CHAPTER 8 AMBIGUITIES IN LABOR CONTRACTS: WHERE DO THEY COME FROM?
John B. LaRocco
The employer runs a seven-day a week, 24-hour-a-day operation. Molly, a third-shift worker (10:30 p.m. to 6:30 a.m.), is required to report to jury duty on Tuesday at 9:00 a.m. Molly performs her jury duty, reporting at the required time, and she is released at 5:00 p.m. Molly does not report to work for her Monday evening shift prior to her jury service. Nor does she report for her Tuesday evening shift. Yet she seeks to be paid for both missed shifts under the collective bargaining agreement, which provides, in relevant part:
An employee, who is required to report for jury duty who is unavoidably detained from the employee’s assigned shift, shall be paid for that shift.
When the employer denies payment for both shifts, the union files a grievance. The employer argues at the hearing that Molly could go to jury duty and still work both shifts. Alternatively, it argues that, at most, she is entitled to miss one shift and receive pay for it. Although the clause quoted above makes no mention of the shift prior to jury service, the union argues that Molly will be too tired to serve on a jury if she has to work the evening shift before appearing in court. As for the evening shift on the day of jury service, the union contends that Molly will be too tired to work that shift, since she spent all daytime on jury duty.