Prentice School District

Case 16 INT/ARB-5012 Dec. No. 25814-A (Flaten, 07-03-89)

Union offer selected.

There were two issues at impasse: the salary schedule and the amount of health insurance to be paid by the Employer. The Employer had been paying all of the family premium and now proposes to have employes contribute $10 per month.

The Union had proposed a 5.6% across-the-board increase for both years of the contract. It bases this on the argument that “Prentice employs one of the lowest paid K-12 faculties in the State . . .” Thus, attracting and retaining a faculty is very difficult, and “if the Employer’s Final Offer is selected career teachers (would be receiving) . . . $515.83 less over the two year period,” than under the Union’s proposal. The Union argues that these factors present an argument for the Union’s proposal based on catch-up pay as well. With respect to health insurance, the Union argued that “the Employer has paid the full cost of health insurance since 1973. For it to now require a contribution from its employes when its salary schedule is already far below other districts makes the Employer’s final offer unreasonable.”

The Employer in support of its salary schedule argues that the current packages of comparable school districts of Marawood and Cloverbelt are most comparable to the Employer’s final offer, while the Union’s final offer is excessive. The Employer then addresses the health insurance issue by noting that insurance premiums in Prentice have increased twice as fast as in comparable districts, thus requiring a contribution to family health insurance. Thus, its proposal is “fair and a reasonable response to the rapidly escalating costs . . .”

The Arbitrator noted that “the Prentice District which already pays the least for health insurance amongst comparables” should be accompanying this concession with a quid pro quo benefit; since no such benefit was forthcoming, the Union’s offer was more reasonable. On the issue of the salary schedule, the Arbitrator concluded that the Employer’s offer would result in the teachers slipping in ranking when compared to Districts in the Marawood Conference. However, with respect to the Cloverbelt Conference, the Employer’s offer was more reasonable. The Arbitrator also compared this case with an arbitrated award in Athens School District where a change in health insurance was also in issue. In that case the Arbitrator found for the Union which influenced the Arbitrator here. This, plus the fact that the District’s ranking would slip when compared to the Marawood Conference districts and the fact that the Employer offered no quid pro quo for the insurance proposal, led the Arbitrator to select the Union’s final offer.

Whitnall School District

Case 37 INT/ARB-4889 Dec. No. 25839-A (Bellman, 07-07-89)

Employer offer selected.

At impasse were several revisions, proposed by the Union, to the standing 1986-1988 agreement.

The Union proposed five provisions to the 1986-1988 agreement. First, the Union proposed to add “just cause” to its discipline and discharge clause. Second, the Union proposed giving seniority an equal qualifying factor with “relative ability, experience and qualifications” for job promotions and transfers. Seniority had been the determining factor in the 1986-1988 agreement, as stated in Section A, Article 7. In addition to this as the second provision, the Union proposed adding a new Section B to Article 7 which would require the School Board to post notifications of position vacancies for a period of 5 working days on a bulletin board where current employes could file for the position. The employe(s) who is qualified with the most seniority would receive the position. The Union went to further propose as its third provision that Section D of Article 7 be deleted. This paragraph provided the School Board with a patterned means of shifting personnel from one assigned job to another based “solely on the needs of school board for service or for the good of the employes involved.”

The first of the final two provisions sought to guarantee full-time employes the right of first choice on all overtime work. If the full-time staff didn’t want the additional hours, the most senior part-time staff would be offered it. The last provision sought to offer hours of an absent employe to qualified part-time workers in the building where the absent employe works before bringing in substitutes. These provisions would be found in Article 9, Sections C and D, respectively.

The School District argued that the current agreement was satisfactory and should be renewed as is.

Arbitrator Bellman held, and the Union acknowledged, that the Union was required “to show compelling reasons for change . . . (and) its proposals fulfill a need in an equitable manner.” He went on to claim that “most of the factors of Sec. 111.70(4)(cm)7 of the Municipal Employment Relations Act are not applicable in this case.” Thus, he chose to base his decision on “such factors . . . which are normally or traditionally taken into consideration . . .” as stated in Sec. 111.70(4)(cm)7.j. of the Act.

With respect to just cause, the Arbitrator noted that the parties’ agreement, in a separate Article, specifies that an employe loses seniority when “discharged for just cause.” The Union’s concern is that just cause doesn’t apply to lesser actions because just cause is not mentioned in the suspension and discipline provision.

The Arbitrator concluded that this wasn’t a reasonable remedy of the Contract as a whole because if “the ultimate measure is so restricted it follows that lesser ones are as well.” The Arbitrator pointed out that this interpretation was supported by a grievance arbitrator who applied a just cause standard in a suspension case involving these parties.

As to other issues, the Arbitrator concluded that the Union created an ambiguity in the language it proposed by making seniority a determinative factor in Article 7, Section B, while in Section A of the Article it would be one of the factors considered in some of the same situations that apply in Section B.

Because of this ambiguity and lack of support for its other positions, the Arbitrator selected the Employer’s final offer.

Sauk County

Case 85 INT/ARB-4678 Dec. No. 25999-A (Kerkman, 07-12-89)

Employer offer selected.

The issues at impasse were the timing of the increases for Psychiatric Nurses and Public Health Nurses I and II, as well as for Home Care Nurses. Also at issue was an addition to Section 24.01(1) which would have “the employer (provide) the Union sixty days notice prior to requiring employes to contribute amount of insurance premiums to an escrow account under s. 103.10(8)(c), Wis. Stats., leaves.

