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City ‘Interfered’ With Union By Shutting Down Fire Department

Local 4725 of the IAFF represents the five full-time firefighters in the City of Brainerd, Minnesota. In 2010, the City experienced a budget deficit following a decrease in both property tax values and state aid. The City attempted to restructure its fire department by replacing its full-time firefighter positions and their duties with paid on-call (POC) firefighters, who receive nominal compensation and limited benefits. The City Council passed a…

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When Must An Employer Bargain Over The ‘Effects’ Of A Management Right?

When an employer wants to make a change in past practices, there are generally three possibilities with respect to whether it must negotiate with a union: (1) The decision can involve a negotiable topic – typically, wages, hours, or working conditions – and the employer must negotiate about the decision before making it; (2) the decision can involve a non-negotiable topic, but the decision could have “effects” or impact…

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Even With Safety Clause, Contract Does Not Prevent Employer From Restricting Overtime

The collective bargaining agreement between Genesee County, Michigan and the Police Officer Association of Michigan has a safety clause, providing “the Employer will always consider the personal safety of the employees in establishing operational procedures.” The contract also gives the employer “the right to determine, establish and modify scheduling and manpower requirements, including, but not limited to the number of shifts, the starting and quitting times for all shifts…

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Comprehensive ‘Status Quo’ Opinion From Florida Court

The collective bargaining agreements between the City of Gainesville, Florida and the labor unions representing police, fire, and other employees do not discuss health insurance benefits for retirees. Until 1995, the City paid 100% of retirees’ health insurance premiums for individual coverage including all premium increases occurring after retirement. In 1995, the City reduced the percentage, but continued to pay a fixed percentage of retirees’ insurance premiums, including the…

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Employer Can Assign Officers On Light Duty To Different Schedule

The collective bargaining agreement between the Kings Point Police Benevolent Association and the Village of Kings Point, New York has an “hours of work” clause that mandates a 12-hour rotating shift as the “sole schedule” for members of the bargaining unit. When a police officer who suffered a work-related injury that disabled him for more than three years returned to work, the Village assigned him to a four-day, eight-hour…

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Transfer Of Troopers A Management Right

Members of the New Hampshire Division of State Police are assigned by the Division to road patrol within six troop areas, Troops A through F, throughout the state. Section 21.7 of the collective bargaining agreement between the State and the New Hampshire Troopers Association provides: “Any employee may live within a town within a patrol area to which she/he is assigned or within a reasonable distance from his/her assigned…

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Transfer Of Troopers A Management Right

Members of the New Hampshire Division of State Police are assigned by the division to road patrol within six troop areas, Troops A through F, throughout the state. Section 21.7 of the collective bargaining agreement between the State and the New Hampshire Troopers Association provides: “Any employee may live within a town within a patrol area to which she/he is assigned or within a reasonable distance from his/her assigned…

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Sleeping Officer Properly Denied Standby Pay

The collective bargaining agreement between Lodge 9 of the Fraternal Order of Police and the City of Grove City, Ohio calls for “court standby pay” when officers are required to remain in ready status to report for court testimony. On June 26, 2007, a graveyard shift officer had a “court standby” subpoena for 10:00 a.m. The officer fell asleep, and did not respond to telephone calls seeking his appearance….

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City Wrongfully Reassigns Work Outside Of Firefighter Bargaining Unit

The City of Reno, Nevada created a new position titled “laborer (equipment parts runner)” to pick up equipment and parts for the Reno Fire Department’s Fleet Maintenance Shop. Local 731 of the International Association of Fire Fighters, which represents the Department’s firefighters, filed a grievance contending that the creation of the new position was impermissible subcontracting. An arbitrator upheld Local 731’s grievance. The City argued that its actions fell…

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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…

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New Disciplinary Standards Must Be Negotiated

Employers who operate in a collective bargaining environment are restricted in their ability to make changes in past practices in the areas that are “mandatory” for collective bargaining. Mandatory subjects of bargaining are typically set by state statute, and are usually captured by some version of the rubric “wages, hours, and terms and conditions of employment.” Where a topic is a mandatory subject of bargaining, the employer is not…

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Officers’ Failure To ‘Punch In’ Does Not Negate Roll Call Pay

The Middlesex, Massachusetts Sheriff’s Office began a system of requiring officers to “punch in and out” of work at the beginning and end of their shifts. The employer issued officers identification cards which could be used for the “punch in” process. The employer also began not paying officers the roll call pay called for by the collective bargaining agreement when they failed to punch in or out. Under the…

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Contract Can Control Which Firefighter Is Held Over

The Fire Chief of the Town of Southbridge, Massachusetts issued a memorandum stating that “personnel are in holdover status until the duty shift officer relieves them of duty.” Local 2194 of the International Association of Fire Fighters challenged the memorandum in arbitration. The Town’s primary argument was that the grievance was not subject to arbitration because the ability to hold over employees was a management right. An arbitrator saw…

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