By Ira W. Mintz, Esq.
Passaic County Superintendent of Elections and Communications Workers of America, AFL-CIO Local 1032
In June 2009, CWA filed an unfair practice charge alleging that the Passaic County Superintendent of Elections illegally terminated four voting machine technicians in retaliation for their filing grievances and pressing a claim for overtime pay. The parties agreed to hold the charge in abeyance while they proceeded to binding arbitration. CWA prevailed in arbitration; the employer appealed; and the court vacated the arbitration award finding that the Commission has primary jurisdiction over claims of retaliation for protected activity. The case was then re-litigated at PERC and, in May 2011, the Hearing Examiner also found that the terminations were retaliatory. Some 29 months later, the Commission adopted the Hearing Examiner’s recommendation to reinstating the four laid off employees with back pay. P.E.R.C. No. 2014-1.