There was an issue over the cost differential between the two final offers over wages. The Union concluded their proposal would cost $768.88 more than the County’s. The County costed their proposal to be $3,640.75 less than the Union’s. The Arbitrator concluded this differential to be relatively small (even after favoring the County’s figure as being accurate) and not sufficient reason to find for one party or the other, thus minimizing its impact on the decision. The Arbitrator reasoned that the instant dispute was not over what the final wage rates should be (because both agreed to that), but rather because of the effective date of raises, the amount of back pay that should be paid to the employes. The Arbitrator concluded that “while comparables do narrowly support the Union on this matter, . . . other factors should take primacy when considering the wage dispute . . .”

The County claims its proposal calculates to an increase of 8.43% above the 1987 rates, while the Union’s increase would equal 8.92%. The Arbitrator states, “based on . . . experience . . . a wage increase of 8.43% is adequate for 1988.”

With regard to the escrow account issue, the Arbitrator held that the proponent of change has the burden of proof to establish the necessity for the change. The County which proposed this change had not bargained with the Union over impact of the establishment of the escrow account. The Arbitrator feels the 60 days notice provision in the proposed statute change will provide ample opportunity for this however. The Arbitrator concluded there was persuasive evidence to support the Employer’s offer in that this Employer had two such agreements with the same escrow proposal with two other units of the County.

Based on the above, the Arbitrator selected the County’s final offer.

Amery School District

Case 24 INT/ARB-4922 Dec. No. 24919-A (Yaffe, 07-12-89)

Union offer selected.

The issues at impasse between educational support personnel and the School District are the following: wages, including compensation for bus driver extra trips, health insurance coverage and language, subcontracting, holidays, vacancies and job postings. The assignment of routes to bus drivers, duration, absences and leaves, just cause and retirement contributions. In addition to these issues the parties could not agree as to what comparables should be utilized as well as the relevance of the state of the local economy and cost-of-living considerations.

Both parties had agreed upon Middle Border Athletic Conference districts for comparability; the Union, however, included support staff bargaining units from the nearby districts of Unity and Cumberland. The District objected to the use of outside districts as well as limiting usage to unionized bargaining units. The District went on to claim the local economy hinges upon agriculture, which had been suffering setbacks, thus supporting moderation in wage increases. The Union countered by saying the District may be impacted upon by agriculture, but not in a manner which was different from other comparable units suggested by both parties.

Being the first collective bargaining agreement between the two groups, cost-of-living requirements and wages are major concerns for both parties, and appropriately both parties exceed the cost-of-living requirements with their proposals. The issue of wages, however, found the Union proposing a 4% across-the-board increase, while the District proposed a “variant wage” structure which, according to job classification, would provide aides a 3.5% increase, food service a 4% increase while secretaries and custodians would receive a 3% increase. The District claimed this was justified because of varying benefits received by each class of employe in the past. The Union countered by arguing that while comparables on this issue are difficult to analyze but “if the District’s wage offer is awarded, inconsistencies and unfairness will be fixed in place and exacerbated under the offer of the District in 1989-90.”

On the issue of health insurance the Union proposed that insurance be granted to both full- and part-time employes. (The first health insurance policy provider for either group.) The Union defended this by claiming the definition of “full-time employe” was weak and could cause disagreements of eligibility, Code 89 of a Federal IRS form and also offering a “fixed amount” to be paid by the Employer no matter the status of the employe, thus shifting much more of the cost onto the part-time employes (around 50%). The District counters by claiming this proposal will “result in unreasonably dramatic and spiraling cost increases for the District.” The District further argued that the Union needs to provide “some semblance of quid pro quo, (which) the Union has failed to do.”

On the issue of subcontracting, the Union proposes prohibition for protection of the employes while the District opposed this claiming no comparable support.

On the issue of holidays, the District proposed two holidays for 1989-1990 would likely increase in successive agreements. The Union claims most all comparable units receive four holidays, and the District provides insufficient reasoning for its position. The Union, however, does not wish to provide these four holidays until the next agreement in the interests of saving costs to the District.

On the issue of vacancies and job openings the District proposed the status quo of “applicants for vacancies will be considered on the basis of relative ability, experience,” etc. The Union, however, proposed that experienced, qualified workers hired at other positions should be given the opportunity to fill vacancies prior to bringing in new employes. The District claimed there was little comparable unit support of this proposal.

In assigning routes to bus drivers, the Union argues that employes should be rewarded for loyal service and veteran employes should be allowed to increase their earning capacity on an “objective” system of assigning routes. The District provided little dispute of substance to this issue.

The final issue, though not the final issue addressed, is that of the duration of the contract. The Union proposes it only run from January 1, 1989 to June 30, 1989, to allow for renegotiation to help establish the critically important ground rules of the long-term relationship. The District claims the Union’s proposal would result in a volatile situation which would be detrimental to running of the District. It would be better to allow the contract to run until June 30, 1990, and allow some time to work together.

Arbitrator Yaffe stated in response to these issues, “since he could not choose the more preferable combination of the District’s duration clause (because it spreads the cost) and the Union’s health insurance proposal (which would provide insurance to part-time employes), he believes that the Union’s proposals on these two issues are less unreasonable “. . . since it responsibly addresses a significant problem while the employer’s does not.” He goes on to side with the District’s proposal on the wage issue (although he concluded that the wage issue was too close to be determinative), but states “that neither party has come to grips with the task of trying to rationalize and restructure a pay system.” He also sides with the District on the subcontracting issue but only with the understanding that the District would use this ability in good faith. He sides with the Union on the holiday issue because of comparable support as well as on the filling vacancies issue because the Union’s proposal addressed a legitimate employe concern in an equitable fashion. He also supports the Union on the issue of “just cause,” not previously mentioned. On this issue he claims, “even though non-union comparables support the retention of employer discretion, no persuasive reason has been presented by the employer explaining why it should not be required to provide a reasonable basis for its decision to demote an employe.”

