Our members are more than the jobs that they do.
Too often, unions simply view members through the lens of the jobs they do. But we are so much more. We are parents, siblings, friends, and mentors. We enjoy the outdoors, reading, knitting, cooking, and playing sports.
As a union, Nutmeg is here to ensure that all parts of our members’ lives are made better by the work each does because the point of going to work is to provide yourself and those you love with your best lives.
We want to introduce you to the idea of living your best life and to make satisfaction, accomplishment, and vitality parts of your everyday.
We want to introduce a framework Nutmeg is developing to improve our member’s lives. I came on board with Nutmeg to help Eric achieve his vision of making lives better for members. And that vision goes beyond simply negotiating better wages, retirement, and health insurance benefits.
The framework that I am developing for Nutmeg’s members considers the “whole person,” not just the transactions that are the backbone of most labor situations.
So let’s begin.
Our framework acknowledges that employees have critical needs beyond a typical labor contract’s “Big Three” (Pay, Retirement, and Healthcare Coverage). This framework is a blend of existing models from a variety of sources which are supported by research and decades of experience in the labor fields.
The goal of this framework is to help members identify their needs, develop their resources, and empower themselves. The framework consists of “Five Pillars of Wellness” with each pillar being a critical component of wellness. Those pillars are Social, Emotional, Physical, Financial, and Occupational.
If wellness in one pillar is low or suffering, additional strain is placed on the other pillars. This weakens the entire structure and creates fragility in our member’s wellness.
An unwell member is not only unhappy and suffering, but from an employer perspective, he is less productive, more injury prone, more likely to make a critical error, and more likely to burn out. Many of the supporting structures in each pillar can be quantified, which can allow us to objectively measure the performance of them within a contract.
Using a whole person wellness model like this helps us to zoom out and remember that success for our members is more than a percent increase in salary over the next contract cycle. Using this model can zoom out and identify wellness gaps. Then we can strategize with our members about how Nutmeg can help them close those gaps.
If you have thoughts, comments, questions, or suggestions we would like to hear from you. We can be reached firstname.lastname@example.org; or 1 (888) 307-9870.
I was asked an interesting question the other day: an insurance adjuster asked if he qualifies for overtime under Connecticut’s wage and hours laws. After researching the question, the answer shocked me. Simply put, no, insurance adjusters do not qualify for overtime under state and federal wage and hour laws.
Both the Fair Labor Standards Act and Connecticut wage and hour laws require that “each employer shall pay 1-1/2 times the employee's regular rate of pay after 40 hours in the workweek. Overtime pay is due for actual hours worked over 40.” However, as with everything in the law, there are exceptions. For the most part, the federal and state exceptions are very similar. The exemption that applies to insurance adjusters is the “ executive, administrative, professional employees” exemption.
An insurance adjuster is considered an “administrative employee” because they have discretion and exercise “independent judgment.” In fact, the Department of Labor specifically addresses “Insurance Claims Adjusters” in Fact Sheet #17L.
“Whether they work for an insurance company or other type of company, insurance
claims adjusters generally meet the duties and requirements for the administrative
exemption and are not entitled to overtime pay if their duties include activities such as interviewing insureds, witnesses, and physicians; inspecting property damage; reviewing factual information to prepare damage estimates; evaluating and making recommendations regarding coverage of claims; determining liability and total value of a claim; negotiating settlements; and making recommendations regarding litigation.”
On the other hand, insurance appraisers probably will qualify for overtime. Appraisers do not exercise the same level of discretion as adjusters. An appraiser is mainly responsible for estimating damages, which are subsequently provided to the adjusters to assist them in processing the claim.
This is unfortunate. Insurance adjusters are often referred to as the hardest workers in the industry. They are often saddled with quotas and deadlines, requiring them to work long hours and weekends. Furthermore, insurance claims adjusters are not highly paid employees. A simple internet search revealed a salary range of anywhere from $36,000 to $100,000 per year, depending on length of service and experience.
I suppose career insurance adjusters humbly have to accept the reality of it and try to negotiate a higher salary from the start.