Assignment To Particular Assistant Chief Position A Management Right

Local 252 of the International Association of Fire Fighters represents members of the Piqua, Ohio Fire Department. When a vacancy occurred in the position of “assistant chief on shift,” the Department filled the vacancy by transferring Assistant Chief Mike Rindler, who had held the position of assistant chief for Fire Prevention. Local 252 filed a grievance challenging the transfer, contending that the vacant position should have been filled through the promotional process.

An arbitrator disagreed with Local 252, and upheld the transfer. The Arbitrator found that “Rindler’s transfer did not change his rank, as he was an assistant chief before the transfer and remained an assistant chief. Nor did Rindler receive a change in the rate of pay. The management rights clause is clear and unambiguous. The City has reserved the right to transfer employees in the appropriate situations.

“The definition of the word ‘transfer’ further eliminates those situations. The record is devoid of any extrinsic evidence to suggest that the parties ascribe a special meaning to the term ‘transfer.’ The word ‘transfer’ in the parlance of labor-management relations suggests the movement by an employee from one position to another either laterally or within a job class.

“The promotional language of the collective bargaining agreement is designed for upper mobility. The act of transferring an employee is distinct and different from promoting an employee. A retirement created a vacancy among the assistant chiefs. The City did not violate the collective bargaining agreement by allowing Rindler to transfer laterally to a shift position. The Rindler transfer did not compromise the vacancy among assistant chiefs. A vacancy still exists, which must be filled as promotional opportunity in accordance with the dictates of the contract.”

City of Piqua, Ohio, A.A.A. Case No. 52-390-60548-08 (Kosanvich, 2009).

This article appears in the September 2009 issue