NEW YORK (MainStreet) Chicago's WaterSaver Faucet Company is trying to plug the leaks in worker productivity. Claiming some of its employees are making "excessive use" of bathroom breaks, the company is now paying employees not to go by promoting potty-free workdays. That's right, don't go to the bathroom at all during working hours for an entire month and you'll be rewarded with a $20 gift card.
That's $1 a day for going john free.
The issue came to a head last winter when the company installed swipe card systems for entry to its bathrooms, according to CNN Money. Bathroom breaks were limited to no more than 60 minutes per 10 working days an average of 6 minutes per day.
Members of the Teamsters Local 743 have filed a complaint with the National Labor Relations Board.
"The company has spreadsheets on every union employee on how long they were in the bathroom," union representative Nick Kreitman told CNN Money. "There have been meetings with workers and human resources where the workers had to explain what they were doing in the bathroom."
Shortly after the tracking system was installed, 19 workers were charged with excessive bathroom use. The CEO, Steve Kersten, says 120 hours of production were lost just in May due to bathroom breaks outside of allotted times. One worker was accused of going to the bathroom six times in one shift, including two minutes before his scheduled morning break, according to the Chicago Tribune.
WaterSaver Faucet builds valves, safety equipment and faucets at two manufacturing facilities in Chicago. Employees are working under an extension of their old labor contract, which expired last month, while contract negotiations between the company and union officials continue.
"We need the company to drop this bathroom discipline, because it's hanging over the heads of our members," Nicholas Kreitman, a senior union representative told Progress Illinois. "You can't really bargain in good faith if you can just implement any policy that you want, not bargain with the union over it and then discipline a third of your plant."
--Written by Hal M. Bundrick for MainStreet