The collective bargaining agreement between the Town of
Saugerties and the Town Of 's Benevolent Association contained a provision that the Town "agrees to comply with the requirements of Section 971 of the Unconsolidated Laws of New York." That statute limited the ability of the Town to require a police officer to work in excess of 8 hours in a 24 hour period. The Saugerties Policeman Union sought to arbitrate a dispute about the application of this provision, and the Town sought a court order staying the arbitration. The Town argued that resolution of the grievance would require application or interpretation of the terms of the statute and maintained that public policy would not allow an arbitrator to do so.
Affirming the lower court, the New York Appellate Division rejected the Town’s claims. It noted that the incorporation of the statute makes it a substantive provision of the agreement, and that no public policy precluded its interpretation by an arbitrator. As it was clearly covered by the arbitration provision of the agreement there was no basis for a stay.
The court’s decision can be found here.