Source: US Amalgamated Transit Union
NEW HAVEN — Three local unions representing bus drivers have filed a class-action lawsuit against Connecticut Transit, alleging drivers improperly have gone unpaid for their time spent waiting while splitting shifts.
According to the complaint, drivers splitting a shift — a regular practice — currently are compensated for the time they spend traveling between the garages where they end or begin their shift and/or a relief location.
However, those who travel via provided buses are not compensated for the time they spend waiting for transit or waiting at their next location for their shift to begin.
According to the complaint, more than 100 drivers assigned to CT Transit garages in New Haven and Hartford have been “compelled regularly to travel without driving, but not paid for waiting for shuttle service or, after arriving, to begin service again, after they commenced daily work duties.”
The complaint offers the story of Alfred Barnes, a driver assigned to the New Haven garage, as an example.
“Mr. Barnes works a run on Monday through Friday that requires him to report for work at 5:02 a.m. at the New Haven garage located at 201 State Street, Hamden and end the first part of his run at the corner of Chapel and Church Streets in New Haven at 11:10 a.m.,” attorneys with Livingston, Adler, Pulda, Meiklejohn & Kelly PC said in the complaint. “If he elects to use it, the shuttle leaves Church and Chapel at 11:35, if it is running on time, and arrives at the garage at (about) 11:49. He then begins the second half of his work there at 1:46 p.m. and finishes at the garage at 4:33 p.m.
“For the time between 11:10 a.m. and 1:46 p.m., Mr. Barnes is paid only 14 minutes, although it takes him 29 minutes to wait for the shuttle and return to the garage.”
The three unions — Local 443, 425 and 281 of the Amalgamated Transit Union, filing together under their umbrella organization, Connecticut Joint Conference Board — allege this practice violates, among other laws, the Fair Labor Standards Act and the Connecticut Minimum Wage Act.
They are seeking an injunction to prohibit CT Transit from “directing employees to travel from place to place in the city during their work day without compensation for the time expended in waiting to travel on CT shuttle service,” double damages for the plaintiffs in the case, overtime for those who would have worked more than 40 hours if this time was included in their work weeks, attorney fees, and other actions and remedies deemed appropriate to enforce the laws in question.
Kevin Nursick, a spokesman with the state Department of Transportation, said the agency does not comment on pending litigation.