On August 4, 2023, the Commonwealth Employment Relations Board (CERB) reversed the findings of an investigator and ordered a hearing on allegations that the Town of Acushnet denied wage increases to an entire bargaining unit of employees in retaliation for their seeking union representation. Pyle Rome attorney Jill Bertrand is handling the case for the union.
On June 23, 2023, a neutral arbitrator handed SENA, Local 9158 another in an unbroken string of arbitration victories going back more than three years. The victory came in a dispute over out-of-grade pay -- a kind of case the Union has not lost in arbitration since at least 2016. Pyle Rome attorney Al Gordon O'Connell prosecuted the case for the Union.
After more than five years of litigation, a neutral arbitrator has remedied the City of Boston's violation of contract language concerning detail rates paid to Boston police officers. The Arbitrator's remedial award, as recommended by Attorney Patrick Bryant, results in increases of $10-to-$21 per hour based upon rank, and represents the first increase in compensation since 2019.
On June 8, 2023, a neutral arbitrator handed a solid victory to SENA, Local 9158 in a dispute with the City of Boston about third-party overtime opportunities. Pyle Rome attorney Jillian M. Bertrand represented the Union in the successful arbitration.
Some employers apparently think they can dilute the strength of a bargaining unit, and avoid their legal obligations to a union, simply by creating a new title to perform duties or functions long performed by a bargaining unit position. The attached arbitration Award involving the United Steelworkers Local 9427 affirms that regardless of how you name a new position, if it walks like a bargaining unit position and talks like a bargaining unit position, it's a bargaining unit position.
What happens when an employer changes a long-standing past practice that is not covered by the collective bargaining agreement? You can certainly file an unfair labor practice charge with the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) alleging that the employer failed to bargain in good faith, but sometimes you can also succeed in arbitrating a grievance over the matter.
On May 16, 2023, an arbitrator awarded a solid victory to UFCW, Local 1445 in a case regarding an employee whose transfer to a career-advancing position was unfairly and inappropriately scuttled by her supervisor. The case was argued for the Union by Pyle Rome attorney Al Gordon O'Connell.
Employers know that arbitrators are reluctant to reinstate union employees found to have committed theft, and that is why employers frequently accuse employees of "theft" or fraud" to intimidate unions from challenging the discipline. UNITE HERE Local 26 and Attorney Hykel were not easily intimidated.
A fundamental component of union collective bargaining agreements is a requirement that all discipline be supported by "just cause." As shown by the UNITE HERE Local 26's recent arbitration victory over, just cause includes a requirement that discipline be consistent across employees. Consistency is necessary to ensure that employers do not pick favorites or unfairly target employees even when the discipline is largely the same.
On May 3, 2023, the Commonwealth Employee Relations Board issued a ruling upholding the state regulation that allows unions to block elections -- including decertification elections -- when the employer has committed significant unfair labor practices that might impact the outcome of the election. This case of first impression was successfully argued by Pyle Rome attorney Alex Robertson on behalf of UFCW, Local 1459.