Detectives’ Work Schedules Arbitrable

A number of detectives work for the York County, Pennsylvania District Attorney’s Office. The collective bargaining agreement between the York County Detectives Association and the County calls for a workweek consisting of five consecutive workdays “in a pre-established work schedule for a total of 40 hours per week.”

When the District Attorney hired a new detective, but only scheduled the detective to work 32 hours in a week, the Association filed a grievance. An arbitrator upheld the grievance, reasoning that the specific language of the “hours of work” section of the contract superseded the rights reserved to the District Attorney by the management rights clause.

The District Attorney then challenged the Arbitrator’s opinion in court. The Pennsylvania Commonwealth Court (Pennsylvania’s court of appeals) rejected the District Attorney’s challenge.

As in the arbitration, the District Attorney pointed to the management rights clause in the contract, which provides that “disputes between the parties relating to hiring, discipline, supervision or discharge of employees are not subject to the grievance procedure and remain solely within the discretion of the District Attorney. The Court commented that “were this a dispute over hiring or discharge of an employee, we might agree with the District Attorney. However, the term ‘supervision’ is not defined to include setting the number of hours in a workday or workweek, nor is such a proposition necessarily obvious. Indeed, the fact that a different provision of the CBA specifically mandates the number of hours in a workday and workweek would suggest to the contrary.”

Rebert v. York County Detectives Association, 2006 WL 2933942 (Pa.Cmwlth. 2006).

This article appears in the December 2006 issue