Commission Permits Arbitration Over Failure to Pay Salary Increments

By Ira W. Mintz, Esq.

County of Morris and Morris County Sheriff’s and PBA Local 198

In P.E.R.C. No. 2013-19, the Commission denied the request of the County of Morris and Morris County Sheriff’s Office for a restraint of binding arbitration of a grievance filed by PBA Local 298. The grievance asserts that the employer violated the parties’ collective negotiations agreement when it did not pay salary increments to several correction officers at the commencement of the next salary year.  Consistent with well-established case law, the Commission held that a grievance asserting that an employee is entitled to advancement on a salary guide is mandatorily negotiable and therefore legally arbitrable.  Although declining to restrain arbitration, the Commission noted that allowing the grievance to proceed to arbitration simply permitted the PBA to make its argument to an arbitrator and did not guarantee that its claim would be upheld. The Commission also noted that it did not deprive the employer from availing itself of post-arbitration challenges if the grievance were upheld.

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