Deli employees to skip work until pay issues are resolved
May 31, 2003
DARMSTADT, Germany — Starting Saturday, deli workers at the commissary on Nathan Hale Depot will not show up to work until they say issues with their pay are resolved.
A German contractor, Wolf GMBH, took over commissary deli operations on May 1. The contractor told the workers they would get paid on a monthly basis, the workers said. But by Wednesday, deli employees at other commissaries in Germany had been paid; Darmstadt employees have not seen a dime.
Also, checks were cut in euros, not dollars, posing cashing problems at American banks, workers said. Some employees said they had to pay fees to have their checks cashed, while others received their pay in cash.
Employees at Darmstadt said they heard the other deli workers in Germany were paid and asked store manager Phil Brown to call the contractor to see when their checks would arrive. Wolf GMBH said no payment would be made because the correct paperwork was not sent in.
“They waited a whole month and didn’t tell us we were doing anything wrong. Then when it’s too late they let us know — and that’s only after we had to ask them first,” one deli employee said.
A Defense Commissary Agency spokeswoman said the problems are simply because the German contractor has not worked with American installations before.
“We felt like Wolf was doing his best to accommodate the unusual situation,” said Kay Blakley, DeCA spokeswoman. “He’s going above and beyond … willing to pay employees in cash to address difficulties in having to cash a German check. Plus check-cashing fees were reimbursed.
“I certainly understand people have got to be paid and have got to be paid on time,” she said. “But it’s a very big job we have asked our new contractor to do, and I don’t think it’s an indication of any larger problem.”