The Second Department, reversing Supreme Court, determined the issue whether the village police were entitled to additional compensation for work during the early days of the COVID-19 pandemic is arbitrable:
Where the relevant arbitration provision is broad, a court “should merely determine whether there is a reasonable relationship between the subject matter of the dispute and the general subject matter of the CBA [collective bargaining agreement]” … . If such a relationship exists, “the court should rule the matter arbitrable, and the arbitrator will then make a more exacting interpretation of the precise scope of the substantive provisions of the CBA, and whether the subject matter of the dispute fits within them” … .
… [T]he Village’s petition was grounded on its contention that the dispute in this case is not arbitrable because article V, § 4 of the CBA provides for additional compensation when the mayor of the Village declares “a holiday for Village employees due to an emergency,” and no such declaration was made by the mayor here. The petition further asserted that arbitration would be against public policy because the “members of the PBA are seeking to extract a benefit to which they clearly are not entitled and which is not contained in their contract.” These contentions are without merit, since the applicability of article V, § 4 of the CBA does not affect the arbitrability of the dispute, but only the merits of the dispute, and the merits are to be determined by the arbitrator and not by the courts … . Matter of Incorporated Vil. of Floral Park v Floral Park Police Benevolent Assn., 2022 NY Slip Op 06481, Second Dept 11-16-22
Practice Point: Whether a matter is arbitrable is separate and distinct from whether the dispute has merit, which is determined by the arbitrator.