Workers Protest Against Chicago Company's Bathroom Break Policy

Friday, July 18th 2014, 9:53 am
By: News 9

Do you know someone at work who spends way too much time in the bathroom? Apparently, it's a huge problem for one company, and now they're putting a limit on how much time you can spend there.

According to the CBS affiliate in Chicago, a company there says workers are spending way too much time in the bathroom not actually using the restroom. Instead, they think workers are sneaking off the bathrooms to talk or text on their cell phones.

Workers at Water Saver say a trip to the bathroom is more like an old-time game show… "Beat the Clock." But the company owner calls the rules a matter of restroom justice.

“It’s not fair to the people who come to and work hard seven and half hours a day to have the guy next to them screwing off in the bathroom all day,” owner Steven Kersten said.

The same swipe cards that get workers in the door also get them into the john, the system recording how often they go and how long they stay. Nineteen people were disciplined, a third of the workforce. That led to a labor board grievance, and a protest. Workers think there can be legit reasons for more bathroom time.

“Someone with a certain medical condition, or you know, women, they have their time of the month,” Fred Kremitzer said.

But apparently, management at Water Saver expects workers to hold their own.

“I think it’s ridiculous because everybody has to use the bathroom and we don't control when we have to use the bathroom,” Gabriel Garcia said.

Workers there have only 30 minutes a week for bathroom breaks. That's about six minutes a day.

The union thinks the bathroom reprimands are reprisals for its demands for a wage increase and paid sick days. Both sides met Thursday to negotiate. No word yet on how those talks turned out.