With record snow falls in the news, it's appropriate to revisit an issue first discussed in January. The earlier post, Pay for Snow day?- Same city, same storm, different results, discussed two awards from the Connecticut State Board of Mediation and Arbitration reaching different results on claims for pay for days employees were instructed to stay home because of record snowfall.
Since those two decisions, the SBMA has issued at least two other awards, involving the same town, the same storm, but different bargaining units.
In Town of Wallingford and IBEW, Local 457 a panel chaired by Arbitrator Douglas Cho sustained the Union's grievance. The award, covering two separate units represented by the Union, concluded:
Both agreements clearly set certain wages and hours and establish a normal work week as 40 hours worked Monday through Friday for Electric Division employees. Once the parties have agreed to certain hours and wages, the Town does not have the unilateral authority to decide not to pay its employees for work scheduled during the established days and hours. There is no specific or general provision allowing the Town to require employees to use vacation time in order to get paid for days the Town decides to close due to weather-related conditions.
While observing that there were not many examples of prior weather related closings which might establish a past practice, the majority noted there were no examples of prior weather related closings for which employees were not paid.
The second award, Town of Wallingford and AFSCME Co. 4, Local 1183, decided by a panel chaired by Arbitrator Nestor Diaz, reached a similar result. The majority concluded that while the circumstances were extraordinary, and the Town acted in good faith, "this does not mean that the Town has a right to deprive employees of a day's wage and instead urge them to take a vacation day to complete a week's wages."
Sustaining the grievance, the majority ordered the Town to make whole employees for lost wages or vacation time used.