Vacation Time Trumps Union Leave

The president of Local 1032 of the International Association of Fire Fighters (IAFF) scheduled two tours of vacation. Subsequently, he learned that the IAFF would be conducting its biannual convention during the same time period. When the City refused to change the vacation designation of leave to a “union leave” designation, Local 1032 challenged the City’s decision in arbitration.

An arbitrator sided with the City. The Arbitrator found that if the president actually had been working during the time period of the convention, the union leave provisions in the contract would have allowed him time off without loss of pay or without any pro rata deduction of vacation time. However, because the president was already on vacation and not scheduled for duty, he “did not need to be relieved from duty in order to attend the convention.”

The Arbitrator also found that the limited past practice that existed – “a handful of cases over a 30-year period” – supported the City’s position.

City of Medford, Massachusetts and IAFF, Local 1032, LAIG 6623 (Wooters, 2008).

This article appears in the November 2008 issue