Does your boss count the minutes you spend on the potty?
The folks who run WaterSaver Faucet Co. in Chicago do, and the five dozen factory workers there are so fed up with crossing their legs on the job that they've filed a complaint with the National Labor Relations Board.
The workers, who build faucet stations that go into high schools, university labs and healthcare facilities, say they are allowed only 6 minutes per day for toilet breaks, according to Teamsters Local 743, and anyone who exceeds their allotted toilet time is reprimanded.
The company implemented a toilet-tracking system earlier this year that requires employees to swipe a keycard to use the bathroom, Steven Kersten, owner and president of WaterSaver Faucet Co., told the Chicago Tribune.
The union says 19 employees faced discipline for excessive toilet time within the last two months.
But those who "hold their water" all day and avoid the toilet entirely earn a $1 per day bonus, according to Teamsters Local 743 business agent, Nick Kreitman.
"[The company’s] philosophy is that they feel like people are getting an extra break in the bathroom,” Kreitman said. “It’s a company that doesn’t grant paid sick leave, so it’s more than a coincidence that [the owner] started to discipline workers after we asked for paid sick leave.”
The union believes the bathroom-break policy is the company's response to the union's new contract proposal, according to Progress Illinois, which sought sick leave for workers and an increase in the hourly wage from about $11 an hour to $15 an hour.
Local 743 represents 140 employees of WaterSaver and its sister company, Guardian Equipment. On Wednesday, the union staged a "Stop Bathroom Harassment" picket at the company.
Under the contract, the workday is 7.5 hours with a 10-minute morning break, a 15-minute afternoon break, a 30-minute lunch and a 5-minute end-of-day cleanup period.
The company owner — who noted employees spent 120 unnecessary hours in the bathroom in May — said employees were only reprimanded when supervisors noticed the bathroom breaks were excessive and employees ignored their demands to adhere to scheduled breaks.Kersten said one employee used the bathroom six times in one shift.