City Required To Include Night Differential In Firefighter Retirement Calculations

The collective bargaining agreement between the City of Brockton, Massachusetts and Local 144 of the International Association of Fire Fighters calls for pension benefits to be calculated on the basis of “regular weekly compensation.” When the City and Local 144 differed on whether to include night shift differential made to retiring firefighters in pension calculations, the matter ended up in arbitration.

An arbitrator sided with Local 144, and ordered the City to include the night differential in its retirement calculations. While the Arbitrator noted that ordinarily she would not conclude that night differential was part of “regular weekly compensation,” the City had a past practice when firefighters actually used sick leave including night differential in sick leave pay. As the Arbitrator put it, “it would make no sense for ‘regular weekly compensation’ to have one meaning in relation to using a day of sick leave” and another meaning for purposes of retirement calculations.

City of Brockton, Massachusetts, LAIG 6375 (Saylor, 2006).

This article appears in the August 2006 issue