Alleged violations of a "Memorandum of Understanding" to a Taylor Law agreement may not be subject to contract grievance procedures
Pine Plains CSD v Federation of Teachers, 248 A.D.2d 612
It is not unusual for parties to a collective bargaining agreement to agree to provisions set out in a “supplemental agreement” or to sign a “memorandum of understanding” in the course of collective bargaining pursuant to the Taylor Law.
Typically this device is used to set out provisions that although they have been agreed upon, for some reason, one or both of the parties do not wish to have the item set out in the collective bargaining agreement. In other instances, the supplemental agreement or memorandum of understanding is used to explain or modify a term or contract provision contained in the agreement or provide something after negotiations have been completed.
The Pine Plains Central School District case considers a significant issue: how does a party resolve a dispute concerning a provision contained in a supplemental agreement or in a memorandum of understanding?
The case arose when the Pine Plains Federation of Teachers demanded that its grievance concerning an alleged violation of a provision contained in a “supplemental memorandum of agreement” between the parties be submitted to arbitration in accordance with the arbitration procedure set out in the collective bargaining agreement in chief between the District and the Federation.
The District won a stay of arbitration of the alleged violation on the grounds that the supplement did not contain an arbitration clause nor was the contract grievance/arbitration procedure incorporated by reference into the supplement agreement.
According to the ruling by the Appellate Division, unless there is an arbitration process specifically set out in a supplement to a collective bargaining agreement or a memorandum of understanding, or the supplement or memorandum specifically states that the collective bargaining agreement in chief's arbitration procedure will be used to resolve disputes arising under it, a party cannot demand that the issue be submitted to arbitration as a matter of right.
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