Firefighters’ Past Practice Grievance Subject To Arbitration

The collective bargaining agreement between the City of Orange, Texas and the Orange Association of Firefighters contains a grievance procedure with fairly standard wording. The contract defines as a grievance: “Any controversy between the City and the Union or any employee concerning the interpretation, enforcement, or application of any provision of this Agreement, or concerning any of the terms or conditions of employment contained in this Agreement.” When the…

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Q & A

From Oklahoma Question: If a firefighter agrees to voluntarily work overtime, can he/she pay someone else cash to cover their overtime shift and collect overtime from the City when they actually didn’t work it? Answer: There’s little case law out there to provide guidance. Our guess is that if the employees engage in such a transaction without the employer’s knowledge, they would likely be subject to disciplinary charges and…

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Firefighter’s Past Practice Claim Subject To Arbitration

Homero Mojica is a firefighter for the City of Laredo, Texas, and is represented by International Association of Fire Fighters Local 1390. In its 2009-2010 budget, the City did not allocate funds for the purchase of all City employees’ accumulated sick leave. Up until that year, the City had regularly bought back unused sick leave from the firefighters. Mojica filed a grievance complaining of the City’s failure to buy…

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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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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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City Not Allowed To Change Days Off For Vice Unit

Since 2004, police officers assigned to the City of Columbus, Ohio Division of Police Vice Unit have worked a schedule with Thursday and Friday off. When a deputy chief learned of the schedule in 2008, he ordered that the Unit be returned to its previous schedule, which had Tuesday and Wednesday off. The Fraternal Order of Police (FOP), representing officers in the Division, challenged the order in arbitration. An…

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Employer Not Allowed To Withdraw Take-Home Vehicles

Since the 1970s, police officers working for the City of Port Huron, Michigan have been assigned to take-home vehicles. When the City issued a new order eliminating the take-home vehicle policy, the Police Officers Association of Michigan, representing the officers, sought arbitration over the issue. An arbitrator sided with the Association and ordered the restoration of the past practice. Important in the Arbitrator’s decision was that the City had…

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Holiday Pay Not Limited By Length Of Shift

The collective bargaining agreement between the City of Key West, Florida and the Florida Police Benevolent Association (PBA) contains a clause calling for premium pay for police officers assigned to work on holidays. The contract language refers to holiday “shifts.” For 16 years, the City’s payroll department had limited the amount of holiday premium pay to eight hours per day, without regard to the length of the shift worked…

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Detective Entitled To Pay For Using Personal Vehicle Off Duty

The collective bargaining agreement between the Town of Warminster, Pennsylvania and the Warminster Township Police Benevolent Association (PBA) contains a clause requiring the Town to reimburse employees for the use of their personal vehicles and pay other expenses associated with official business. For many years, the Town had applied the clause to allow reimbursement for things such as gas mileage and meals associated with off-duty court appearances and training….

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Timeliness Objections Must Be Raised Early In Grievance Procedure

The Fire Department of the Town of Stoughton, Massachusetts contracted with a laundry service to wash not only various linens and towels used by firefighters, but also firefighters’ uniforms. After receiving a number of complaints from firefighters about the quality of the service, the Town determined that the contractor was not separating uniforms from the towels and linens before washing them, resulting in potential contamination. The Town terminated 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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Police Department Has Right To Void Promotional List

When a promotional list for the position of sergeant in the City of Portsmouth, New Hampshire Police Department was reduced to three candidates, the Department voided the promotional list and began a new testing process. The Portsmouth Police Patrolman’s Union challenged the Department’s decision in arbitration, arguing that the voiding of a promotional list when there were more than two candidates on the list breached a longstanding past practice….

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