Secaucus Municipal Utilities Authority and Teamsters Local 11
In P.E.R.C. No. 2018-24, the Commission restrained binding arbitration of a grievance contesting the procedures followed during a winter storm that resulted in two employees not being called in for overtime. The Commission found that the employer’s decision not to call in additional employees on the two days in question was an exercise of its non-negotiable managerial prerogative to determine staffing requirements. The Commission also restrained arbitration over the union’s claim that there was an impact on employee workload and safety. Although the Commission’s jurisdiction in a scope of negotiations case does not extend to evaluating the merits of a grievance, the Commission found that the Teamsters had not supported its argument with a certification from employees who were actually working on the dates in question and further found that the record did not reflect any safety concerns.
Rutgers, the State University of New Jersey and Health Professionals and Allied Employees AFT/AFL-CIO, Local 5094
In P.E.R.C. No. 2018-23, the Commission restrained binding arbitration of a grievance contesting Rutgers’ failure to immediately reinstate an employee’s health insurance benefits when she was rehired following a layoff. The Commission found that arbitration was preempted by the State Health Benefits Program Act and its implementing regulations which require two months of continuous full-time service in order to be eligible for coverage, and that the employee was ineligible for immediate coverage due to her break in service.
Point Pleasant Beach Borough and PBA Local 106
In P.E.R.C. No. 2018-20, the Commission restrained binding arbitration of a grievance contesting the prorating of an employee’s sick leave due to his impending retirement before the end of the calendar year. The Commission found that a Civil Service regulation prohibited the granting of annual sick leave in excess of an employee’s anticipated continued employment. The Commission relied on two Civil Service Commission cases applicable to State employees. The Commission permitted arbitration over the union’s challenge to the proration of vacation leave finding that issue not preempted. In addition, the Commission reiterated that an employer cannot, by passage of an ordinance pursuant to a general statute, preempt an otherwise mandatorily negotiable term and condition of employment.
Trenton Board of Education and Trenton School Custodians Association
In P.E.R.C. No. 2018-16, the Commission restrained arbitration over the Association’s claim that the Board had to maintain 81 permanent full-time custodians. But the Commission declined to restrain binding arbitration over the claim that the Board violated the recall rights of laid off permanent full-time employees by hiring substitutes for their full-time positions.
Borough of Milltown and OPEIU Local 32
In P.E.R.C. No. 2018-15, the Commission determined that an arbitrator could interpret the parties’ contract to determine whether certain part-time dispatchers were covered by the collective negotiations agreement and entitled to holiday pay.
Ridgefield Park Board of Education and Ridgefield Park Education Association
In P.E.R.C. No. 2018-14, the Commission reaffirmed its decision in Clementon Bd. of Ed. and Clementon Ed. Ass’n, P.E.R.C. No. 2016-10, 42 NJPER 117 (¶34 2015), appeal dismissed as moot, 43 NJPER 125 (¶38 2016), and held that negotiations over health premium contributions cannot commence during the same collective negotiations agreement during which employees reach tier four contribution levels. In Ridgefield Park, the parties negotiated that employees would contribute 1.5% of base salary. The parties recognized that for the first year of the contract, Chapter 78 required employees to contribute at tier four rates. After the Commission issued it Clementon decision, the Board notified employees that they would be returned to tier four rates for the balance of the four-year contract and that salaries would be frozen to recoup any underpayment. The Commission restrained arbitration over the Association’s grievance except to the extent that the Association requested to negotiate over the timing and amount of recoupment.
Town of Westfield and Superior Officers Association, PBA Local 90A
In P.E.R.C. No. 2018-12, the Commission restrained arbitration over a grievance contesting the discontinuation of health insurance opt-out payments. The Commission concluded that N.J.S.A. 40A:10-17.1 preempted opt-out payments for waiving coverage under a private health insurance plan and that negotiations unit members’ resulting loss of income was not a severable arbitrable claim. The Commission stated that severable claims are those that flow from the exercise of a managerial prerogative and that this case did not deal with a managerial prerogative per se, but a preemptive statute that rendered the issue non-negotiable. In addition, the Commission stated that allowing negotiations and arbitration over the asserted monetary impact would circumvent the preemptive statute.