Based on all the foregoing considerations, Arbitrator Yaffe determined the Union’s proposal “least unreasonable” and accepted its final offer.

City of Edgerton (Police Department)

Case 18 MIA-1349 Dec. No. 25938-A (Krinsky, 07-19-89)

Employer offer selected.

Issues: a 1/2 hour increase in the work day, definition of the day for holidays, sick leave and vacations, longevity, wage rates for full- and part-time employes, sickness and accident benefits, and health insurance for retirees.

The parties agreed that the Arbitrator should base his decision specifically on the criteria of: dealing with the interests and welfare of the public; comparisons with other employes performing similar services; the cost of living and the overall compensation presently received by the employes.

The City and the Union had both agreed that a 4% wage increase was necessary for 1989, 1990 and 1991. They differ insofar as the Union’s final offer inserts a new wage increment for employes in their fourth year of service, while the City continues the third year increment as the highest one. The Arbitrator had difficulty analyzing this issue because the parties had failed to agree on the method of calculating actual hours worked for the purposes of converting salaries to hourly rate for the comparison.

The Union addressed the part-time wage issue by proposing a $10.42 wage which is several dollars higher than comparable units, but only equals the starting wage of full-time officers. The City countered with a $9.00 offer which is still $50 more than any comparable unit.

On the longevity issue the Union proposed a program with increases based on percent up to 6% for all full-time officers. The City points out that this is drastic change from the existing agreement, whereby after 4 years of service, officers receive $15 for each year of service. The City’s proposal worked with the existing agreement by proposing an increase after 10 years of service from $150 to $300, etc.

With respect to the issue of Employer payment of sickness and accident premiums, the City argues that this proposed benefit is paid by a minority of the comparable communities and that the City does not currently pay this benefit for its other employes. The Union counters by stating that the premium cost of $17.66 per month per employe can be easily afforded by the City.

In considering the issue of Employer payment of health insurance premiums for retirees, the City takes a similar stand as to that of sickness and accident premiums; none of the comparable communities pay this benefit and the City does not pay it to any of its other employes. The Union counters by arguing there is only one employe in the bargaining unit who is approaching retirement age, and the $247.84 per month premium will be more than made up for by the savings which will result from hiring a new, junior officer to replace the retiree. The City follows by voicing a fear of the future costs of providing this benefit

With respect to the hours issue, the Union claims it presented its offer to increase the work day to 8 1/2 hours and the City refused the offer. The Union argued the City had proposed this offer earlier in negotiations and the Union merely accepted it. The City countered by stating this was offered only as a part of a package offer which the Union had not accepted and was now selectively polling out items it liked. The Arbitrator, though acknowledging the relevance of this debate, decided the most meaningful comparison is with hours worked in other police departments.

The problem in the issue of hours recurs in the issue of holiday pay. The City proposed that “only full-time employees receive holiday pay, and that Good Friday is a full-day holiday.” The current agreement provides holiday pay for all employes but only provides Good Friday as a half-day holiday. The Union disagrees with the City’s proposal because in its final offer the City defines a holiday as 8 hours, which is contrary to the 8 1/2 hour day the Union claims the City had agreed to.

On the issue of sick leave, the current agreement provides one day of sick leave for each completed month, up to an accumulated limit of 120 days. The City’s final offer is again stated in hours (960) instead of days (120) and proposes a change that “employees hired after January 1, 1989 shall lose accrued sick leave upon termination” whereas currently all employes can use their sick days at retirement. The Union offered no changes on this issue but said that at prior to submission of final offers this change had not been proposed by the City and they are seeking to remove a negotiated benefit without having to further negotiate this with the Union.

The issue of vacations is again based on the 8 1/2 hour day issue because the City proposed full-time employes are entitled to 48 hours after 1 year (instead of 6 days), 96 hours after 2 years (instead of 12 days), and an additional 8 hours vacation for each additional year worked up to a 200 hour cap. The Union argues for the 8 1/2 hour proposal and the benefits of the existing terminology of days instead of hours.

Arbitrator Krinsky reaches his conclusion by stating the City’s proposals are preferable in the areas of sickness and accident benefits, health insurance for retirees, longevity and wage rate for part-time employes. The City was also preferable on the factors of cost of living and total compensation (cost). The Union, however, was preferred with respect to the issue of hours per day and thus also with respect to the definition of the day for holidays, sick leave and vacations. “It is also preferred with regard to the issue of sick leave accumulation, vacation cap and proration of vacation benefits, all benefits currently enjoyed which the City seeks to remove unilaterally.”

Considering these factors, Arbitrator Krinsky notes a lack of adequate cost data and that neither proposal will result in good public policy. Despite this, he concludes the City’s offer would do the least amount of harm for three reasons: “1) The Union’s wage and benefit package far exceeds the cost of living and is not adequately justified. 2) The health insurance to retirees is a new benefit with unknown costs. 3) A modifi-cation of a longstanding agreed-upon method of paying longevity which eliminated the arrangement the Union is now seeking to reinstate.

