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Friday, July 12, 2013

Res judicata bars the granting of a wage increase awarded in a second arbitration after the initial arbitration award addressing the same issue involving the same parties was vacated by the Court of Appeals “in its entirety”

Res judicata bars the granting of a wage increase awarded in a second arbitration after the initial arbitration award addressing the same issue involving the same parties was vacated by the Court of Appeals “in its entirety”
Buffalo Professional Firefighters Assn., Inc., IAFF Local 282 v Buffalo Fiscal Stability Auth., 2013 NY Slip Op 02931, Appellate Division, Fourth Department

The Buffalo Fiscal Stability Authority [BFSA] prohibited the City of Buffalo from complying with an arbitration award known as “Rinaldo I” that set a wage increase for the collective bargaining agreement. The Rinaldo I arbitration award was vacated in its entirety by the Court of Appeals.*

Subsequently an arbitration award involving the same parties designated “Rinaldo II” was issued by the arbitrator. Rinaldo II provided for a wage increase with respect to the collective bargaining agreement in effect from July 1, 2002 to June 30, 2004 between Local 282 and the City. BFSA determined that the wage freeze applied to the wages awarded in Rinaldo II and adopted a resolution, Resolution 11-05, that froze the wages awarded in Rinaldo II..

Local 282 filed an Article 78 petition challenging the authority of BFSA prohibiting the City from effecting the wage increase awarded by the arbitrator in Rinaldo II. Supreme Court dismissed Local 282’s petition.

The Appellate Division affirmed the lower court’s ruling, explaining that “Supreme Court properly determined that the instant proceeding is barred by res judicata.”

Although Local 282’s petition challenged a resolution of the BFSA that applied to Rinaldo II rather than Rinaldo I, the Appellate Division ruled that both arbitrations were between the same parties in interest and concern the same cause of action, i.e., the application of the wage freeze to wage rates for the same CBA.” Thus, said the court, “the instant action therefore is barred by res judicata.…


The decision is posted on the Internet at:
http://www.nycourts.gov/reporter/3dseries/2013/2013_02931.htm

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