Change In Training Schedule Cannot Adversely Impact Leave

When the City of Lancaster, Pennsylvania Police Department changed the times for its annual in-service training in 2007, the change was challenged in arbitration by the Lancaster Police Officers Association. An arbitrator upheld a portion of the Association’s grievance.

The Arbitrator began by generally acceding to the City’s argument that the Police Chief had the right to schedule training. The Arbitrator commented that “the Chief simply used his contractually endowed power to deny training done outside of regular duty hours.”

The Arbitrator also held that to the extent the change in training adversely impacted officers’ leave schedules, it violated the collective bargaining agreement. The Arbitrator ruled that “officers have long enjoyed a certain degree of availability of leave time. That benefit is nearly as important as the amount of leave time.”

The Arbitrator determined that the new training schedule “certainly reduced the amount of staffing available for tours of duty during the first five months of 2007 because it required all mandatory annual training to be completed by that time.” Because the reduction in staffing reduced leave availability, the Arbitrator concluded that the employer violated the contract.

By way of remedy, the Arbitrator ordered the City to make affected officers whole, and directed the City and the Association to meet and confer as to the scope of the remedy.

City of Lancaster, Pennsylvania, LAIG 6723 (Colflesh, 2009).

This article appears in the July 2009 issue