The American Federation of Government Employees announced Thursday that it won a $20 million initial payment in its eleven year battle with the agency formerly known as Immigration and Naturalization Services over unpaid overtime for thousands of federal employees. Payments totaling $20 million will be made on or before June 15 by the Department of Homeland Security, which absorbed INS when it was created.
The payments are in compliance with an order to compensate more than 8,600 employees of the former INS who worked overtime but were improperly paid.
“Employees of the former INS will be ecstatic to learn that after years of agency delay and obstruction, they will finally get paid what is due them and what was illegally withheld from them,” said Joe Goldberg, AFGE assistant general counsel and the attorney who pursued the case. Goldberg noted that the agency’s offer to settle the grievance for $7 million was rejected by AFGE.
The $20 million initial payment does not mark the end of the AFGE national grievance that was filed in June of 1994. AFGE and DHS have yet to reconcile claims for undocumented overtime (e.g. time worked while on travel), legally termed “suffer or permit” overtime, and process claims for those who are in dispute as to whether they are eligible to be covered by the grievance.