Friday, August 24, 2012

Labor Arbitration in the News

School District not entitled to reimbursement of Union officials salaries

Arbitrator Gary Axon has rejected an effort by the Douglas County Colorado School District seeking reimbursement for salaries paid to several union officials. The contracts in issue provided that the cost of compensation and benefits for the Union president would be paid proportionally by the District and the Union “according to an agreed upon percentage of 50/50”, and other representatives were also subject to a negotiated proportional payment. The District maintained that it became concerned that it was not able to demonstrate appropriate accountability for the costs and asserted that the Union president orally agreed to assume payment of 100% of the costs rather than have the affected individuals report to a District building. Arbitrator Axon concluded that the contract language was clear and unambiguous regarding the sharing of compensation costs, and that the claimed oral agreement was never reduced to writing and submitted through the contractually required approval process.  Arbitrator Axon’s award is available here.
Illinois Inmate transfer on hold pending arbitration

AFSCME Council 31 has won a temporary stay of transfers of prisoners in facilities targeted for closure while it arbitrates it grievances relating to the planned closure. Illinois inmate transfers halted; union and state to arbitrate closures.
Employees improperly laid off, backpay awarded to employees with increased work loads

According to a report in the Boston Globe, Arbitrator Michael Stutz has issued an award finding the Boston Public Schools violated its contract with the Boston Teachers Union when it cut the number of special education clerks in half, resulting in special education coordinators working hours of unpaid overtime each week. While finding that ordering the school to reinstate the clerks was beyond his authority, the Arbitrator found the coordinators were entitled to split half of the combined salaries of the clerks who were laid off. Boston special education cuts found to be wrongful.

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