Florida Mass Drug Testing Arbitration Result Appears to Turn on its Facts and CBA Language

By Jim Cline

CommentaryOccasionally, an arbitration decision calls out for a bit more explanation and the Arbitrator’s Ruling allowing the Ocala Fire Department to “Mass Test” its Firefighters is one such decision.  As described in our recent case note on the decision, the arbitrator found that the reasonable suspicion language in the CBA allowed the City to undertake a “mass test” all firefighters with any type of access to fire trucks from which narcotics had gone missing.

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Standby or On-Call? Union Successfully Grieves Baltimore County Failure to Pay Deputies despite 12-Year Past Practice of Nonpayment

By Mitchel Wilson

Time is MoneyIn Baltimore County, Arbitrator Richard Trotter granted the Union’s grievance for lost compensation for Deputy Sheriffs who are subject to being called into work while they are off duty.  

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Arbitrator Holds Anchorage May Not Unilaterally Change Non-Sworn PD Employees’ Alternative Work Schedule after 10 Years

By Mitchel Wilson

Schedule ChangeIn Municipality of Anchorage, Arbitrator Robert Landau concluded that because the City of Anchorage changed the Police Support work schedule, it had improperly changed a working condition in violation of the CBA.

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When Juvenile Detention CBA Allows for Light Duty Positions, Detention Center is Required to Offer it to Officers, Arbitrator Declares

By David Worley

Light DutyWhen the Ashtabula County Youth Detention Center declared that it was no longer providing “transitional” positions, which were specifically detailed in the CBA, the employer was found by an arbitrator to have improperly read these provisions out of the CBA.

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Florida Firefighter Loses the Fight: Arbitrator Holds that Involuntary Transfer is Permissible and Not Disciplinary

By Mitchel Wilson

3d man boxingIn Orange County, Florida, 131 LA 1367 (Smith 2013) Arbitrator Harold Smith concluded that the decision to transfer a firefighter was not a disciplinary decision and therefore was permissible according to the provisions of the CBA even though an employee conflict prompted the transfer.

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Number of Patrol Deputies Allowed on Vacation Comes Down to the Definition of “Watch”

By Mitchel Wilson

VacationIn DuPage County Sherriff, 13 LA 1131 (Wolff 2013), the arbitrator sustained the Union’s grievance based on the assertion that the County was preventing deputies from taking vacation in violation of the CBA terms. 

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When the CBA specifies who will be Promoted, Management may elect to Leave Position Vacant, Arbitrator holds

By David Worley

PromotionIn City of Chicago, 131 LA 902 (Goldstein, 2013), the arbitrator found no violation of the CBA occurred when the Chicago Police department did not elevate a Captain to position of Commander when the current Commander was temporarily absent even though the CBA specified that an available Captain (the grievant), would be elevated to that position when it became vacant.  The arbitrator found a valid exercise of management rights when the City decided it was unnecessary to fill the vacant Commander position when the vacancy was for such a short period.  Although during the vacancy, officers were instructed to look to a Commander at a neighboring district for “any questions or concerns”, the arbitrator found this did not constitute actually filling the vacancy.

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Private Duty Work of Police Officer, even when Assigned by Department, does not count toward Overtime, Arbitrator Holds

By David Worley

No OvertimeIn Town of Canton, 131 LA 876 (Gnocchi 2013), the arbitrator found that because the overtime provisions of the CBA did not reference “Private Duty” work, and there was a separate provision detailing the compensation for private duty work, the grievant was not entitled to the overtime rate of pay for that private duty work.  The arbitrator found the lack of applicable language in the overtime provision determinative, and considered private duty work, although assigned by the department and done in uniform, to be essentially work performed for a third party. [Read more...]

Clumsy Drafting Almost Gets Police Officer More Than Was Bargained For

By David Worley

insurance-contract-interpretationIn a brief and straightforward decision in City of Benicia, 131 LA 1099 (Gentile, 2013), the arbitrator denied a higher rate of “educational incentive” pay to a California police officer when that rate awarded to police officers who were employed prior to a certain date, and the grievant was employed by the city prior to that date, but not as a police officer. [Read more...]

Transfer of Sergeant for Purely Organizational Reasons Upheld by Arbitrator When No Clear Exception to Management Transfer Rights is Stated in the CBA

By David E. Worley

In Jackson County Sheriff’s Dep’t, 131 LA 433 (Pratte, 2013), a non-disciplinary transfer was upheld when a Sergeant who had been in the same unit for 21 years was transferred by the Sheriff and there was no change in seniority or rate of pay.  Noting that this grievance  involved a nondisciplinary transfer, the Arbitrator found that the Union had the burden to prove the transfer violated a specific provision in the CBA. The arbitrator held that there was no clear exception to the management rights clause in the CBA, and the restrictive language cited by the union did not apply. 

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