The Public Employment Relations Board (PERB), the State Agency responsible for resolving collective bargaining disputes, held last week that the City of Rye properly proposed two of its most important issues in collective bargaining negotiations with Rye PBA.
The City of Rye released the following press release:
The Public Employment Relations Board (PERB), the State Agency responsible for resolving collective bargaining disputes, held last week that the City of Rye properly proposed two of its most important issues in collective bargaining negotiations with Rye PBA. Contrary to assertions by the Union, Judge Angela M. Blassman found in her decision of March 11th that the City engaged in good faith bargaining by proposing (1) higher health care insurance contributions for all officers; and (2) additional salary steps for all newly hired officers.
The City of Rye, represented by City Manager Scott Pickup and labor attorney Vincent Toomey, have held over a dozen negotiating sessions with the Rye PBA since November, 2008. Officers Franco Compagnone and Michael Kenny represented the Union. In November 2010, the Union declared an impasse, proceeding to mediation and then to mandatory binding arbitration.
Under the State’s Taylor Law, only certain topics of bargaining may be submitted to arbitration and those demands must have been the subject of negotiations between the parties prior to the arbitration. In sworn testimony the PBA claimed that the City engaged in bad faith bargaining by submitting the health care and salary step proposals to arbitration because these topics had not been discussed in prior negotiations. Judge Angela M. Blassman rejected the PBA’s claim. In her 27-page decision (available on the City website), she gave “credit” to the City’s testimony that it had consistently negotiated the questions of healthcare contributions and higher salary steps.
According to City Manager Scott Pickup, this decision confirms that the City has at all times during collective bargaining acted appropriately and in accordance with its obligation to bargain in good faith. Most importantly, the central issue of healthcare contributions will be subject to arbitration, said Pickup. “We won’t just be talking about salary increases.”
Judge Angela M. Blassman also sided with the City regarding its claim that the Rye PBA improperly proposed two demands to be subject to arbitration. The Judge found one proposal improperly interfered with the City’s management rights. In the second instance she found no evidence, either written or oral, to support the Union’s claims.