Longevity-Pay Grievance Not Arbitrable Under Terms of Collective Bargaining Agreement/Analytical Criteria Explained
The Second Department determined that, under the terms of the collective bargaining agreement (CBA), the grievance (re: longevity pay) was not arbitrable. The court outlined the analytical criteria:
“The determination of whether a dispute between a public sector employer and employee is arbitrable is subject to [a] two-prong test” … . “Initially, the court must determine whether there is any statutory, constitutional, or public policy prohibition against arbitrating the grievance” … . “If there is no prohibition against arbitrating, the court must examine the parties’ collective bargaining agreement and determine if they in fact agreed to arbitrate the particular dispute” … .
Here, the County did not contend that arbitration of the subject matter of the dispute was prohibited by law or public policy. Thus, the only issue is whether the parties agreed to arbitrate the particular dispute … .
“Unlike general labor disputes in the private sector involving arbitration, the intent to arbitrate of parties to a collective bargaining agreement in the field of public employment may not be presumed” … . “Indeed . . . it must be taken, in the absence of clear, unequivocal agreement to the contrary, that the [parties to a collective bargaining agreement] did not intend to refer differences which might arise to the arbitration forum” … .
Here, contrary to the Union’s contention, the CBA did not broadly provide for the arbitration of any grievance that may arise under the CBA … . Rather, as the Supreme Court correctly concluded, the CBA limited the availability of arbitration to specifically enumerated matters … . Matter of County of Rockland v Corr. Officers Benevolent Assn. of Rockland County, Inc. 2015 NY Slip Op 01798, 2nd Dept 3-4-15