Arbitrator Sides With Attorney Ian Russell and SEIU 509 in Dispute Over Step Placement for Promoted State Workers
On April 11, 2022, a neutral arbitrator ruled in favor of SEIU, Local 509 and Pyle Rome attorney Ian Russell in a long-simmering dispute relating to the step placement of state workers who are promoted from one position with an educational requirement to another position with a higher educational requirement.
The problem arose due to an ambiguity in the contract language that speaks of educational incentives for employees who have a job that "does not have a degree requirement." The state interpreted this language to mean that employees do not get higher step placement if they are promoted out of a position that does have a degree requirement, even if they are promoted into a position requiring a higher degree - such as an employee with a Bachelors degree being promoted into a position requiring a Masters degree. Though the case was exceedingly close, Attorney Russell convinced the arbitrator that the parties intended the more favorable result when they agreed to this contract language.
The ruling, on behalf of an entire class of state workers, will likely result in well deserved backpay for state workers who bring their education to bear on behalf of the Commonwealth and its residents every day.