Workers picket over company's bathroom break policy

CHICAGO (WBBM/CNN) – Workers at a company in Chicago say going to the bathroom has become a race against the clock.

Employees of a faucet-making company staged a protest before work on Wednesday, saying they’ve been disciplined over the length of their bathroom breaks.

Teamsters union members who work at the WaterSaver Faucet Co., said they have filed an unfair labor practices complaint with the National Labor Relations Board, alleging the company has begun writing up employees for spending too much time in the bathroom during work hours.

"This year, they installed a washroom monitoring system that basically keeps track of every minute you’re in the bathroom,” said Teamsters Local 743 business agent Nick Kreitman.

"Earlier this year, they implemented a disciplinary system with it, where you had a certain amount of time within a two-week period to be in the bathroom. If you exceeded it by one minute, you got written up.”

The Teamsters have said the bathroom policy is a violation of workers’ privacy rights, and they claim the company won’t discuss the matter with them.

The owner of the business has a different opinion.

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

WaterSaver and its sister company, Guardian Equipment Inc., have been negotiating a new contract with their 140 unionized workers, and remain in tense talks over issues such as pay and healthcare benefits.