Contract dispute leaves barber with cut in pay
Stars and Stripes May 1, 2008
STUTTGART, Germany — In November, AAFES told Stuttgart barber Giuseppe Muré that it had been paying him too much money for the past two years because of an “oversight” in his contract.
“This is not my problem,” Muré said at the time.
Now it is his problem — to the tune of 1,127 fewer euros a month.
For his last two monthly paychecks, the Army and Air Force Exchange Service raised the concession fee it charged Muré from 10 percent of his total sales to 39.73 percent. In March, that meant his take-home pay was 2,197 euros instead of 3,324 euros, which has upset the 62-year-old Sicilian.
“Me no change the contract,” Muré said. “Me have two years left on the contract. When you have no more years on the contract, then you can change it.”
The saga dates to 2005 when AAFES informed Muré it was raising his concession fee from 10 percent to 39.73 percent. But AAFES never entered the new fee into his five-year contract, which both parties signed. AAFES claims it has the legal right to change Muré’s paycheck, but when asked by Stars and Stripes the company declined to describe how it had that right.
“The change never took place and Mr. Muré has benefited from this oversight for the last two years,” Lt. Col. David Konop, an AAFES spokesman, wrote in an e-mailed response. “When this contract was reviewed, AAFES noticed the error and took corrective action by informing Mr. Muré again (of the intended terms).
“In fairness, Mr. Muré was provided four months to prepare for this correction.”
Muré, who operates a one-man shop on Kelley Barracks, has hired Stuttgart lawyer Walter Zuleger. Zuleger said AAFES has no right to change his client’s paycheck until the contract expires in two years.
“Contracts are there to be kept,” Zuleger said. “My demand for Mr. Muré is to keep up the contract that has been agreed on.
“This is not Blackwater where they can just shoot whoever they want,” he said, adding that Muré is considering legal action.
Zuleger said he informed AAFES on April 5 that he was representing Muré, but as of Tuesday he had not heard back from the company. Konop said AAFES headquarters in Dallas has responded to Zuleger via certified mail but said he did not know the contents of the response.