The arbitrator’s great reluctance to make this decision is that by so doing he allows the City to make several modifications of the Agreement without having negotiated about them prior to their inclusion in the final offers submitted to and certified by the WERC. Also, this decision allows the City to get out of its tentative agreement reached in bargaining to change the hours schedule. The arbitrator’s reluctance is tempered somewhat by the fact that there is no evidence that the Union attempted to raise these issues with the WERC before the final offers were certified and the arbitrator was appointed. Had it done so, the Union might have achieved modification of the City’s final offer or a WERC ruling on the appropriateness of the City’s action. Also, with respect to these unilateral modifications by the City of existing benefits, it is not clear to the arbitrator that any current employes will be significantly affected by the lost benefits during the term of the Agreement, and the parties can address these issues in subsequent negotiations.

Based upon the above facts and discussion, the Arbitrator selected the City’s final offer.

Wautoma Area School District

48 INT/ARB-5068 Dec. No. 25881-A (Reynolds, 07-21-89)

Employer offer selected.

The sole issue at impasse was what compensation, if any, should be granted to the bargaining unit members, as a result of a new policy which has been accepted without objection by the Union, under which bus drivers would no longer be allowed to park their school buses at their homes.

The District proposes to pay each driver who completed the 1988-1989 school year in the District’s employ a one-time flat payment of $500, irrespective of the number of routes driven by that driver. The District arrived at this payment by estimating the approximate savings to be realized as a result of implementation of its new parking policy. The suggested payment is intended to pass on approximately one-half of the first year’s savings to the drivers. The single, lump sum payment would be easy to administer and eligibity would be undisputed.

The Union proposed a $2.60 payment for each route driven by a bus driver. It further proposed a change in contract language calling for route assignments on the basis of seniority only, rather than the “seniority and other factors” presently set forth in the agreement. The final element was to be a guarantee by the Employer to hold the drivers harmless for any damage which might be done to the driver’s vehicle while parked on District premises. Furthermore, the Union wishes to have a separate parking area designed for the exclusive use of bus drivers.

Arbitrator Reynolds concluded that “the Union’s payment proposal was the most reasonable based on the cost to the District being a one time cost and the fact that present pay scales depend on the number of routes each driver drives each day.” He, however, countered the strength of the Union’s argument by stating the District clearly is willing to “make whole” damage to drivers’ vehicles which are caused by District employes or equipment. The District does not assume burden of liability for its other employes, thus is not reasonable to have asked for in this format.

Regarding seniority posting of routes, Arbitrator Reynolds concluded, “The position has merit. However, the fact remains that the Union is attempting to obtain a substantive change in contract language through the interest arbitration process and this is a step arbitrators have been traditionally reluctant to take.”

Having granted the last two criterion greater weight than the first, Arbitrator Reynolds proposed adoption of the School District’s final offer.

Richland County (Sheriff’s Department)

Case 68 MIA-1351 Dec. No. 25948-A (Kerkman, 07-25-89)

Consent Award

The parties agreed to a two-year contract with wage improvements. They also agreed to a standard holiday set-up and single day of sick leave with each month of service. They further agreed to 1 week of vacation after 1 year of service, 2 weeks after 2 years, 3 weeks after 6 years, 4 weeks after 12 years and 5 weeks after 23 years. The two parties also agreed to a WPS-HIP health insurance plan while also agreeing to a Wisconsin Group Life Insurance plan. They further agreed to 1 1/2 times the ordinary salary for overtime while also making agreements for compensatory time and emergency duty. Lastly, they agreed to a 3 day funeral leave plan, and further agreements on Union activity and uniform allowances.

Richland County (Highway Department)

Case 69 INT/ARB-5066 Dec. No. 25958-A (Kerkman, 07-25-89)

Consent Award

The parties agreed to a 2 year agreement with wage increases. All employes shall also receive 1 1/2 times their straight pay for overtime and holidays. They agreed to also have a vacation schedule providing 1 week after 1 year of service, 2 weeks after 2 years, 3 weeks after 6 years, 4 weeks after 12 years and 5 weeks after 23 years. They also have a “standard” holiday structure while also having a single paid day of sick leave for each month of work. They also agreed to 3 days paid leave for family deaths and up to 6 months off for proper reason (family, personal health), etc., as determined by the Employer. The parties agreed to a WPS-HIP health plan.

Richland County (Department of Social Services)

Case 70 INT/ARB-5067 Dec. No. 25957-A (Kerkman, 07-25-89)

Consent Award

The parties agreed to a two-year agreement with wage increase. They also agreed to a vacation schedule providing 1 week for 1 year of service, 2 weeks for 2 years of service, 3 weeks for 6 years of service and 4 weeks after 12 years of service. They also agreed to a “standard” holiday pay/time-off set up. They further agreed to 1 working day of sick leave for each month of completed service, up to 126 days. They also agreed to grant 3 days paid leave for deaths in the family. Lastly, they agreed to a WPS-HIP group health insurance plan.

City of Milwaukee

Case 307 INT/ARB-4671 Dec. No. 25639-A (Gundermann, 07-25-89)

Employer offer awarded.

Two issues in dispute: wages and life insurance. The City proposed a 2 1/2% increase in each of the two years while the Union proposed a 4% increase for said years. The City proposed increasing life coverage to $24,000 while the Union proposed increasing coverage to 1 1/2 times employe’s annual base salary.

Comparables and cost of living are the primary criteria relied on by the parties. The parties, however, disagree as to the importance of internal comparables. The City argued for significant, if not controlling, weight while the Union argued that internal comparables should become significant only if the other statutory criteria fail to support either party’s position. The Arbitrator, citing arbitral authority, concluded internal comparables should be given significant weight. However, it is recognized that in a particular situation there may be justification for deviating from internal comparables. In those situations the party seeking deviation has the burden of justifying such deviation.

With respect to internal comparables, the Arbitrator concluded that contrary to the City’s claim there was no pattern of settlements which would prescribe the settlement of the Union. As to external comparables he concluded that said criterion favored the City’s position.

In analyzing the cost-of-living criterion, the Arbitrator determined that the real disparity in the parties’ respective positions regarding the CPI was the base period to be used. Based on arbitral authority, he concluded, that when the cost of living is being projected it is appropriate to select a base period starting with the last agreement. The Arbitrator reasoned that here the cost of living for 1987 and 1988 is known, and on that criteria the evidence supported the Union’s final offer, as the COL exceeded the 8% being sought by the Union.

In summary of the wage issue the Arbitrator stated as follows:

The two statutory criteria emphasized by the parties were costing of living and comparables. Cost of living supports TEAM’s final offer, whereas the comparables support the City’s final offer. Where, as in this case, the salaries of bargaining unit employes equal or exceed those of their counterparts in both the private and public sector, and, the increase offered by the employer approximates the increases in the private sector, cost of living becomes less of a factor. In weighing the two statutory criteria, it is the opinion of the undersigned that in this case the comparables must take precedence over the cost of living.

Regarding the life insurance issue, the Arbitrator found for the City because there was no evidence that the insurance benefit being sought by the Union was a benefit generally available to any other employe group.

Based on the above, the City’s final offer was selected.

Cashton School District

Case 12 INT/ARB-5036 Dec. No. 25863-A (Nielsen, 08-09-89)

Union offer selected.

The only issue in dispute is over salary.

The Arbitrator stated, “The determinative issues in this case are (1) what are the appropriate comparables; (2) how do the salary offers stand in relation to settlements in comparable districts; and (3) do economic conditions within the District serve to distinguish it from other rural districts in the area so as to justify a more modest salary settlement?”

The District argued for a change of comparables by discarding Ridge and Valley Schools. The District reasoned that the drought it experienced came after settlements by those schools and therefore they should not be considered comparables. The Arbitrator concluded that this was not a sufficient reason to change comparables but it could go to the weight given to such settlements. The Arbitrator retained the same comparables on the principle that primary comparables, once established, should not be lightly discarded.

The District proposed a low rate of increase justifying it on the District’s superior overall level of compensation. The Arbitrator reasoned that the superior level of compensation resulted from past bargains, and those contracts, absent substantial justifi-cation, are not subject to rewriting in this proceeding. The Arbitrator concluded that the Union’s offer was more reasonable based on comparables.

With respect to the interests and welfare of the public criterion, the District argued that the public would be best served by the District’s proposal because of the poor economic condition of the area served by the District. The Arbitrator was not persuaded by the District’s reliance on the criterion because there was no evidence that the District was any worse off economically than its comparable districts.

Based on the above, the Arbitrator found the Union’s offer more reasonable.

Douglas County

Case 161 INT/ARB-5070 Dec. No. 25954-A (Yaffe, 08-11-89)

Employer offer selected.

The only issue at impasse was wages. The County proposed no increase for 1989 and a 3% increase for 1990. The Union proposed a 4% increase for 1989 and another 4% for 1990.

The Union argued that their offer would provide more competitive wages, which would allow the County to more easily recruit and retain LPNs. The Union based the “competitiveness of wage” on comparables from the Northwest Region, counties which are geographically proximate and St. Louis County in Minnesota “because of its contiguous location and close economic ties to Superior and Douglas counties. The Union went on to argue that “(e)very comparable, including the Parkland Nursing Home in Douglas County has higher wages, even if the Union’s offer of 4% is selected.” The Union further contended that the County had recently agreed to a 3% wage increase, plus a $580 bonus for full-time and a $400 bonus for part-time LPNs at the Parkland Nursing Home. Finallly the Union argued that LPNs were “losing purchasing power by not keeping up with the CPI in the last two years” and the fact that “the County has never argued that it could not afford the modest cost of the Union’s proposal.” Thus, the Union claims its offer is the best offer.

With respect to comparables the County argued that the Parkland facility has been sold by the County and thus it should not be considered as a comparable. It went on to state that “in selecting appropriate comparables similarity of function must be considered, i.e., free standing nursing homes should be utilized.” With Parkland being the only other County run free standing nursing home, this left only nursing homes to be used as comparables. The County disallowed the use of an out-of-state comparable because of legal discrepancies between the states. The County went on to defend its wage increase to RNs at Parkland as being based upon catch-up, and that the LPNs being considered in these negotiations had not presented a need for significant catch-up pay. The County concluded by stating that their proposal was necessary “in order to achieve a financially solvent health care institution.”

Arbitrator Yaffe agreed with the County that the most reasonable comparables would be in the private sector. Based on this the Arbitrator stated that “the Union’s proposal was excessive in that it exceeds County wide increases and it is not supported by a persuasive need for catch-up.” He also acknowledged the County’s

persuasive demonstration to engage in cost cutting measures. He concluded by stating “both parties’ first year proposals are about equally unreasonable” but the County’s second year is more acceptable and based on this the County’s offer is less unreasonable than the Union’s.

The final offer of the County was to be incorporated.

Black Hawk School District

Case 12 INT/ARB-5044 Dec. No. 25841-A (Slavney, 08-15-89)

Union offer selected.

There were two issues at impasse; salaries for the teachers over the two years of the agreement, and the language pertaining to health and vision insurance.

