Contract Dispute Leads To Arbitration, Results Unpleasing To Some

On behalf of The Law Office of Lynnette Ariathurai, A Professional Corporation posted in Contract Disputes on Friday, November 3, 2017.

A contract between police officers and city administrators in another state reached its expiration date last December. Negotiations began, and continued throughout the following summer, but reached an impasse when a contract dispute arose. The situation ultimately led to arbitration, and although city officials are quite happy with the outcome, the same cannot be said for some others. California employers or other officials currently facing contract problems may relate to this case.

Parties involved on both sides of the contract dispute entered multiple sessions with mediators. In the end, a state arbitrator handed down a ruling that city officials say will help keep the community safer and will also make management easier. Union spokespeople say they are not at all happy with the unprecedented changes the ruling has brought to their contract.

The mayor for the New Jersey city said officials were somewhat disappointed the situation had to be resolved through independent arbitration, as the city was able to successfully negotiate contracts with six other unions; however, according to the representative, the police officers' union was not willing to compromise. One who strongly opposes the arbitrator's decision said the ruling is nothing short of a continued attack and unfair treatment against the city's police force. The new contract will not expire until 2020, and affects approximately 700 police officers.

Primarily, the major issues of the dispute (and subsequent arbitrator's ruling) centered on pay raises, vacation days and payments officers typically have received in the past for their court appearances. One of the changes in the new contract states officers will only be paid for court appearances if they are testifying, not if they are defendants. City officials consider it a great success that out of seven negotiated union contracts, the police officers' situation was the only one that necessitated arbitration. California employers who hope to achieve similar results typically rely on experienced legal representation from beginning to end during contract negotiations.

Posted in Contract Disputes

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