The Court noted that the essential facts were undisputed:
...they can be summarized briefly. For many years, the New jersey Turnpike Authority and the South Jersey Transportation Authority - independent authorities that operate theState's major toll roads - allowed State Troopers to travel over those roads in their personal vehicles without paying tolls. As a result, the Troopers were able to commute to and from work without incurring that expense.
In November 2010, the two authorities notified the Division of State Police that they would no longer provide toll-free passage to Troopers commuting to and from work. When the Division declined to reimburse Troopers for the toll-related commuting expenses, the Troopers Association filed a grievance challenging what it described as the "unilateral suspension of non-revenue toll road passage." The Union alleged that the Division's refusal breached the maintenance of benefits provision of its cba.
The arbitrator sustained the grievance, concluding that the provision of toll-free passage was a benefit of a type that was negotiable and that reimbursement had become an established past practice. The Division sought to vacate the award, and the superior court granted that request. The court found that the arbitrator exceeded his authority and made a mistake of law by reading into the cba a term not found there and that the award was not a "reasonably debatable" interpretation of the contract.
On the Union's appeal, the Appellate Division affirmed. It noted:
...the arbitrator's discussion of the third-party nature of the benefit was illogical. Under the stipulated facts, the privilege of toll-free commutation was a gratuitous benefit provided by the Authorities, and not a benefit provided by, agreed to, or controlled by the Division. The toll-free arrangement was a "past practice" between the Authorities and the Troopers, not between the Troopers and the Division.
The Court found further that toll-free commutation was never a benefit actually provided by the Division, either directly or by agreement with the Authorities, and was therefore not covered by the maintenance of benefits provision.