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Granting Benefits To Management Employees Can Violate Union’s Rights

The United Chief Officers Association is the exclusive bargaining representative for the 10-13 battalion chiefs in the Contra Costa County Fire District. Although the fire marshal and fire training chief classifications are unrepresented, these positions have traditionally been regarded as lateral peers of the battalion chiefs and received comparable pay and benefits. The District is a separate entity from Contra Costa County; however, the County’s Board of Supervisors serves…

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County Cannot Terminate Widow’s Workers’ Compensation Death Benefit

On December 27, 2010, while working as a Fort Bend County Deputy Sheriff, John Norsworthy swerved to avoid road debris that had fallen off a flatbed delivery truck owned and operated by SBS/Bison Building Materials and driven by Morris Crosby. John suffered fatal injuries. The County initiated workers’ compensation benefits, paying one week of temporary income benefits of $689.47, medical benefits of $215,011.87, and after his death on January…

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No More Free Tolls For New Jersey State Troopers

For many years, the New Jersey Turnpike Authority and the South Jersey Transportation Authority – independent authorities that operate the State’s major toll roads – allowed State Troopers to travel over those roads in their personal vehicles without paying tolls. As a result, troopers were able to commute to and from work without incurring that expense. Nothing in the State’s collective bargaining agreement with the State Troopers Fraternal Association…

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Legally Separated Spouse Entitled To Insurance Benefits

Gregory Malisos retired in 2008 after a 24-year career as a police officer with the Town of Windham, New Hampshire. When he retired, Malisos continued his and his wife’s health insurance coverage through the Town’s participation in the Local Government Center’s Health Trust insurance plan. As part of his retirement, Malisos’s “spouse” was entitled to the medical subsidy “until death or remarriage.” A year after he retired, Malisos and…

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Trooper’s Disability Benefits Do Not Stop With Criminal Conviction

Douglas Merino joined the Washington State Patrol (WSP) in 1978 and served as a trooper until October 11, 1988, when he suffered a herniated disc and injuries to his left neck and left shoulder after being ejected from a patrol vehicle while on duty. As a result of these injuries, Merino was unable to meet the physical requirements for his WSP trooper position and went without pay from 1989…

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Volunteers Do Not Necessarily Become Employees When Benefits Are Provided

Frank Estrada was a reserve police officer for the City of Los Angeles. The City considers reserves to be volunteers, not employees. However, the City does provide workers’ compensation benefits to reserves. For example, in 1995, while on duty, Estrada was involved in a traffic collision and sustained leg and back injuries. In 1996, while on duty, Estrada again was involved in a traffic collision and injured his right…

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How The ‘World Trade Center Presumption’ Works

In the wake of the World Trade Center disaster, the City of New York amended its administrative code to create what is known as the “WTC presumption.” Under the Code, there is a presumption that “any condition or impairment of health caused by a qualifying WTC condition shall be presumptive evidence that it was incurred in the performance and discharge of duty and the natural and proximate result of…

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Officer Not Entitled To Full Holiday Plus Additional Pay For Actual Hours Worked

Matthew Lackey is an officer for the City and County of Denver Police Department. On Sunday, May 29, 2011, Lackey began his regularly scheduled shift at 4 p.m. and concluded that shift at 2 a.m. the following morning on Monday, May 30, 2011. In that year, May 30 was Memorial Day, a recognized holiday pursuant to Article 11.1 of the collective bargaining agreement between Denver and the Denver Police…

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After Deputy’s Death, Court Reverses His Attempt To Change Beneficiaries During Divorce

David Briese was a member of the Montana Sheriffs Retirement System as a result of his employment as a deputy sheriff for Yellowstone County. The System is governed by the Montana Public Employees Retirement Board. In 2001, David designated his wife Erene Briese as his primary beneficiary under the System’s plan. In 2004, David filed a petition for dissolution of marriage. The divorce court issued a standard temporary restraining…

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End Of Contract Benefit Need Not Be Permanent

