Friday, June 15, 2012

Labor Arbitration in the News

Arbitrator upholds termination of police officer involved in shooting

The Herald of Everett, Wash. reports that Arbitrator Janet Gaunt has upheld the termination of a police officer involved in a shooting, concluding that the City had just cause for the termination.
Firing of former Everett cop Troy Meade upheld. The Arbitrator’s award can be found here. The officer upheld the City’s determination that the officer had violated policy when he shot an intoxicated individual he believed was reversing his vehicle in the direction of the officer. According to the Arbitrator “Department policy prohibits shooting into a moving vehicle unless there is no other reasonable means of protecting an officer or a third party in imminent threat of serious injury or death. Officer Meade did have a reasonable alternative, i.e., protective cover readily available behind an adjacent SUV. By failing to use that alternative, Meade violated applicable provisions of the EPD’s Use of Force Policy and caused a civilian death that could have been avoided.”

Deputy Sheriffs improperly denied overtime opportunities

Arbitrator Raleigh Jones has concluded that Milwaukee County modified past practice and unilaterally restricted the opportunities for Deputy Sheriffs to work overtime at County Correctional facilities. Sheriff's deputies denied overtime work, owed back pay, arbitrator finds. Arbitrator Jones’ award can be found here. The facilities were staffed with both Deputy Sheriffs and lower paid corrections officers. While voluntary overtime opportunities had been shared between these two titles based on seniority, beginning in January 2011 the County decided to limit opportunities for voluntary overtime to corrections officers. It relied on the management rights provision of its cba with the Deputy Sheriffs’ Association in support of its actions. Arbitrator Jones concluded that that provision gave the Sheriff the right to determine whether overtime was necessary, but that the contract was ambiguous concerning the method of distribution of those opportunities. In light of that ambiguity the arbitrator looked to the parties’ past practice. Finding that the opportunities had long been shared between the two titles the Arbitrator concluded that “The Employer’s decision to end the practice … violated Section 3.02(3) (a) as those provisions have come to be interpreted by the parties themselves.”

No collateral estoppel based on NLRB’s dismissal of unfair labor practice charge

Graphic Communications Conference, IBT, Local 140 prevailed in an arbitration against the Los Angeles Times arising from a warning issued to an employee who was also a union official, allegedly because of his union activities.
ARBITRATOR RULES AGAINST L.A. TIMES CITING ANTI- UNION ANIMUS. Arbitrator Fred D'Orazio's award can be found here . Grievant had filed a charge with the NLRB containing the same allegations. The charge was initially deferred to the grievance/arbitration procedure, but the deferral was subsequently rescinded and an investigation undertaken. The Regional office found insufficient evidence to support the charge and determined that further proceedings were unwarranted. At the arbitration the employer argued that in light of the NLRB’s action the grievance should be dismissed under the doctrines of res judicata and collateral estoppel. The Arbitrator rejected this defense, noting that the matter had not been “actually litigated”, a prerequisite to application of those doctrines. Proceeding to the merits, the Arbitrator found that the written warning was motivated by anti-union animus, in violation of the contract.

Employees terminated for claimed fraud ordered reinstated

The Hartford Courant reports that 40 of 103 employees of the State of Connecticut who had been terminated for claimed improper receipt of disaster relief after Tropical Storm Irene have been found entitled to reinstatement.
D-SNAP: Many State Employees To Get Jobs Back As No Fraud Found. Arbitrator Susan Meredith concluded that the discipline imposed was too severe, and that many of the employees had committed mistakes, but not fraud.

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