Appellate Division Affirms Commission’s Staffing/Overtime Decision

Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey and Union of Rutgers Administrators-American Federation of Teachers, Local 1766, AFL-CIO

In P.E.R.C. No. 2014-41, the Commission restrained binding arbitration over the assignment of non-unit members to perform boiler checks in Rutgers’s heating and cooling plants when negotiations unit members are on vacation.  Ignoring precedent cited to it by the Union, including a 1980 Appellate Division decision that also involved Rutgers, the Commission found that this case primarily involved the non-arbitrable issue of staffing levels rather than the arbitrable issue of which Rutgers employees will perform boiler checks when unit employees are out.  The Appellate Division affirmed finding that “the University’s assignment of [non-unit members] to handle boiler checks when [unit members] are out is a matter that implicates its responsibility to spend the public’s funds wisely and efficiently allocate its limited resources.  As for the Union’s contention that PERC’s decision was a departure from other decisions the Commission had issued, and its contention that the Commission failed to engage in the balancing of interests required by the Supreme Court, the Court concluded “that these arguments are without sufficient merit to warrant discussion.”

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