Employees of Orange County, N.Y., have gotten the word: "No coffee breaks
County Executive Edward Diana explained to a local newspaper, the Times Herald-Record
of Middletown, that since the county faces a $7.5 million budget gap next year,
he needs to do whatever he can to squeeze more work out of his 2,500-member
work force. Hence, no more of the traditional 15-minute, twice-a-day coffee
breaks - which until now had been paid breaks.
"The financial impact on this county demands looking for ways to save
money," Diana said. "There's nothing in our contract dealing with
formal breaks. We decided we're not going to do it anymore."
Diana figures on getting hundreds of extra work hours from county staff. With
coffee breaks, he said, entire road crews sometimes stopped work for 15 minutes,
leaving equipment standing idle.
But union leaders have filed grievances over the move, accusing Diana of using
"fuzzy math" to calculate his savings.
"That kind of arithmetic might work if you're producing widgets and the
assembly line shuts down when everyone goes on break," union executive
Glenn Blackman said. "Orange County isn't going to shut down. The work
The Associated Press, via FindLaw.com