Recent Arbitration Victories

Buffalo County (Police)

The WPPA prevailed in this arbitration in which the primary issue was wages. The County had proposed a 2% raise in each year of the two year agreement. The Association proposed 2% with an additional 1% on each July 1. The comparables were mixed and the County relied on a slight internal pattern and argued local economic conditions. Two other bargaining units were also in arbitration in the County with similar facts both represented by AFSCME. The Arbitrator ruled for the WPPA position and separate arbitrators ruled for the County in the AFSCME cases. The changes in the State Budget increasing the levy limits, which were pushed by WPPA, were instrumental in this WPPA arbitration victory.

City of Monroe (Dispatchers)

The WPPA prevailed in this arbitration in which the primary issue was the City’s attempt to impose insurance premium sharing. There was a secondary issue involving the accumulation of compensatory time and its payout. None of the internal bargaining units were settled and the City was attempting to use the arbitration on its smallest unit to “have the tail wag the dog.” The arbitrator rejected the City’s approach, notwithstanding the acknowledged fact that the comparables showed a trend towards premium sharing. The Arbitrator commented that the City will need to achieve its breakthrough by voluntary agreement.

Monroe County and Shawano County

The Monroe County Professional Police Association (MCPPA/WPPA) and the Shawano County Deputy Sheriffs Association (SCDSA/WPPA) recently celebrated arbitration victories for their unresolved collective bargaining agreements. With the help of their WPPA Representatives, both locals worked hard at the negotiation table to reach voluntary settlements; however, interest arbitration was the only option left for settling the contracts in the end.

In Shawano, the arbitration record was closed in April of 2008. The County demanded a change in the work schedule for Investigators from the current M-F 8am to 4pm followed by one week of 12pm to 8pm with an “on call” Investigator covering weekends to a new five (5) on two (2) off schedule with a limit of no more than ten (10) days in succession. In an effort to bolster its position in future negotiations as well as in this arbitration, the Milwaukee area law firm representing the Employer argued for a change in comparables. After meeting with the effected members to review the arbitration strategy, the WPPA presented its case for maintaining the current schedule and comparables.

In its brief, the County argued that its offer actually meant something other than that framed by its Final Offer. In its reply brief, the Association argued that this was simply a ruse to buttress a flagging position. The Arbitrator agreed.

In the final analysis, the Arbitrator selected the WPPA Local Affiliate’s position and awarded its Final Offer in the dispute.

In the Monroe County case, the matter hinged on a dispute of two issues: wages and the deletion or continuation of an important Letter of Understanding. The Employer proposed a wage package of 2% on 1/1/07; 2% on 1/1/08; and .5% on 7/1/08. In addition, the Employer sought to remove from the contract the Letter of Understanding that substantively provides that there must be mutual agreement between the Employer and the Association on all matters/practices related to hours of work. The Association steadfastly maintained a position to retain the letter.

The Arbitrator agreed with the WPPA position that, given the history of the Letter of Understanding, any deletion or modification of the Letter should be the result of bargaining and not arbitration. The Arbitrator stated that the wage issue slightly favored the County, based on their comparables, but as the Association had argued, the wage issue was not determinative. The MCPPA/WPPA prevailed.

Both locals face almost immediate reopening of negotiations. Hopefully, the Employers will be inclined to be a bit more reasonable in the face of these two cases. However, if such is not the case, we stand ready to defend the hard-fought, hard-won rights of members everywhere.

Bookmark the permalink.

Comments are closed.