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Old 01-28-2013, 02:31 AM   #16
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sasywtch's Avatar
Join Date: May 2008
Location: Sacramento
Posts: 1,121

Hi all, thank you so much. I purposely did not give many details so as to get a range of views. Sorry I didn't come back sooner, I caught the darned sore throat thing and was in bed shortly after coming home from work each night.

I'm in CA so yes we definitely have a union. BTW TVGuy, years ago when we had CSEA, they were much better than what we have now.

To the poster who said it's hard to fire government workers? I use to think that until this job. I have seen 4 get fired here. One, they brought me into as I was her lead. This is what I was asked..."now Sasy, we don't want you to lie but don't you believe that XXX should know x amount by now?" Then they patted me on the shoulder and said, now remember, we don't want you to not say anything you aren't comfortable with. (with a smile) This was the big big big boss who everyone hated because, well she wasn't nice. This was the one and only time she was extremely sickly kind to me. They were trying to get this girl on her excessive time off but couldn't because she had doctor's excuses. She had been there 6 months and they wanted me to say she should know things that people who had been there 2 years didn't even know and they knew it. I told the boss, no but if you'd like to get her on her time off, that's the way you should go (I knew they couldn't but I do not play the suck up game and was kind of letting her know). A week later, she was gone. I have my theories because my lead is a major suck up. A few in there would be willing to play the game. I can't throw people under the bus and lie to be a yes man.

Here's the deal on the situation:
The files in the hall are locked. They are in front opening shelves that lock so keeping them at our desk for security isn't the issue. Trust me, we have investigators who come in to check for confidential issues. We have to shred daily anything with name/address or social etc, everything must lock, we can't send emails with socials or it get quaranteened.

We license professionals. A file can take 15 minutes or 2 hours depending. 40 is a realistic number for the week however, our lead puts more and more duties on our desk. Out of 30 desks in our office (they do other duties, not what we do as we are specialized), we have 10 openings. So, the three of us are called upon to answer reception phones (I was up there 15 hours this past week at reception as an example), change addresses/names, take messages off another reception line etc). Our unit (the three of us) has been justified for 6 employees. 1 employee left 2 years ago, that desk has not been filled and the other 2 that were open and not filled was lost when the governor wanted the department to cut 8 positions. Since the desks were not filled, it made more sense to do away with those two instead of laying off 2 people already working there. We are overwhelmed. We've had 1 open for 2 years and they can't seem to find anyone to fill it.

For my unit and why I was asking:
I don't think it has to do with me as I can get mine done. I am actually the only one that works overtime. Even though my lead and I do not get along, my hunch is, this is nothing to do with me.

Coworker 2-she is on FMLA. She has been there a little longer than me (9 years) and always a tad slow but consistant and ok. About 6 months ago, she went on FMLA due to a parental illness. Please see above about other coworker and trying to fire them. They cannot get her on her time off but they can make life miserable. They are sneeky and it may be a case where they are trying to find a way to get rid of her.

Coworker 3-consistant but whines. Can do the work but complains when other work is put on her desk as if she is the only one to get extra work. Goes on vacation a week every 3 months but she has the time so that should not be an issue.

I have been thinking for quite sometime now that the bosses were doing "something" but I just wasn't sure. I know it's not my lead as she couldn't come up with something like this on her own and she was the one that was adamant previously that she did not want us to have even one file left in our desk at 5pm. She was right on that because when we get a call, we now have to go ten different places looking for a file and it's a pain! Someone higher up came up with this and I would bet, the lead is in on it.
What finally got me is this: I have been there by myself doing all calls for the unit, all emails, all address/name changes etc as coworker 2 is on jury duty for 2 weeks and worker 3 is on vacation for 2 weeks. The lead was handing out the files for the week and giddy (that's the best word I can come up with, maybe jubilent?) saying, 2 and 3 are getting 40 more files and next week they will have 40 more. It wasn't like, oh no, look what they are coming back to but a smile of, ah ha, look how far behind they will be! type of attitude.

When we had our last staff meeting, I told the big boss we were overwhelmed. Normally we are at 4 weeks to get them done, we are currently at 16 weeks. It's ugly. These are people wanting to get licensed to go to work. There use to be 400 pending files with 3 workers when I started there 8 years ago, now there is 2500 files with 3 workers plus we now have emails, we have to give our personal numbers out whereas before, easy calls were answered by reception, we never had to go cover front phones in reception, we didn't do address/name changes, etc. They pretty much are saving money at our expense. We figured it out the other day, they are saving 40K a month in our area by not filling those desks but expecting the same workload to get out. Anyway, the big boss says....we understand, we know, we don't expect this or that (gag me). Then they start the distributing workload thing with the pile up week after week. Their words are not matching their actions.

I'm with the person from VA (I believe it was VA). I think they are justifying the work to rid of certain employees. I believe it's the FMLA and since they can't write her up with the FMLA/time off, they are going workload wise. It's just so hard for me to comprehend this place and unless you've worked in one like it, it's hard to fathom. There is so much favortism it's ugly.

If anyone has read this far, I apologize. Maybe it's more of a vent. I work overtime Saturday and have to go back in tomorrow. Only having one day off is depressing. I use to love this job, it is now filled with hate. I went to my big boss last week and asked her to please give me a good reference if I go out looking for a promotion. She told me I was the "go to" person when they needed information which I knew. I am a little higher than my two coworkers in rank, actually I'm analytical and they are technician (anyone in goverment may know the theory behind that one). It's a pay thing and a "we can dump more difficult stuff on you" classification LOL

My gut is, they are trying to either justify firing the FMLA person or they believe it will speed us up and magically we will catch up. To be honest, if we didn't have all these extra new duties, it could be possible if we busted ou fannies that we could do the additional workload with the same 3 people we had before.

****disclaimer here.........we tend to license people who cannot become licensed in their own state and now through the grapevine have found out that if they apply to us and get our license, they can maybe qualify through their state with our license. That has increased our workload tremendously. We also have had a major major rush of immigrant applicants over the last few years due to a certain problem I can't discuss on here due to TMI. It has to do with their education not qualifying elsewhere but here.

Thank you for all your responses. I do appreciate it and I'm just going to keep my nose clean, do my work and just start applying for promotions since I passed that test a long time ago and should have went out interviewing then.
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Old 01-28-2013, 07:04 AM   #17
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Can't they get temp help to work while the person is out on FMLA? Or at least to do the address changes/emails kind of stuff while the person is out? I don't see how you can be expected to complete the same amount of work while you are out sick, on vacation, or at jury duty - and firing someone because they couldn't complete their job while on leave, goes against the spirit of the law, I would think.
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