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TV folks expect pay for OT, sue

Discussion in 'Journalism topics only' started by I'll never tell, Feb 11, 2014.

  1. I'll never tell

    I'll never tell Active Member

  2. PCLoadLetter

    PCLoadLetter Well-Known Member

    I can't speak to his claims of PTSD or discrimination based on disability.

    I can say that if Fisher plans to argue that as a reporter he is not entitled to overtime, this probably will not end well for Fisher. (Shit company, BTW.)
  3. JayFarrar

    JayFarrar Well-Known Member

    If you're an hourly employee and not getting overtime for hours worked past 40, you are fucking stupid.

    It isn't like you have great job security or anything else so they might as well pay you for your hours worked.
  4. I'll never tell

    I'll never tell Active Member

    I think there are probably more reporters/editors (especially at smaller papers) who work more unpaid OT than you think.

    For many years, I was one of them. But thankfully not anymore.

    Among the things I was told over the years:
    1. That's just the way the industry is.
    2. Sure, it's not right, but you're working at a really good paper (and I was), and use this experience to get something bigger.
    3. Well, if we really turn in the hours we work, then they'll have to cut back other places i.e. no trips and such.
    4. It kinda works itself out because you can turn in 40 during the summer and goof off.
    5. During football season, we were told exactly how much overtime we could put down, regardless of what we really worked.

    Early on, the summer argument wasn't a lie. Did it ever make up for it? Hell, no. But I wrote maybe one story a week -- if that -- for like a six-week span. And at that time I was accruing vacation time a snail's pace.

    I always said if given the chance, I'd change things. And eventually I worked myself far enough up the ladder that I changed the way the department -- and then another department I inherited -- operated. People were paid for the time they worked, and their workload actually became more realistic. But God, it took me forever to get in a position where I could get the right testicles in a vice (and point out that I knew where enough bodies were buried), so where they basically didn't have a chance to tell me no anymore and actually treat employees like human beings.

    I didn't fix everything. And there is at least one company man there who is too scared to write down his OT, but I left there knowing everything had been explained down to the smallest detail. If he worked them, he got paid for them, and the summer trade off was dead.
  5. Baron Scicluna

    Baron Scicluna Well-Known Member

    My first paper I worked at, I was too young and scared, so I worked some unpaid OT. I averaged about 47-48 hours a week, but refused to do more, even though I was told that a lot of reporters in my previous position had worked 60 and 70 hour weeks. I told the others that I wasn't going to burn myself out and not get paid for it.

    One time, the publisher wanted me to cover something in mid-morning on a weekend day, to just "stop over". I did, and the place had changed the event time to later in the day when I already had plans without notifying me. So I didn't show up later. The event people got pissed and complained. Publisher calls me up and gripes, until I told him they changed the time without telling me or anyone else. I explained about that I already had plans.

    So publisher says I should have gone anyways, and I said, "Why? It's not like I'm getting paid overtime anyways. They wasted my time that morning, they didn't have the courtesy to call me and let me know about the time change, and I'm not killing my whole day because they couldn't be bothered to call me, especially when you are paying me the same whether I show up or not."

    Publisher grumbles some more, tells me call them and apologize, and hangs up. I call the people, give them a half-assed apology in which I explain to them how my time was valuable and that next time, if they wanted me to cover something, to tell me accurately about when the event would start in advance, especially since I essentially volunteering my time for their event.

    Found out that a couple of years after I left, someone else did complain to the labor department, and the publisher had to put in a timeclock. I would have loved to have been a fly on the wall at those discussions.

    Second paper I worked at, I figured that I would put in every bit of overtime that I worked because I wasn't going to work for free. If someone wanted me to work more, I'd tell them, "I am already doing A, B, C, and D. If you want me to do E, then choose which of the other things you don't want me to do or pay me the overtime for it." Some more grumbling, but they would pay. The only issue was that I didn't get paid for travel time when I'd go cover sectional and state playoff games. I was told that time didn't count, but I found out after I left that according to the law, it should have.

    My subsequent papers have all paid me overtime when I've worked it. It wasn't very often, but they did pay.
  6. WriteThinking

    WriteThinking Well-Known Member

    Jay Farrar knows there are lots of hourly reporters working overtime and not getting paid for it. That's why he wrote what he did. It shouldn't happen, but it does.

    Based on my past experience, I can't imagine being a reporter and not having to work overtime. Unless you are a copy editor, that really is just how the industry is, and it is the nature of the job. You live according to other people's schedules, not your own.

    What's bad is that the industry complains about paying for the overtime, and discourages it, even though it is next to impossible not to accumulate.

    In that, though, the journalism industry is no different than any other. I've found that out based on my current experience in retail. Always working according to a time clock is not always great, or for the best, in terms of the work/job, either.

    Even though you will get paid for time worked, you are always racing around, essentially playing beat-the-clock every day because there is, still, too much work to do by the end of the day, and you know the company doesn't want you to clock out late. Indeed, you can even get in trouble for it if it happens too often, or if you go too much over the scheduled time.

    So, often, you don't get done everything that you should or might want to do each day.

    As someone who used to pretty much work until the job was done while I was in newspapers, I find this a difficult and frustrating aspect of being regulated by an actual time clock, which also dictates when meals and breaks must be taken.

    Other than daily story deadlines, reporters generally aren't clock-watchers, and that has required the biggest adjustment for me in the retail field.
  7. MisterCreosote

    MisterCreosote Well-Known Member

    This is why a lot of copy editors hate reporters. Editors work long hours, too.

    As for the rest of your post, and other rationalizations about why we work overtime without pay, I say, "That's not my problem. Pay me or I don't work overtime." Period.

    And, no, I don't care that not all the work will get done. If you want all the work done every day, you can fucking pay for it. That's not an unreasonable request, despite management's best efforts to convince us otherwise.
  8. Versatile

    Versatile Active Member

    When I was a full-time copy editor, I probably worked five to eight hours a week off the clock. Since moving to a broader position that includes reporting and beat coverage in general, that has tripled and, during key points in the season, quadrupled.

    I could complain or simply stop working off the clock entirely. I almost certainly would be denied any shot at advancing if I did.
  9. MisterCreosote

    MisterCreosote Well-Known Member

    Assuming you're not a salaried, exempt employee: If the only way to advance is by allowing your employer to break the law and abuse you, why would you want to advance at all?
  10. Versatile

    Versatile Active Member

    I actually like my job.
  11. MisterCreosote

    MisterCreosote Well-Known Member

    Fair enough.

    I didn't like any job that much.
  12. LongTimeListener

    LongTimeListener Well-Known Member

    Single biggest difference between journalism and the rest of the world -- the rest of the world doesn't look at it like they're giving you a gift by paying you for the time you work. Whether it's a "real job" or a freelance/contract gig, you talk money up front and they pay what they owe.
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