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June 1, 2012

Changing the employees’ tours of duty and work schedules alleged a violation of the employer’s duty to bargain in good faith

Changing the employees’ tours of duty and work schedules alleged a violation of the employer’s duty to bargain in good faith
Matter of the Town of Fishkill, Decisions of the Public Employment Relations Board, U-27331, U-27568

The Board affirmed a decision of an ALJ dismissing a portion of an improper practice charge filed by PBA alleging that the Town of Fishkill (Town) violated §§209-a.1(d) and (e) of the Public Employees’ Fair Employment Act (Act) when the Town changed the tours of duty and work schedules of two PBA officers thereby reducing their total weekly hours of work.

The Board rejected, as meritless, the PBA’s assertion that the ALJ misconstrued the allegations of the charge with the Board citing to the specific allegations of the charge.

The Board also rejected PBA’s claim that the ALJ erred in her conclusion regarding the number of hours worked by the two PBA officers noting that the evidence presented concerning the respective length of tours and workweeks was incomplete and confusing, at best.

Finally, the Board affirmed the ALJ’s conclusion that the Town had satisfied its duty to bargaining under the Act.

Due to the fact that the relevant contractual terms could reasonably be interpreted to have more than one meaning, the Board considered parol evidence in the record in determining that the Town satisfied its duty to negotiate the at-issue subject. 

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