Arbitrator, Not Court, Determines Whether Grievance Is Timely

In June 2012, the Village of Tequesta, Florida terminated Officer John Cox’s employment. A collective bargaining agreement between Cox’s union and the Village provided for termination “for just cause.” The agreement set forth a three-step grievance and arbitration procedure to be followed in the event an employee challenged his or her termination. When the Village refused to process Cox’s grievance to arbitration, he brought a lawsuit seeking to compel…

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Failure To Act In Timely Fashion Amounts To Waiver Of Union’s Bargaining Rights

The obligation to collectively bargain usually requires an employer to negotiate over changes it wants to make in policies and procedures during the term of a contract if those changes either concern or impact a topic that is mandatorily negotiable under the law. Three exceptions exist to this “continuing duty to bargain”: If the union has waived the right to bargain over the change by agreeing to contract terms…

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Union Misses Deadlines, Loses 4% Raise

In 2010, Local 776 of the Teamsters Union was elected to represent police officers working for the Borough of Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, replacing the Gettysburg Police Officers Association. Local 776 began bargaining with the Borough, and proposed wage increases for 2011, 2012, and 2013. When no agreement was reached, an arbitrator awarded 4% wage increases for 2011 and 2012, and a 3.99% wage increase for 2013. The Borough challenged the…

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Timeliness Defects Must Be Raised Early In Grievance Procedure

The Madison Township, Michigan Fire Fighters Union filed a grievance challenging the Fire Department’s decision to hire a temporary worker to replace a bargaining unit paramedic who was using extended sick leave. The Township contended that the grievance was not arbitrable because it had not been filed in a timely manner. An arbitrator rejected the Township’s “timeliness” argument. Citing well-established arbitration rules, the Arbitrator ruled that employers must raise…

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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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