The Association defended its proposed increases by drawing on comparable school districts from both the State Line League (SLL) and those within CESA #3 boundaries. It included the CESA districts because at the time of this settlement “only two of the nine districts in the conference (had) settled for the latter school year . . .” (1989-1990). The Association further contended that “there (was) no question concerning the District’s ability to pay the costs of the Association’s offer and the District has not claimed otherwise.” The Association went on to state that their proposal would best serve to retain the teachers, and that based on the District’s teachers’ salaries “(having) been eroded from their historical position,” the $76 above average increase in average salary was justified.

With respect to the health and vision insurance issue, the Association proposed that the District pay the “full cost” of premiums for 1989-1990.

The District agreed to pay 100% of cost in 1989-1990, but proposed to pay a stated dollar amount equal to 100% of the premium. This was the only dispute over the insurance.

Regarding comparables, the District argued that the SLL districts were the only comparables which would “ensure stability in comparisons used by the Board and the Association in the future.” They thus disregarded the CESA comparables. The District went on to argue the drought of 1988 would result in substantial income reductions for many members of the District, thus they will “need all the property tax relief they can get.” The District further contends that teachers in Black Hawk receive a higher starting salary and achieve their maximum salary more quickly (although it may not be as high as other districts) than other districts, thus the District’s offer is more than adequate.

Arbitrator Slavney determined to expand the comparables because there were only two settlements in the athletic conference for 1989-1990. He, however, did not accept the entire CESA#3 schools, but only 9 of the 13 districts.

He concluded with the health and vision insurance issues by stating “the costs resulting from both offers . . . are identical.” Both parties seem to think the issue was minor. The Arbitrator favored the Union’s proposal because it had very little impact during the term of the agreement.

Applying the comparables, the Arbitrator concluded that, based on salaries, the Association’s offer was more reasonable. With respect to the interests and welfare of the public, the Arbitrator concluded that the public is benefited when teacher salaries and benefits are fair and competitive. Thus, he decided the case by comparing teacher salaries and benefits with comparables.

In addressing the cost-of-living criterion, the Arbitrator found that both total package proposals exceed the COL. This favors the District’s offer. However, the Arbitrator pointed out that the comparables, as well as state-wide districts, settled were awarded packages that exceeded the COL by a wide margin. Therefore, little weight was given to this criterion.

Based on the criteria stated above, the offer of the Association was chosen.

Racine County Handicapped Children’s Education Board

Case 5 INT/ARB-5047 Dec. No. 25856-A (Bellman, 08-16-89)

Employer offer selected.

At issue was the two-year salary increase for education aides of Handicapped Children.

The Association proposed that all salaries on the schedule would be increased by the present increase in the national CPI for the 1988-1989 contract year, and then again in 1989-1990. The Association based this proposal on it being “an effort to maintain that status quo by employing a standard indicator of real income, and correspondingly of standard of living.” It further claimed that the Employer has in the past granted salary increases to this unit that approximated CPI increases. The Association supported its position by drawing reference to settlements between the County and other bargaining units within the County.

The Employer contended that it was more appropriate to compare this Handicapped Children’s Education Board with identical boards in Brown, Manitowoc, Marathon, Sheboygan and Walworth counties. The Employer argued, “The uniqueness of this type of operation makes these the only valid comparable employers doing comparable work in a similar environment.” The Employer also argued the CPI was a means of adjusting salaries because no other Racine County bargaining unit is contracted under this premise. The use of the CPI would create “a guessing game for properly budgeting for salaries.” The Employer finally argued for continuation of the current agreement followed by a 2% increase in the following year.

Arbitrator Bellman found it “unappealing to have to favor either . . . the Employer’s offer (which) may be insufficient, (or what) the Association is proposing, a highly controversial structure.” He decided upon preferring the Employer’s position because of being in agreement with the Employer that reference to the CPI is “both unorthodox and unpredictable.”

Based on this reason, the final offer of the Municipal Employer was accepted.

Rib Lake School District

Case 11 INT/ARB-4965 Dec. No. 25799-A (Reynolds, 08-18-90)

Union offer selected.

There were four issues at impasse. The issues of extra-curricular pay schedules and assignment of substitute teachers were, however, agreed upon as not being relevant in the Arbitrator’s decision by the parties. The third issue of a salary schedule was determined by the Arbitrator to have been well addressed by both parties and that both proposals were responsible and supported by comparables. The same could not be said of the insurance proposals so he decided the case on the health insurance issue.

At issue in the area of health insurance was a change in the language of the existing agreement. The District proposed, “the agreement to enable the Board to select the carrier provided that substantially equivalent (changed from “equal”) covered in major areas is maintained.” The Association did not agree with this proposed change because “it would result in a totally altered relationship between the parties when it comes to evaluating the terms of a new or substitute health insurance package.” The District countered by stating that “equal” and “equivalent” are synonymous. The Association and Arbitrator Reynolds disagreed.

Arbitrator Reynolds criticized the District’s proposal for usage of words such as “major” for being ambiguous and “subject to a degree of interpretation” which will create problems of uncertainty in the intent of the contract.

The District argued the language change it proposed would assist in containing the costs of health care in the District. The Arbitrator did not agree stating, “the board has not set forth any cost containment history to indicate they have endeavored to cut costs outside of the bargaining process in the past to no avail.”

Based on these reasons Arbitrator Reynolds accepted the final offer of the Rib Lake Education Association.

Marathon County (Courthouse)

Case 144 INT/ARB-5160 Dec. No. 25949-A (Nielsen, 08-27-89)

Employer offer selected.

There were three issues in dispute: parking, overtime and reclassifications.

The issue of parking was initiated as a result of construction on a new jail. Before construction began the employes had been using the site as a free parking area and during the construction the County had rented two lots to be used for parking. When the construction was completed the County terminated its leases and announced a parking policy which divided available spaces into 81 rental at $10 a month and 52 first-come spaces.

This background caused the Union to call for a “return to the status quo” of adequate free parking because “the $10.00 per month charge has created an unfair financial burden on county workers.” This has had a “detrimental effect on morale, as well as being a fundamentally unfair action.”

The County responded on this issue by claiming that it enjoys a contractual right to make such changes and thus the “status quo” is maintaining its right to chose.

On the issue of overtime the Union asserted that “several employees have been denied overtime because of favoritism and anti-union discrimination” which has “contributed to the very poor labor relations climate in the Sheriff’s Department.” They proposed that overtime be assigned strictly on the basis of seniority within classification and cited other County facilities, including the Airport, Parks Department and the Shelter Home as comparables.

The County responded on this issue by claiming the Union’s allegations of “favoritism, discrimination, anti-discrimination . . . (and) poor labor relations . . . are simply unproven assertions not supported by any evidence.” They also claimed the status quo which had the most senior officer on duty often being offered the overtime, mandated the Union present a quid pro quo if the practice were to be changed.

On reclassification the Union claimed this a secondary issue but still sought to have a Planning Technician and a Switchboard Operator receive an upgrade in pay.

The County responded to this by claiming the Union must provide a quid pro quo for this as well, and they hadn’t done so.

The Arbitrator agreed with the County’s position that with respect to parking the status quo was that the County had the contractual right to change same. Thus the Arbitrator held the Union to the burden of showing a necessity for such change. The Arbitrator concluded the Union met its burden of proof because the impact of the County’s parking change was great. However, the Arbitrator found the Union’s proposal excessive because it provides parking for those who do not necessarily need it and it requires more spaces than engaged before. Thus, the County’s proposal was preferred.

With respect to the overtime issue, the Arbitrator again held that it was the Union seeking a change in status quo and thus had the burden of proving the language was needed and was reasonable. The Arbitrator concluded that the Union proved some language was needed although it was not compelling. But the language proposed, in the Arbitrator’s opinion, went beyond that necessary to address the alleged problem of favoritism and the established perceived unfairness.

On the reclassification requests of the Union, the Arbitrator concluded that the Union failed to establish that the positions in issue were improperly placed.

Based on the above, the County’s offer was selected.

Village of Rothschild (Police Department)

Case 12 MIA-1346 Dec. No. 25983-A (Nielsen, 08-28-89)

Consent Award

The issues of health and life insurance, wages and holidays were settled in the mediation process.

The parties agreed to the Village paying in full the officers’ single and family monthly health insurance premiums in 1989. In 1990 and thereafter the amount of any increase up to 5% shall be paid by the Village. Any increase between 5% and 16 1/4% shall be shared equally by the Village and the officers. An increase greater than 16 1/4% shall be paid for by the Village. The issue of holidays was resolved by granting officers “in addition to holiday pay, all officers . . . shall be paid at the rate of 1 1/2 times their regular rate of pay on holidays.

Forest County (Courthouse)

Case 53 INT/ARB-5094 Dec. No. 26013-A (Kerkman, 08-30-89)

Consent Award

The parties agreed to changes in the areas of wages, grievance procedure, health insurance and in areas previously agreed to.

Portage County (Sheriff’s Department)

Case 73 MIA-1366 Dec. No. 25971-A (Fleischli, 09-08-89)

Union offer selected.

The single issue in dispute was that of wages.

The Association argues that the interests and welfare of the public “are served by maintaining wage levels (as well as other benefits) at a sufficiently high level for law enforcement personnel, . . .” They supported their position by pointing to one of the County exhibits “which in effect acknowledges that the County has the economic resources to fund either of the final offers.”

The Association also relied on both external and internal comparisons in support of its position. They rely on the external comparables adopted by Arbitrator Robert J. Mueller in a prior proceeding. According to the Association the internal comparables relied upon by the County do not support its position that there is an established 3% increase pattern. The Association claimed that this pattern was established in two years, not one year agreements.

With respect to external comparables, the Association emphasized the City of Stevens Point. They claimed, based on “morale” and sheer comparability, that the County police employes should be given the Association’s offer “in order to avoid further erosion vis-a-vis law enforcement personnel employed by the City of Stevens Point,” the city in which the County facilities are housed.

The Association claims that the CPI supported their offer and that the County’s comparables have only proven supportive when looking at their non-law enforcement groups, not the law enforcement groups.

The County argues its offer was supported by the criteria of the interests and welfare of the public by allowing it to increase compensation during the term of the agreement, without unduly increasing the base rate, which in the long run they claimed would hold down costs to the taxpayers.

The County relied upon a group of comparables they titled “Central State” group which was very similar to the Association’s comparables, but excluded a few groups, which the Arbitrator determined should be included, and thus he selected the Association’s offer of comparables.

The County argued that its 3% increase plus its lump sum payment provided an adequate financial increase. The Association, however, and ultimately the Arbitrator stated that the lump sum idea was not appropriate in arbitrated settlement proposal.

The Arbitrator found both proposals supported by evidence and reasonable. Internal comparables do favor the County, but the Arbitrator found it hard to discard the fact that the County was relying on the second year of two-year agreements to establish its pattern, and the fact that non-represented employes received average increases closer to the 3.75% increase for 1989 generated by the Union’s proposal. Further, the Arbitrator noted that the record fails to show that internal comparables in the past were controlling with respect to this unit. Regarding external comparables, the Arbitrator found this significant, especially comparison with the City of Stevens Point. If the County’s offer was accepted, the gap between the earnings of the City of Stevens Point and the County would increase. Also, only one external comparable favored the County.