The County of Hunterdon, New Jersey negotiations separate labor agreements with the Fraternal Order of Police (FOP) for bargaining units of corrections officers and deputy sheriffs. Several years ago, the FOP agreed to the County’s request to end an “incremental salary schedule” with a number of pay steps. In the most recent negotiations, the FOP sought to regain the benefit. When the County refused to agree, an interest arbitrator…

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Heart/Lung Presumption Can Be Limited By Passage Of Time

Patrick McKeown was a firefighter with the City of Mountlake Terrace, Washington. McKeown retired on July 16, 2000, but remained on the payroll until January 12, 2001. In 2006, McKeown was diagnosed with a heart condition – cardiomyopathy – which his physician believed was caused by exposure to a respiratory virus sometime in 2000. Under Washington’s “heart/lung statute,” certain cardiac and respiratory conditions suffered by firefighters are presumed to…

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Absent Contract, No Right To Payment For Sick Leave Upon Termination

A group of former correctional officers for the Cabell County, West Virginia Sheriff’s Office sued the County, seeking payment for their accumulated sick leave. The positions of the corrections officers were terminated in December 2003 when the Cabell County Jail closed, and its prisoners were transferred to the new Western Regional Jail under the direction of the Regional Jail Authority. Although many jail employees obtained employment at the new…

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Firefighters On Injured Status Entitled To Accrue Vacation Leave

When an arbitrator construed the collective bargaining agreement between the City of Worcester, Massachusetts and Local 1009 of the International Association of Fire Fighters to allow firefighters on injured-on-duty (IOD) status to continue to accrue vacation leave, the City challenged the Arbitrator’s decision in the Massachusetts Court of Appeals. Rejecting the City’s argument that the Arbitrator pulled his decision “out of thin air,” the Court upheld the arbitration award….

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Arbitrator Has Authority To Award Pension Credit To Discharged Deputy

Ted Goldstein is a deputy sheriff with the Oakland County, Michigan Sheriff’s Department. Goldstein was accused of misconduct at work and was terminated by the Department. The Oakland County Deputy Sheriff’s Association challenged the termination in arbitration. The Arbitrator found that the most serious allegations of misconduct against Goldstein were false, and he concluded that the employer did not have just cause to terminate Goldstein. The Arbitrator ordered that…

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Fired Police Chief Loses Claim For Unemployment Benefits

The City of Lewiston, Minnesota employed David Kleinschmidt as the Chief of Police from September 2008 to March 5, 2010. In February 2008, Kleinschmidt began his employment with the City as an interim police officer and was subsequently promoted to full-time officer. He then became interim Chief of Police in September 2008 until he was promoted to permanent Chief of Police in November 2008. Kleinschmidt submitted three different resumes…

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Promises From Town Officials Cannot Alter Retirement Benefits

Stephen Ferrucci was hired in 1974 as a police officer with the Town of Middlebury, Connecticut. In 1988, at the age of 38, Ferrucci retired in order to take a job with the Service Employees International Union. In 1995, seven years after he terminated his employment with the Town, Ferrucci spoke with the Town’s finance director about his retirement benefits. The finance director spoke with the Town’s actuary, and…

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Heart-Lung Claim Subject To Arbitration

Robert Shaw was employed as a patrol officer by the Township of Aston, Pennsylvania. Shaw was injured on Christmas Eve, 2001, while on the job. As a result of his temporary injuries, Shaw was eligible for and received benefits pursuant to Pennsylvania’s Heart and Lung Act, a workers’ compensation-type statute that provides for special benefits for law enforcement officers and firefighters. Shaw was also awarded workers’ compensation benefits. In…

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Court Upholds Denial Of Death Benefits To Widow Of Police Officer

Richard Dawson was a police officer for Pennsauken Township, New Jersey. On September 7, 1974, while responding to a burglar alarm call, Officer Dawson lost control of his patrol vehicle on a wet roadway. His vehicle left the road and hit a metal sign pole. Following the accident, Officer Dawson was transported to the hospital in critical condition. As a result of the accident, Officer Dawson suffered from multiple…

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