You’d better quickly eat lunch if you work at the SEC
If you work at the Securities and Exchange Commission, you’d do best to limit your lunch break to 30 minutes, urged the president of the union for employees at the U.S. agency. And don’t even think about going out for coffee.
The latest tensions between the union and the SEC stem from a new security card the commission is requiring all employees to carry, Bloomberg reports. It will track when they enter and exit SEC offices around the country. The fear is that taking an hour-long lunch, when only a half-hour lunch is union mandated, could be used as evidence against employees accused of skipping out on the job.
“Do not fall into the trap of believing that because you are a ‘professional’ the rules do not apply to you,” union president Greg Gilman wrote in an email to workers.
The SEC, meanwhile, has downplayed the union’s cautions. The security cards will keep a record of the exact times workers come and go, but co-workers and supervisors — not electronic tracking systems — initiate cases against workers missing on the job, said SEC spokesman John Nester. And the commission, Nester said, did not use surveillance data related to short absences in any of the six cases throughout the past year of employees getting in trouble for being absent.
Earlier this year, SEC chair Mary Jo White limited additional vacation and retirement benefits to managers only, provoking ire from Gilman and his union, which represents 3,000 of the commission’s 4,000 employees. Gilman has also accused the agency of dropping a student loan repayment program.
Gilman wrote to the union that he has requested a federal mediator to help resolve issues with the agency.