November 12, 2018

IDOC employee gets position he deserves

AFSCME grievance restores fairness

After a two-year “roller coaster ride” AFSCME Local 3649 member Dustin York won his grievance and was placed in the position he worked hard to achieve at Robinson Correctional Center.

“I got hired at the prison with a degree in machine shop technology,” York said. “My goal was to use the skills I went to school for and become a maintenance craftsman.”

Two years ago the job he wanted so badly opened and York applied with a B grade. Hoping to improve his grade to an A, he submitted the proper paperwork to CMS—but the agency changed his grade from B to ineligible.

As a result of the agency’s error, someone with less seniority was given the position. York was beyond frustrated.

“CMS made the error but they just ignored me,” York recalled. “I can’t tell you how many times I called CMS after they took my grade away and another person got hired.”

The power of a union contract

With the help of his stewards, York filed a grievance and had his grade rightfully restored to a B. But he still didn’t have the job. So AFSCME took his grievance to arbitration in order to try and secure the position he earned.

Monica Carrell, a correctional counselor and president of the local, was a steward at the time and helped York through his grievance. She kept York informed throughout the lengthy process.

“In a grievance like this it’s important to explain each step and have open communication,” Carrell said.

Finally, at the beginning of 2018—more than two years after the grievance was filed—York’s case went to arbitration. And he won.

On March 1, he started his new job. The other AFSCME member was able to retain his position and now there are two maintenance craftsmen at the correctional center.

Carrell credits the happy ending to the power of the union contract.

“The contract doesn’t recognize a particular person,” Carrell said. “It’s there in black and white for everybody. The feeling of being able to enforce that contract and see the joy in Dustin’s face, and in his wife’s face, and know how it will help his family, there are no words for it.”

Winning goes a long way

York loves his new job, and so does his young family.

“I’m home on the weekends and I get to spend time with them,” York said. “And I’m a lot happier with my job. I’m actually doing something I want to do. It’s more than a job to me.”

And he knows AFSCME made the difference.

“Without my union I would never have had any luck getting this job.” 

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