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November 21, 2012

Reassignment of “exclusive duties” being performed by negotiating unit employees to non-unit employees

Reassignment of “exclusive duties” being performed by negotiating unit employees to non-unit employees
Stony Point Police Benevolent Association v Town of Stony Point, PERB Case #U-29118

Attorney Brian D. Nugent* advised NYPPL of a November 14, 2012 ruling by the Public Employment Relations Board [PERB] that considered “exclusivity of unit work” in the context of the employer's reassigning certain duties and functions being performed by employees in a negotiating unit to non-unit employees.

The Stony Point Police Benevolent Association [PBA] filed an improper practice charge with PERB contending that the Town of Stony Point violated §209-a.1(d) of the Civil Service Law [The Taylor Law] when it unilaterally reassigned certain security duties that had been performed exclusively by employees in the  negotiating unit represented by the PBA to non-unit employees.

PERB agreed with the Town that the parties' past practice established a discernible boundary between the work assignment at issue: the reassignment of certain security duties being performed by PBA unit members at the Town's Justice Court to non-unit part-time personnel who were not sworn officers.**

PERB, noting that the duties at issue were transferred from sworn police officers to civilian employees, ruled that under its precedents “it is well-settled that an employer’s civilianization of uniformed services constitutes a de facto change in job qualifications.”

PERB then considered the "balancing test" set out in its decision in Niagara Frontier Transportation Authority, 18 PERB 3083.

Finding that there had been a significant change in the "job qualifications" with respect to the "at-issue" duties, PERB said that the only loss suffered by the PBA and its unit members was the “loss of at-issue work” in contrast to a loss in the number of positions in the unit or a loss of unit member benefits.

PERB's conclusion: the Town had not violated §209-a.1(d) of the Taylor Law, explaining that the Town’s interests associated with the civilianization of the at-issue work outweigh the interests of the unit employees.

* Brian D. Nugent, Esq., Feerick Lynch MacCartney Pllc, http://www.flmpllc.com, represented the Town in this proceeding. 

** See Criminal Procedures Law §1.20.34

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