HR Strange But True!
April 25, 2003

Employees of Orange County, N.Y., have gotten the word: "No coffee breaks for you!"

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 gets done."

Source: The Associated Press, via

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