Arbitrator Agrees with Attorney Patrick Bryant that City of Boston Violated Collective Bargaining Agreement on Distribution of Details

May 17, 2021

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.

But in the middle of this labor strife, the City made certain exclusively available to a single specialty unit, instead of prioritizing officers in the district where the work occured. The City could not articulate why it made certain work exclusive to this group of officers. In fact, the City never presented a witness involved in the decisionmaking.

As Attorney Patrick Bryant successfully argued, the Boston Police Commissioner is not above the law and must abide by collectively bargained procedures on extra work assignments, especially where he could not show special needs or training existed. This case is an important reminder that assertions of management rights, even within public safety, are insufficient by themselves to override collectively bargained terms and conditions.