Archive for July 3rd, 2009

Arbitration award in annual-leave grievance

Friday, July 3rd, 2009

On July 2, USF and UFF received the arbitrator’s decision in the grievances filed over the University’s taking three days of leave last December from all annual-leave-accruing employees. Here is the heart of the decision:

The University, under the terms of the collective bargaining agreement, cannot require bargaining unit employees to use annual leave. The University, under the terms of the collective bargaining agreement, does not have the contractual right or the statutory right to require bargaining unit employees to take accrued annual leave. The required use of annual leave resulted in the employees being required to waive benefits provided by the Agreement, and to suffer a loss or diminution of contractual rights for which they were otherwise eligible. Specifically, the employee’s contractual rights and benefits to accrue the days for their use in accordance with the provisions of the contract…. After full consideration of the circumstances, this arbitrator agrees that the remedy must be for the University to reinstate the three days of accrued annual leave to the members of the bargaining unit who were required to take them.

The arbitrator has ordered the university to return three days of leave to all in the UFF bargaining unit who lost them in December. This is the result of the grievance process at its final step: a binding arbitration, and in this case, the arbitrator ruled that the United Faculty of Florida was correct in its interpretation of the contract, that the university did not have the authority to take three days of leave without bargaining a change at the table. Members’ dues pay for contract enforcement, and it is in the grievance process that UFF can hold the university accountable when it violates the contract.

Chapter grievance chair Mark Klisch processed the grievances at the local level; UFF’s executive director, Ed Mitchell, was the chapter’s representative at the arbitration hearing, and chief negotiator Robert Welker helped with preparation for the arbitration hearing.

Arbitrator Cary Singletary decision text, July 2002