Teacher transfer process violated contract
Arbitrator Jacquelin Drucker has issued a decision in a dispute between the Buffalo Board of Education and the Buffalo Teachers Federation. Upholding the Union’s grievance, Arbitrator Drucker concluded that the planned transfer of 54 teachers as part of a turnaround plan violated the procedures set forth in the cba. The Arbitrator rejected the Union’s claim that involuntary transfers were limited to individualized situations and that a past practice demonstrated that the Board was without authority to transfer teachers in non individualized situations. The Arbitrator noted “Even if that has been the longstanding history, however, future use of the management right to transfer is not barred simply because it was not exercised for many years. The Union in this case essentially is arguing that if an employer has a managerial right but has not used it, it may forfeit that managerial right. Past practice, however, does not work in that manner.” Nevertheless the Arbitrator found that the Board had violated the contract in developing and implementing the screening process called for in the contract. The violation included failing to solicit teacher preferences and having screening performed by unqualified individuals. buffalonews: Ruling: Teacher move violates union contract. Arbitrator Drucker’s award can be found here.
Union can proceed with arbitration despite death of grievant
The Eight Circuit has reversed a lower court’s decision and has held that the death of the grievant did not preclude the Union from proceeding to arbitration on a grievance challenging his termination. Sheet Metal Workers Local 2 v. Seligan Containers Manufacturing Corp. The court found no indication in the contract that the arbitration provision ceased to apply upon the death of the grievant, and rejected the employer’s reliance on the Supreme Court’s decision in Allied Chemical& Alkali Workers of America v. Pittsburgh Plate Glass Co. The court distinguished that case, finding “Unlike the interests of retirees the Supreme Court considered in Pittsburgh Plate Glass , the interests of employees whose grievances arise in the course of their employment, but who die before those grievances are resolved, do not diverge from the interests of current employees.”
Union can arbitrate claim that retirees are eligible for prescription co-payments
The firm of Weissman and Mintz has a report on a recent decision of the N.J. Appellate Division. Appellate Court Affirms Unions’ Right to Arbitrate on Behalf of Retired Members Using reasoning similar to that of the Eight Circuit above, the Appellate Division has affirmed the determination of the state’s Public Employment Relations Commission that the FOP could arbitrate its claim that retired employees were entitled to prescription co-payments in effect at the time they retired. The court noted “The Township's argument that it need not negotiate with the FOP on the issue of co-payments for retired police officers is beside the point as far as this appeal is concerned. The grievance seeks to enforce what the FOP contends are the Township's obligations under prior and existing CBAs. It does not seek to compel the Township to bargain on the issue for future contracts.” Township of Voorhees v. Voorhees Police Officers Association, et al.
Fire Department not obligated to maintain staffing level
According to a report in Indeonline.com, the Massillon, Ohio Fire Department did not violate its agreement by allowing the fire department staffing to fall below 42. Arbitrator Jeffrey Belkin found that the firefighter’s union had failed to establish that an agreement entered into in 1984 guaranteed a minimum staffing level “forever.” He noted that the Union had subsequently negotiated staffing levels, and if they intended that staffing would not fall below 42 they would have said so in their agreements. Arbitrator rules against laid off Massillon firefighters