Chicago workers accuse employer of holding them to daily 6-minute bathroom limit

By Arturo Garcia
Wednesday, July 16, 2014 23:35 EDT
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'toilet dilemma' [Shutterstock] http://tinyurl.com/nw52pul
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Union workers for a Chicago faucet-maker filed a complaint to the National Labor Relations Board accusing their employer of limiting them to 6 minutes a day for personal bathroom use, CNN reported on Tuesday.

The workers, part of Teamsters local 743, said in their complaint that supervisors at WaterSaver Faucet installed a tracking system monitoring employees’ bathroom use late last year. The company’s human resource department disciplined 19 workers last month for “excessive use of the bathroom,” specifically 60 minutes of use during a 10-day period.

The complaint also said that WaterSaver has begun offering employees gift cards valued at up to $20 each month if they do not use the bathroom at all during company time. CEO Steve Kersten told CNN that the company lost 120 hours worth of production in May due to workers using the bathroom outside of scheduled break times.

“It’s not fair for the people who come and work hard seven-and-a-half hours a day to have the guy next to them screwing off in the bathroom all day long,” Kersten told WBBM-TV.

The dispute led workers to hold a protest outside the company building, saying the new bathroom limit was retaliation to a standoff in negotiations between the union, WaterSaver, and its sister company, Guardian Equipment Inc.

“[WaterSaver's] philosophy is that they feel like people are getting an extra break in the bathroom,” union representative Nick Kreitman told the Chicago Tribune. “It’s a company that doesn’t grant paid sick leave, so it’s more than a coincidence that [Kersten] started to discipline workers after we asked for paid sick leave.”

Watch a report on the dispute, as aired on WBBM, below.

[h/t Slate]

[Image: 'Toilet Dilemma,' via Shutterstock]

Arturo Garcia
Arturo Garcia
Arturo R. García is the managing editor at Racialicious.com. He is based in San Diego, California and has written for both print and broadcast media, including contributions to GlobalComment.com, The Root and Comment Is Free. Follow him on Twitter at @ABoyNamedArt
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