The Long Beach Professional Fire Fighters Association [Union] and the City of Long Beach [City] entered into a collective bargaining agreement [CBA] covering the period from July 1, 2004, through June 30, 2010, and thereafter continued pursuant to the Triborough Law, Civil Service Law § 209-a[e].* Firefighters and any municipal employees assigned to the fire department were covered by the CBA.
City appointed several paramedics, and unilaterally set their terms of employment. Union filed a grievance and, when the grievance was denied, filed a demand for arbitration. City's efforts to stay the arbitration with respect to Union's grievance as related to the paramedics were unsuccessful.**
Ultimately the arbitrator issued an award determining that City violated certain provisions of the CBA when it set contrary terms and conditions of the paramedics' employment. Union commenced this proceeding pursuant to CPLR Article 75 to confirm the arbitration award while City cross-moved pursuant to CPLR 7502(a)(iii) to dismiss the petition or, in the alternative, to reassign the petition to the Justice who presided over the prior proceeding, and to vacate the arbitration award.
Supreme Court granted the Union's petition to confirm the award and denied the City's cross-motion. The City appealed.
The Appellate Division, noting that "Judicial review of arbitration awards is extremely limited", said a court may vacate an arbitrator's award that "violates a strong public policy, is irrational or clearly exceeds a specifically enumerated limitation on the arbitrator's power, citing (Matter of New York City Tr. Auth. v Transport Workers' Union of Am., Local 100, AFL-CIO, 6 NY3d 332, and other decisions. Additionally, the Appellate Division opined "an award may be vacated where 'it exhibits a 'manifest disregard of law'" and the burden is on the movant to establish grounds for vacatur by clear and convincing evidence.
Finding that the City failed to demonstrate by clear and convincing evidence that the arbitration award should be vacated on the grounds that  it was irrational;  exhibited a manifest disregard of the law;  that the arbitrator had engaged in misconduct or  that the award violated public policy, held that Supreme Court had properly granted Union's petition to confirm the arbitration award and had properly denied the City's cross-motion to vacate the award.
Click HERE to access the Appellate Division's decision posted on the Internet.