Friday, March 2, 2012

Labor Arbitration in the News

Solano County, California has filed suit seeking to overturn an award of Arbitrator James G. Merrill that reinstated a former benefits eligibility supervisor. Arbitrator Merrill reduced the termination to a thirty day suspension. The County argues that while the applicable contract allows the arbitrator to affirm or reverse the discipline in issue, it does not allow for modification. Solano County sues union over fired welfare worker’s job status | Daily Republic

A Seattle, Wash judge has set aside an award of Arbitrator Paul Grace which had prevented the Police Department from releasing the names of officers disciplined for misconduct. Local News | Judge allows release of disciplined Seattle police officers' names | Seattle Times Newspaper. The arbitrator had  determined that the release of officer’s names was precluded by the labor agreement which provided “It is understood that an officer’s personal identifying information shall be redacted from all records released”.  King County Judge Dean Lum vacated the decision, concluding that the collective bargaining agreement “can’t trump state law” and that release of officer’s names was required in most cases. A copy of Arbitrator Grace’s decision can be found  here.

Arbitrator Karen Mawhinney has reduced a termination to a suspension for a teacher accused of forwarding inappropriate emails  .Arbitrator: Middleton-Cross Plains must reinstate teacher who viewed porn at work. The arbitrator concluded that the teacher had not engaged in “immoral conduct”, the standard in effect at the time of the incident.  Update: The school board has voted to seek to set aside the award. Middleton-Cross Plains School Board to Appeal Teacher's Reinstatement.

Arbitrator Ronald Talarico has ordered the reinstatement of eight Pennsylvania corrections officers, finding the Department of Corrections had failed to proved the accused guards with information concerning why the action was taken against them. Arbitrator: Accused PA guards should get jobs back. The DOC claimed that they were prevented from providing this information because of an ongoing grand jury investigation. At least some of the officers are still facing criminal charges.

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