Employer Must Arbitrate Changed EMS Duties

The city of Yonkers, New York and the Yonkers Fire Fighters, Local 628 of the IAFF are parties to a collective bargaining agreement. The management rights clause of the contract allows the City to control the management of the fire department with certain limitations. It also allows the City to alter the Department’s Emergency Medical Services (EMS) after negotiation with Local 628. The contract requires that the EMS program…

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Pennsylvania Court Struggles With Arbitrator’s Opinion Reinstating Officer

The Northern Berks Regional Police Commission provides police services to certain parts of Berks County, Pennsylvania. The Commission is a party to a collective bargaining agreement with the Fraternal Order of Police. In September 2016, the Commission terminated Officer Charles Hobart due to misconduct. Specifically, the Department learned that Hobart kept a file folder in his desk containing (1) explicit pictures of females in different stages of undress, (2)…

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If There’s A Last Chance Agreement, What’s Left To Arbitrate?

Thomas Eccleston is a firefighter with the City of Waterbury, Connecticut. Eccleston was arrested and charged with third degree assault and breach of the peace in the second degree, which caused the City to place Eccleston on paid administrative leave pending the completion of an investigation. On November 19, 2015, Eccleston and the president of his labor organization, the Waterbury Fire Fighters Association, signed a last chance agreement. The…

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Arbitration Decision Binding In Later Discrimination Lawsuit

From December 10, 2001 to September 25, 2012, Joshua Billings worked for the Public Safety Department of the Town of Steilacoom, Washington. On May 8, 2012, the City demoted Billings from the rank of sergeant to Public Safety Office (PSO). PSOs served dual roles as police officers and firefighters under the supervision of a Police Chief. Following several internal affairs investigations, the Chief concluded Billings violated numerous policies and…

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Court Upholds Arbitrator’s Opinion Imposing ‘Reasonable Doubt’ Burden Of Proof

In February 2015, the East Dundee and Countryside Fire Protection District in Illinois terminated Lieutenant Anthony Pompa, who had 15 years of service with the District. The District alleged that Pompa engaged in misconduct by emailing a continuing education test answer sheet to two firefighters. Pompa declined to testify at a hearing before the District’s Board of Fire Commissioners. The Board sustained the charges against Pompa, and conducted a…

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Employer Not Allowed To Terminate Contract While Arbitration Pending

Under Illinois law, firefighter and police unions have the right to seek binding interest arbitration if negotiations for a new contract are not successful. When negotiations with the Village of North Riverside came to impasse, Local 2714 of the International Association of Fire Fighters (IAFF) sought interest arbitration. The Village responded by sending a letter to all firefighters announcing its intention to terminate the collective bargaining agreement (CBA), and…

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Cross-Examination Style Not Breach Of Duty Of Fair Representation

Nancy Newfer is a corporal for Wayne County, Michigan Sheriff’s Department. On November 12, 2016, Newfer and another officer were involved in an incident at the jail. Newfer was interviewed by Internal Affairs Division employees about the incident and signed a statement. The other officer was later discharged; his conduct during the incident played at least some role in his discharge. Newfer was not disciplined. Newfer and the disciplined…

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Arbitrator’s ‘Chokehold’ Opinion Upheld

As the Supreme Judicial Court of Massachusetts charmingly started off a recent opinion: In Boston on St. Patrick’s Day in 2009, three friends, Michael O’Brien, Thomas Cincotti and Eric Leverone, “having consumed some alcohol during the daytime celebrations, proceeded to a Faneuil Hall bar where O’Brien received free drinks by virtue of knowing the staff and owners.” Because Leverone had recently returned from active military duty, patrons purchased him…

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Q&A

From Florida Question: I’ve often heard from my union’s legal defense plan that we cannot go to arbitration for a written reprimand because the grievant has no “property loss” and that the arbitrator can’t rescind the written reprimand. Often our members feel like this is an excuse by the legal defense plan because the LDP doesn’t want to spend the money on the arbitration. While a written reprimand doesn’t…

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No Evidence That Arbitrator Was Partial In Chief’s Termination Case

Matthew Cummings was the Police Chief for Newton, Massachusetts. Cummings worked under an employment contract, which specified that any dispute concerning his “termination of employment…shall be resolved exclusively by arbitration under the Voluntary Labor Arbitration Rules of the American Arbitration Association.” The agreement also specified that “the arbitrator’s decision, if in accordance with law, shall be final and binding upon the parties.” When the City terminated Cummings for conduct…

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