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Don’t Commit The Crime If You Can’t Do The Overtime

| Working | May 11, 2015

(We’re in training at a call center for a large, national corporation, working directly for the company rather than through an outsourcer. Of 18 people in the training class, 7 of us came from another local call center, this one run by an outsourcer known for their less than quite legal practices, but being in a ‘Right to Work’ state, the employees don’t speak up about it out of fear of losing our jobs.)

Supervisor: *addressing the class to go over some information on our new schedules once we get out of the training class* “So, any questions?”

Coworker #1: “Will we be able to get all of our hours every week here?”

Supervisor: *clearly confused* “Well, we hope that you’ll come in and stay for your regular shifts. If not, then we’re going to have a problem.”

Coworker #2: “No, what he means is, at the place we worked before, they had this thing called voluntary time off, but it wasn’t voluntary.”

Me: *seeing that the supervisor still seems confused* “What they would do if it was slow, they’d log us out and not let us back in. They called it VTO but—”

Trainer: *misunderstanding* “Oh, no, if you accidentally log out during your shift here, they’ll come find you and—”

Coworker #1: “Oh, no, we didn’t log out accidentally; they’d log us out and send us home because they didn’t want to pay us.”

Supervisor: *now looking a bit shocked* “No, we won’t send you home early unless you volunteer.”

Coworker #1: “Do you guys cut our lunches when it gets busy? Or move our shifts around all day?”

Supervisor: “No, your lunches don’t get cut back. If you’re scheduled for a 45 minute lunch, you get the whole 45 minutes. That’s the law. We have to do that.”

Coworker #3: “What about overtime? How much can we work in a week?”

Supervisor: “Oh, you can work up to four hours a day, but your stats have to be up to par. It’s a privilege, not a right.”

(I can see him cringe, as hands go up from the group of us from the other call center.)

Coworker #4: “Only four hours a day? What if we’re used to working more?”

(At this point, all of us are staring at Coworker #5, who was known for working open to close seven days a week at our previous call center.)

Supervisor: *leaning towards our particular group, and emphasizing* “You can’t work more than four hours of overtime in a day. Only 12 hours in a shift, because THAT’S THE LAW. And you get three breaks on a ten hour shift, because THAT’S THE LAW, TOO. I don’t know what kind of sweat shop you people came from, but we like to do things right around here.”

(At this point the group of us from the other call center are staring at each other in shock.)

Coworker #1: *in amazement* “You mean… [National Company] actually takes care of their people?”


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