Arbitrator to determine if contract clauses alleged in a grievance involve substantive contract provisions
Matter of Onondaga-Cortland-Madison Bd. of Coop. Educ. Servs. (Onondaga-Cortland-Madison BOCES Federation of Teachers, 2016 NY Slip Op 00796, Appellate Division, Fourth Department
Onondaga-Cortland-Madison Bd. of Coop. Educ. Servs. [BOCES] initiated an Article 75 proceeding seeking a permanent stay of arbitration of a grievance that alleged that BOCES violated certain provisions of relevant collective bargaining agreement (CBA) by changing the prescription copay benefit for its retirees. Supreme Court denied the petition and granted the cross-petition of the Onondaga-Cortland-Madison BOCES Fedn. of Teachers [Federation] to compel arbitration. The Appellate Division affirmed Supreme Court’s ruling.
The Appellate Division rejected BOCES’ contention that the matter was not arbitrable because the CBA provisions applied to the employees and not to retirees, and thus that there is no reasonable relationship between the copay benefit for retirees and the general subject matter of the respective CBAs.
Citing Village of Kenmore [Kenmore Club Police Benevolent Association, 114 AD3d 1185, (leave to appeal denied, 23 NY3d 903), the court explained that the issues concerning [the Federation’s] relationship to retired employees and the issues concerning  whether retirees are covered by the grievance procedure and  whether the clauses of the contract[s] support the grievance “are matters involving the scope of the substantive contractual provisions and, as such, are for the arbitrator" to resolve.
The Appellate Division said that it was “well settled that the court must conduct a two-part analysis in determining whether an issue is subject to arbitration pursuant to a CBA.” The first test: is there any statutory, constitutional or public policy prohibition against arbitration of the grievance. The second test: "is there a reasonable relationship between the subject matter of the dispute and the general subject matter of the CBA.
Unanimously denying its appeal, the Appellate Division noted that BOCES “correctly concedes that the second test considered in the analysis is at issue here.”
The decision is posted on the Internet at: