Friday, July 13, 2012

Labor Arbitration in the News

Portland loses another police conduct arbitration

 OregonLive reports that Arbitrator Timothy D.W. Williams has reversed the two week suspensions imposed on two police officers arising from their involvement in the arrest and in custody death of an individual in September of 2006. Arbitrator reverses discipline against Chris Humphreys, Sgt. Kyle Nice in the Chasse case. Arbitrator Williams concluded that while “much could have been done differently,” the evidence did not support the discipline imposed for the officers for failing to have the suspect transported to the hospital by ambulance and for allegedly failing to properly notify the paramedic who cleared the transport that the suspect had been tasered. Arbitrator Williams’ award can be found here. As noted here, Portland is still involved in the controversy over its refusal to comply with another arbitrator’s award ordering the reinstatement of an officer involved in a shooting resulting in a citizen’s death.

Interest award issued in NRLCA/USPS dispute

 A panel chaired by Arbitrator Jack Clarke has issued an award settling the terms of the contract between the National Rural Letter Carriers and the US Postal Service. Arbitrator Clarke rejected the claim of the Postal Service that this interest arbitration was akin to a restructuring in bankruptcy, noting that structural and regulatory concerns were for Congress to decide; the interest arbitration was limited to setting the wages and benefits of the Rural Letter Carriers. The full text of the award can be found here.

Teachers can be required to teach six courses in school day

According to the Oswego, NY Palladium-Times, Arbitrator Robert Rabin has issued an award upholding, in part, a grievance challenging the School District’s directive mandating six period teaching days. The arbitrator ordered the District not to blanketly require all teachers to teach six periods but upheld the District’s right to require a sixth period assignment on an individual basis to bring the teacher closer to the contractually described student capacity and class load. Arbitrator renders decision on OCTA grievance

University’s change to cleaning method not barred by past practice.

Arbitrator Harry S. Crump has rejected a grievance filed by Teamsters Local 320 claiming that the University of Minnesota deviated from past practice and modified the process by which employees bid on areas to be cleaned. Custodians say team cleaning is still an issue. The University had switched from an “area cleaning” approach to a “team cleaning” process. In rejecting the Union’s grievance the arbitrator observed:

 The University also conclusively established that there is no binding past practice of having only one person bidding into or cleaning a defined area. There is actually a past practice of team cleaning, both before and after the MOU, and there is a past practice of more than one B&G Worker bidding into a defined area; and more than one B&G Worker cleaning in a defined area. In addition, the right to determine staffing is specifically reserved by the management rights clause of the contract and PELRA, and the bidding into and cleaning by more than one person into a defined area is an exercise of managerial discretion and cannot provide the basis for a binding past practice. Finally, the conditions upon which the alleged past practice was based have changed, and also, any binding past practice was clearly repudiated by the University giving timely and proper notification of intent to do so in 2001 before negotiations of the MOU. Any prior past practice limiting the number of FM B&G Workers bidding into or cleaning a defined area shall no longer be given effect.

 The full text of Arbitrator Crump’s award can be found here.

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