Employer Not Allowed To Withdraw Take-Home Vehicles

Since the 1970s, police officers working for the City of Port Huron, Michigan have been assigned to take-home vehicles. When the City issued a new order eliminating the take-home vehicle policy, the Police Officers Association of Michigan, representing the officers, sought arbitration over the issue.

An arbitrator sided with the Association and ordered the restoration of the past practice. Important in the Arbitrator’s decision was that the City had sought, and not obtained, an amendment to the contract allowing it the ability to limit the use of take-home vehicles. Since the use of take-home vehicles concerned a mandatory subject of bargaining, the Arbitrator decided, the City could not unilaterally change the policy without first negotiating with the Association. The Arbitrator ordered the parties to attempt to reach an agreement on the appropriate remedy, which would be some form of reimbursement to detectives for the use of their personal vehicles.

City of Port Huron, LAIG 6797 (Finkel, 2009).

This article appears in the February 2010 issue