Many workers have been whipsawed by a pandemic. Those fortunate enough to have continued employment may find themselves at increase exposure to the health emergency directly and indirectly. These essential workers include school bus drivers whose job requires that they interact with many individuals, including co-workers, students, and parents. And, when these same workers, laboring under increased hazards, are exposed to a deadly virus, some employers cruelly respond with an unpaid suspension.
On June 1, an arbitrator ruled in favor of UFCW, Local 1445 that a St. Vincent Hospital employee should be reinstated due to the Hospital's failure to follow its own progressive discipline policy. Pyle Rome partner Terry Coles represented the Union in the successful arbitration.
The Boston Police Superior Officers Federation collective bargaining agreement requires that the City of Boston distribute detail assignments first amongst the supervisors who work in the area of the assignment. The City followed this protocol during the contentious National Grid Strike/Lockout of 2018.
On May 20, 2021, the Bristol Count Superior Court upheld an arbitration decision on behalf of USW, Local 9517 against the Town of Seekonk. Pyle Rome attorney Al Gordon O'Connell represented the Union at arbitration and in Court. Since a Court's power to overturn an arbitration award is "extremely limited," the Court's ruling is not surprising, but is certainly reassuring for unions representing municipal employees that state courts will not allow municipal employers to evade their contractual obligations.
On May 17, a neutral arbitrator ordered UMass Memorial Medical Center (UMMMC) to stop using contractors to perform certain food-service work in hospital cafeterias. The case was brought by UFCW, Local 1445, which represents the UMass Memorial workers. Pyle Rome partner Terry Coles represented the Union in the matter and secured the victory.
On April 22, 2021, a neutral arbitrator ordered Macy's to stop using its "Scan and Pay" mobile app in store departments where unionized workers earn commissions for their sales. The case was brought by UFCW, Local 1445 on behalf of represented employees in Boston, Braintree, Natick, Peabody, and Saugus, Mass. and in Warwick, Rhode Island. Pyle Rome attorney Alex Robertson represented the Union in the case.
When parties put new language in a collective bargaining agreement, what they say (or don't say) to each other during bargaining can be the decisive factor in interpreting the contract. Relying on that interpretive principle, the IBEW System Council T-9 and Pyle Rome partner Al Gordon O'Connell convinced a neutral arbitrator to order Consolidated Communications, Inc. (CCI) to reinstate the previously existing rule that all work on Sunday is counted as overtime.
"Final and binding arbitration" is a fundamental and uniform component of collective bargaining agreements.It That guarantees that disputes can be resolved relatively quickly and without tying up the parties in multiple appeals. Yet employers, with alarming frequency, defy these written promises by arguing that arbitrators lack authority to resolve disputes about terms of the collective bargaining agreement. A neutral arbitrator soundly rejected the Town of Watertown's claim that the Union cannot enforce the CBA's "just cause" protections for firefighters.
On March 8, 2021, an arbitrator ordered the Massachusetts Department of Transportation (MassDOT) to vacate a promotion and conduct a new review of the applicants because the Department failed to consider the applicants' work history and seniority as required by the collective bargaining agreement. The case was brought by United Steelworkers, Local 5696, and Pyle Rome partner Al Gordon O'Connell represented the Union at arbitration.
On March 8, 2021, the Commonwealth Employment Relations Board (CERB) ruled in favor of SEIU, Local 509 (Local 509), finding that the Commonwealth of Massachusetts (Commonwealth) violated the law when it failed to give Local 509 notice and an opportunity to bargain before MassHealth managers began secretly listening in on phone calls between MassHealth employees and members of the public. The CERB ordered that MassHealth stop listening in on calls until it engages in good faith bargaining with Local 509.