February 6, 2018

There is no public policy bar to arbitrating a grievance concerning compensation to be paid to employees performing duties that constitute "out-of-title" work

There is no public policy bar to arbitrating a grievance concerning compensation to be paid to employees performing duties that constitute "out-of-title" work
Matter of City of Watertown (Watertown Professional Firefighters' Assn. Local 191), 2018 NY Slip Op 00743, Appellate Division, Fourth Department

In its grievance and demand for arbitration, Watertown Professional Firefighters' Assn. Local 191 [Local 191] alleged that the City of Watertown [Watertown] violated the parties' collective bargaining agreement [CBA] with respect to the assignment and compensation of firefighters who performed out-of-title work as Acting Captains. Supreme Court denied Watertown's Article 75 petition to permanently stay the arbitration of Local 191's grievance.

The Appellate Division sustained Supreme Court's ruling, rejecting Watertown's claim that that arbitration of the grievance was contrary to public policy and, or, certain provisions of Watertown's City Charter with respect to the authority of the City Manager in such matters.

As a general proposition, said the court, arbitration of an out-of-title work dispute is not contrary to public policy, citing County of Rockland v Rockland County Unit of Rockland County Local of Civ. Serv. Empls. Assn., 74 AD2d 812, affd for reasons stated 53 NY2d 741]

Further, the Appellate Division opined that arbitration of the out-of-title work dispute was not inconsistent with the authority of the City Manager to approve expenditures of Watertown's funds or to act as administrative head of the Watertown Fire Department.

Concluding that the parties agreed to arbitrate contract grievances, the Appellate Division ruled that the dispute concerning out-of-title work "is reasonably related to the general subject matter of the CBA."

In so doing, the court rejected Watertown's argument that the arbitration of the out-of-title work grievance should be stayed because compensation for such work falls within the meaning of salary,' which is expressly excluded from the CBA's definition of grievance.'"

The decision is posted on the Internet at:

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