Arbitration Not So Binding In Rhode Island

With few exceptions, when a collective bargaining agreement says that an arbitrator’s decision is final and binding, courts will say just that and uphold an arbitrator’s decision even if they thoroughly disagree with the result. But one state – Rhode Island – treats arbitrations, or at least disciplinary arbitrations in law enforcement agencies, completely differently. For Rhode Island courts, those arbitrations are much more like advisory opinions, not binding…

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First Thursday, June 2015

Cases discussed in this month’s podcast include: Illinois Supreme Court Strikes Down Pension Reform Legislation, In re Pension Reform Litigation, 2015 IL 118585 (Ill. 2015) San Bernardino Allowed To Cancel Contract With Firefighters’ Union, May Privatize Department, In re City of San Bernardino, California, 2015 WL 2153448 (C.D. Cal. 2015) Sheriff Ordered To Sign Collective Bargaining Agreement, Sheriff of Lee County, Order No. 15U-098 (Fla. PERC 2015) Political Patronage…

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Court Overturns Wage Increase For Camden Firefighters

Judicial responsibility or a court not understanding what “binding” arbitration means? The characterization of a recent opinion from an appeals court in New Jersey may depend largely on one’s perspective. The case involved a pay raise ordered by an arbitrator for the firefighters in Camden, New Jersey. There’s no question Camden’s financial situation is as dire as it gets. For fiscal year 2010, the City’s total budget was $185…

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Code Provision Limiting Binding Arbitration Trumped By County’s Charter

In 2002, the voters of Anne Arundel County, Maryland adopted an amendment to the County Charter calling for the resolution by binding arbitration of collective bargaining impasses with the County’s law enforcement employees and firefighters. In 2003, the County Council adopted an ordinance implementing that Charter provision. However, in 2011, the County Council amended the 2003 ordinance to provide that binding arbitration did not require the Council “to appropriate…

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Philadelphia Corrections Officers Entitled To Binding Arbitration

Under Pennsylvania law, “where representatives of units of guards at prisons or mental hospitals have reached an impasse in collective bargaining,” the final stage of the negotiations process is binding arbitration. District Council 33 of the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME) represents Philadelphia’s prison guards and other City correctional employees. When AFSCME demanded interest arbitration over its contract, the City refused to proceed. The City…

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Deputy Sheriffs’ Union Severed In Two

Michigan’s collective bargaining law prohibits public employees from striking. As a tradeoff for the prohibition against striking in police and fire disputes, the Michigan Legislature created a system of binding arbitration as the last step in the negotiations process. Only certain employees are eligible for arbitration, specifically “employees engaged as policemen, or in fire fighting or subject to the hazards thereof, emergency medical service personnel employed by a police…

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