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Without Agreement By The Parties, Arbitrator May Have No Right To ‘Retain Jurisdiction’ Over A Case

A common feature of grievance arbitrations is that, after issuing an award, an arbitrator will retain jurisdiction over the case to resolve disputes about the remedy. What is not always appreciated, however, is that depending upon how the underlying collective bargaining agreement is written, an arbitrator may have no inherent right to retain jurisdiction, but rather can only do so if the parties agree to it. A case recently…

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‘Public Policy Exception’ To Arbitration Finality Alive And Well In Illinois

The most commonly-litigated exception to the principle that arbitration decisions are final and binding is known as the “public policy” exception. In general, the public policy exception only arises when a party clearly shows enforcement of the contract, as interpreted by the arbitrator. In a case involving Decatur, Illinois Police Officer Jeremy Welker, the Illinois Court of Appeals gave a broad reading to the public policy exception. Welker was…

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Corrections Officers Required To Arbitrate FLSA Claim

Corrections officers working for Butler County, Pennsylvania are covered by a collective bargaining agreement between the County and District Council 84 of the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees. The grievance procedure of the contract calls for the arbitration of “all disputes relating to the application or interpretation of the CBA and/or any dispute concerning the wages, hours, and working conditions of employees covered by this CBA….

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Arguments On The Merits Are For An Arbitrator, Not A Court

Pedro Sarmiento is a 25-year employee of the Laredo, Texas Police Department. When the Police Chief refused to fill open vacancies in the rank of captain, Sarmiento filed a grievance under the collective bargaining agreement between the City and the Laredo Police Officers Association. An arbitrator ruled in favor of Sarmiento, finding that the City had violated the collective bargaining agreement by failing to promote Sarmiento to captain. The…

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City Must Arbitrate Grievance Over Retirement Benefits

The City of Portland, Oregon has had a pension fund for police and fire employees for many years. In 2006, following public criticism of the Fund and its board, the City’s voters approved a ballot measure that, among other things, would restructure the Fund’s board and require new employees to become members of the statewide PERS system. After the election, the new Fund board determined that the Fund’s administrator…

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Changes In Staffing Rule Subject To Arbitration

Beginning in 1999, the Chief of Police of the Village of Horseheads, New York issued a series of general orders setting forth various rules and regulations relative to departmental operating procedures and policies. The rules included General Order A–13.1, which required that a minimum of two officers be assigned to patrol duty for each shift. In 2011, a new chief reissued General Order A–13.1, reducing the minimum staffing requirement…

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Arbitrator Rejects Proposal To Remove Lieutenants From Bargaining Unit

Baltimore County, Maryland and Lodge 4 of the Fraternal Order of Police (FOP) bargain under a local collective bargaining code. One provision of the code defines the rand-and-file law enforcement collective bargaining unit as including lieutenants. Notwithstanding the code provision, the County made a bargaining proposal to the FOP to remove lieutenants from the bargaining unit. When the FOP refused to agree, the matter ended up in arbitration. For…

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Firefighter Union Did Not Engage In Unauthorized Practice Of Law

The Town of Little Compton, Rhode Island and the Little Compton Firefighters Local 3957 are parties to a collective bargaining agreement. In the CBA, the parties agreed to submit all grievances to arbitration rather than resort to the courts. On February 11, 2009, the Union filed two grievances against the Town, alleging that the Town had violated the CBA by failing to maintain certain minimum staffing levels and by…

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