Friday, November 2, 2012

Arbitrator finds DC Fire Chief retaliated against Union President

Arbitrator (and former NLRB Administrative Law Judge) Leonard Wagman  has upheld a grievance filed by the International Association of Firefighters, Local 36. Arbitrator Wagman summarized the dispute:

Local 36 contends that the Department involuntarily transferred Captain Edward Smith from Rescue Squad 1 to Engine 7 because he engaged in union activity, and thereby violated Article 19, Section A, and Article 2, Section A of the CBA. The Union also argues that the Department's failure to comply with Captain Smiths request for the reason for that transfer violated Article 19, Section B(2) of the CBA. The Department seeks denial of the grievance on the ground that Local 36 has failed to show that union activity motivated the decision to transfer the  Grievant and that the Department has satisfied its burden of providing a written reason to Captain Smith for his involuntary transfer to Engine 7. As set forth below, I find merit in Local 36's contentions.

Arbitrator Wagman rejected the Department's defenses, finding its explanations for the disputed transfer "has gone from evasion to shifting reasons for its conduct."

Concluding that the transfer was in fact undertaken in retaliation for the Captain's union activity the Arbitrator ordered the Department to rescind the transfer and to reinstate him to his former position. links to the award here.

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