West Orange Board of Education and West Orange Education Association
In P.E.R.C. No. 2017-37, the Commission restrained arbitration over the termination of a an employee who alleged did not possess a required license to be employed as an occupational therapist. The Commission stated that it was deciding only the abstract negotiability and arbitrability question, and that the merits of the grievance as well as the employers’ contractual defenses are matters for the arbitrator. The Commission then rejected the grievant’s factual claim that she was hired as an occupational therapist assistant and found, as a fact, that she was hired as an occupational therapist who could not arbitrate her termination because she did not possess the requisite occupational therapist license/certification.
Township of Howell and PBA Local 228
In P.E.R.C. No. 2017-31, the Commission denied a request for a restraint of binding arbitration of a grievance alleging that the employer violated the parties’ contract when it unilaterally changed its policy to ban the use of compensatory time off it if resulted in the payment of overtime. The Commission stated that the subject is negotiable as long as it would not prevent the employer from fulfilling its staffing requirements. The Commission also appears to hold that if an employer is not obligated to grant compensatory time under the federal Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) because it would unduly disrupt the agency’s operations, then the subject would no longer be subject to arbitration.
Atlantic County Sheriff’s Office and PBA Local 243
In P.E.R.C. No. 2017-26, the Commission restrained arbitration of a grievance challenging, among other things, an electronic performance notice. The Commission held that the notice was not a disciplinary reprimand because it specified the violation of sick leave protocols but would be deleted after six months and a written copy would not be placed in the grievant’s personnel file. The notice specified the rules allegedly violated and stated that future violations would result in progressive discipline.
International Academy of Trenton Charter School and International Academy of Trenton Charter School Education Association
In P.E.R.C. No. 2017-24, the Commission denied the request of the employer charter school for review of the Director of Representation’s certification by card check of the Association. The Commission agreed with the Director’s determination, noting that a majority of eligible petitioned-for employees had signed authorization cards designating the Association as the majority representative and that “laboratory conditions” were compromised and employee rights to freely choose their representative were chilled by the Academy’s communications. The employer had appealed.
Township of Morris and Morris Township Superior Officers Association
In P.E.R.C. No. 2017-21, the Commission found that a police sergeant’s personal email for which he was disciplined was not protected by the Act because it was extreme and crude, demonstrated unprofessional and disrespectful behavior, undermined authority, and showed contempt for the administration and township manager.
Readington Township Board of Education and Readington Township Administrators’ Association
In P.E.R.C. No. 2017-18, the Commission restrained arbitration of a grievance claiming that the Board breached the parties’ contract by unilaterally changing insurance carriers necessitating employee contributions toward dental insurance premiums. The Board had participated in the State Health Benefits Program (SHBP) under which dental premiums are not part of the Chapter 78 contributions. The Board changed to a private plan and under Chapter 78, dental premiums are subject to Chapter 78 contributions. The Commission cited cases holding changes in carriers that change terms and conditions of employment are negotiable, but nevertheless held that the Board had a managerial prerogative to leave the SHBP and restrained arbitration.
State Operated School District City of Newark and Newark Teacher’s Union Local 481, AFT, AFL-CIO
In P.E.R.C. No. 2017-14, the Commission ruled that the District violated the Employer-Employee Relations Act when it unilaterally imposed restrictions on attendance at the NJEA annual convention and when it blocked a Union representative’s email access to unit employees. The Commission also ruled that the District did not have to provide a list of unit members who received “ineffective” performance evaluation ratings. The Commission ruled that the ratings were confidential under the New Jersey (TEACHNJ) Act.