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May 02, 2014

Employee benefits available to retirees set out in a "memorandum of agreement" to a collective bargaining agreement


Employee benefits available to retirees set out in a "memorandum of agreement" to a collective bargaining agreement
Port Auth. of N.Y. & N.J. v Local Union No. 3, 2014 NY Slip Op 03025, Appellate Division, First Department

A Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) supplementing the collective bargaining agreement between the parties provided that "During the term of the Agreement [June 4, 2002 through June 3, 2006], employees in the covered membership will continue to be eligible to receive employee commutation passes and personal passes as per the current practice."

As to retired negotiating unit employees, the relevant portion of the MOA included the following provision: "Retired employees . . . receive the same allowance to which they would be entitled if their Port Authority service was not interrupted."

An arbitrator ruled that this language in the MOA supported Local Union #3’s contention that the Port Authority may not unilaterally eliminate the "E-ZPass" benefit, i.e., free passage at Port Authority bridges and tunnels, for retirees. 

In addressing the Port Authority's challenge to the arbitration award the Appellate Division said that the arbitrator did not "give a totally irrational construction to the contractual provisions in dispute."

Thus, said the court, the arbitrator’s ruling did not constitute a remaking of the collective bargaining agreement between the parties.

The decision is posted on the Internet at:
http://www.nycourts.gov/reporter/3dseries/2014/2014_03025.htm

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