monitoring and manual changes in the payroll system by management to get you paid properly when you work as a Food Clerk.
Please follow the advice given in this article: Keep good records, clock over to the correct department, check your pay stubs and notify management immediately if you are not paid correctly. Ask your Union Rep for more information on crossover pay or any other contract issues that you may have. File a grievance if management does not correct pay issues in a timely manner and that should not exceed two weeks. These hours also go toward the time necessary to get raises in the Food Clerk classification.
You did the work and deserve the pay and credit.