Union Reports on Medical Center’s Payroll Problems

By J. Douglas Allen-Taylor
Tuesday April 04, 2006

There have been “significant improvements” in the payroll problems that have plagued the Alameda County Medical Center in recent weeks, according to a spokesperson for the union representing hospital workers. 

Union officials said they have not yet decided if they will ask for a paper trail backup to the electronic system. 

Two weeks ago, the Berkeley Daily Planet reported that union officials had received more than 40 recent complaints of payroll problems with the medical center’s new Kronos automated payroll system, “with some people missing hours, some people missing whole pay periods,” and some workers being dropped from the center’s health benefit plan because they were improperly dropped to part-time worker status. 

The Kronos automated system replaced the center’s paper-based payroll system. 

ACMC trustees had asked to receive a status report from the center’s chief financial officer at the board’s March 28 meeting, but that meeting was canceled for lack of a quorum. 

This week, Service Employees International Union (SEIU) Director of Communications Brad Cleveland said that while the union has not yet received a copy of the error report detailing the exact number of problems that occurred in the last pay period, “it is our understanding that things have gotten better.” 

SEIU officials and the hospital had earlier worked out an agreement in which the Kronos automated system would be initially operated alongside a paper-based payroll system, but that plan was later scrapped by the hospital. 

“It’s my understanding that [ACMC Chief Executive Officer Wright] Lassiter is amenable to putting in place the dual payroll system, if we ask for it,” Cleveland said. “We want to look at the error report first before we make that request. There’s always going to be some level of error in any system. We just have to determine if the number of errors in the ACMC payroll are still sufficient enough to warrant a dual system.” 

ACMC officials declined to comment on the status of the payroll problem, citing pending litigation by a former center employee that includes complaints about the payroll system. The officials would only say that they are working on solving the problem..