Past practices and the Taylor Law
Walden PBA v PERB, 263 AD2d 885
The Walden PBA filed an improper practice charge with PERB claiming that the Village of Walden had failed to negotiate in good faith in violation of Section 209-a(1)(d) of the Civil Service Law.
The PBA said that the Walden “unilaterally discontinued certain fringe benefits previously provided to police officers that were on General Municipal Law Section 207-c leave due to injury or illness incurred in the performance of their duties.” It was conceded that the “terminated benefits had previously been provided by the village pursuant to a long-standing past practice.”
The village argued that the “PBA had contractually waived the requirement of collective bargaining as to all past practices,” including the terminated benefits. Walden pointed to what the Appellate Division characterized as the “following unqualified language” in support of its position: “All past practices may be continued at the Village’s discretion.”
Reversing its Administrative Law Judge’s ruling, PERB concluded that the PBA had waived the Village’s obligation to negotiate changes in past practices. As a result, the PBA filed an Article 78 proceeding seeking to annul PERB’s determination.
Although a State Supreme Court justice overturned PERB’s determination, finding that it was not reasonable or rational, the Appellate Division reversed, holding that PERB’s determination represents a rational, supportable interpretation of the parties’ collective bargaining agreement.
In sustaining PERB’s ruling, the Appellate Division pointed out the following key elements:
1. A public employer commits an improper practice by unilaterally changing noncontractual practices concerning existing terms and conditions of employment.
2. An employee organization may release a public employer of its statutory duty to negotiate changes in mandatorily negotiable past practices.
3. A bargained-for waiver satisfies the employer’s bargaining obligation under the Taylor Law.
According to the decision, the parties themselves agreed that the PBA effected a collective bargaining waiver. The dispute centered on the question of whether “PBA waived the Village’s obligation to negotiate changes in ‘[a]ll past practices’” -- the village’s position, ... or “merely waived all past practices pertaining to grievance procedures” -- the PBA position.
The Appellate Division said that “this dispute poses questions involving the interpretation of a collective bargaining agreement which are within PERB’s area of expertise.” Accordingly, PERB’s interpretation is entitled to substantial deference and should be upheld if it is rational, reasonable, legally permissible and is supported by the text of the agreement.
Finding that PERB’s ruling satisfied all three tests, the court upheld PERB’s interpretation of the collective bargaining agreement, commenting that the Board's interpretation was neither arbitrary nor capricious.
Artificial Intelligence [A.I.] is not used, in whole or in part, in the preparation of summaries of judicial and quasi-judicial decisions posted on the Internet by NYPPL.
Subsequent court and administrative rulings, or changes to laws, rules and regulations may have modified or clarified or vacated or reversed the decisions summarized here. Accordingly, these summaries should be Shepardized® or otherwise checked to make certain that the most recent information is being considered by the reader.
THE MATERIAL ON THIS WEBSITE IS FOR INFORMATION ONLY. AGAIN, CHANGES IN LAWS, RULES, REGULATIONS AND NEW COURT AND ADMINISTRATIVE DECISIONS MAY AFFECT THE ACCURACY OF THE INFORMATION PROVIDED IN THIS LAWBLOG. THE MATERIAL PRESENTED IS NOT LEGAL ADVICE AND THE USE OF ANY MATERIAL POSTED ON THIS WEBSITE, OR CORRESPONDENCE CONCERNING SUCH MATERIAL, DOES NOT CREATE AN ATTORNEY-CLIENT RELATIONSHIP.
New York Public Personnel Law Blog Editor Harvey Randall served as Principal Attorney, New York State Department of Civil Service; Director of Personnel, SUNY Central Administration; Director of Research, Governor’s Office of Employee Relations; and Staff Judge Advocate General, New York Guard. Consistent with the Declaration of Principles jointly adopted by a Committee of the American Bar Association and a Committee of Publishers and Associations, the material posted to this blog is presented with the understanding that neither the publisher nor members of the NYPPL staff are providing legal advice to the reader and in the event legal or other expert assistance is needed, the reader is urged to seek such advice from a knowledgeable professional.
Copyright 2009-2023 - Public Employment Law Press. Email: email@example.com.