With respect to COL criterion, the Arbitrator did not find a big enough difference between the offers to give the criterion great weight.

Finally addressing the lump sum payment feature of the County’s proposal, the Arbitrator concluded that while it was not unreasonable, the split increase proposed by the Union was more reasonable.

Based on the above, the Union’s offer was selected.

Mukwonago Area School District

Case 40 INT/ARB-4853 Dec. No. 25821-A (Kerkman, 09-12-89)

Employer offer selected.

The sole issue in dispute is over health insurance. The Union proposes to maintain existing language which requires the Employer to pay 100% of the premiums, while the Employer proposes to include a dollar amount which represents the full amount for 1989-1990.

There was a dispute over comparables, but the Arbitrator concluded a determination of what constitutes the appropriate comparables was not necessary because there was adequate support for the Employer’s proposal regardless of what comparables were used.

The parties presented a considerable volume of evidence regarding the settled wage package and its impact on the insurance determination. The Arbitrator concluded that since the salary was voluntarily agreed to, he would not spend any time evaluating its value and justification of the amount of the salary settlement.

The Arbitrator further concluded that the Employer’s offer was supported by industry practice and internal comparables. He then turned to the issue of whether the Employer can justify a need for its change. He concluded need was shown by submitting evidence of rising costs, the need for uniform treatment with other employes of the Employer (internal comparables), and industry practice. Further, the Arbitrator reasoned that since the Union had taken the Employer’s salary package and insurance proposal back to its members as a conditional agreement (which the members rejected) establishes that the salary agreement was considered a quid pro quo for the insurance change. The Arbitrator held that although tentative agreements are not in themselves determinative, they do establish a presumption of reasonableness.

Based on the above, the Employer’s offer was selected.

Shawano County (Sheriff’s Department)

Case 83 MIA-1357 Dec. No. 26052-A (Johnson, 09-16-89)

Consent Award

In addition to wages the parties agreed to one (1) additional floating holiday.

Deerfield Community School District

Case 22 INT/ARB-4892 Dec. No. 25519-B (Slavney, 10-05-89)

Union offer selected.

The only issue in dispute was wages.

In support of its position the Union argued for a change in comparables from athletic conference to twelve other contiguous districts inasmuch as Deerfield, it was argued, had become more of a suburban community. The Arbitrator was not convinced, and as argued by the District, continued to use the athletic conference as the appropriate comparables. He noted that regardless of what set of comparables were used, for 1989-1990 there were no settlements on awards to compare to.

The District relied primarily on the interests and welfare of the public criterion in support of its position. It claimed due to drought, taxes, income, etc., the District’s offer best served the public. The Arbitrator rejected this argument. He noted that the farmers in this District were no worse off than those in comparable districts. He noted if he just considered the effects of the drought and need to raise taxes, he would favor the District. But he noted that in the previous year’s contract the teachers “sacrificed” and there offer here does not show disregard for the public. He concluded neither party had an advantage over the other with respect to this criterion.

The case was decided based on wage comparables. He concluded that for 1988-1989 the Union’s offer was more reasonable because it was closer in dollars and in percentage to that of the settled districts in the athletic conference. For 1989-1990 the Arbitrator compared the offers to state-wide settlements and awards because there were no comparables in either of the parties’ proposed comparables for that year. The Arbitrator, based on such comparisons found the Union’s offer more reasonable.

There was also an issue over longevity, but the Arbitrator concluded the parties were close enough so that it did not affect the result.

Based on the above, the final offer of the Union was selected.

Janesville School District

Case 39 INT/ARB-5005 Dec. No. 25853-A (Michelstetter, 10-06-89)

Employer offer selected.

Issues: shift differential, sick leave, union business, health insurance and wages.

The parties agreed it was very important to establish a set of comparables. Basically the Union proposed comparables within a 50 mile radius and which were included in the teacher unit comparables. The Arbitrator selected the 30 mile radius comparables proposed by the Employer because this represented the labor market from which employes were hired.

On wages, Union proposed increases of 4%, effective July, 1988 and 1989; the Employer offered 2% July 1988, and 3% July 1989.

Both parties proposed to increase the drug prescription plan; the Employer proposed to state the current premiums, while the Union proposed to leave the premium from the previous agreement. The Employer proposed to add a separate, additional medical annual deductible of $100 individual/$300 family limit after three individual deductibles had been met; the Union opposed new separate deductibles, but proposed to extend the current $100/$300 deductibles to apply to major medical as well as hospital, surgical-medical. The Employer proposed to end the benefit under which retirees 55 or older with 10 years or more service could continue in the prescription plan by self-paying the premium; the Union opposed any change in the current benefit. The Employer proposed a new $25 per person annual deductible in the dental plan, which the Union opposed.

The Union proposed new language under which employe/delegates would receive unpaid time off for Union business, up to a maximum of 10 days per contract year for all employes combined. The Employer opposed this.

The Union proposed to expand the applicability of sick leave from its availability for illness of “a child or a spouse” to include the “immediate family” as defined in the Wisconsin Family Leave Act. The Employer opposed this.

Both parties proposed to change the shift differential to $.15, but calculated on different hours.

The Arbitrator found that the Employer’s wage offer was “generally significantly less than comparable to the wage increases adopted in other comparable units,” and that the record thus strongly supported the Union’s wage proposal.

On insurance, the Arbitrator rejected the Union’s contention that the Employer had intentionally set the prior year’s self-funded premiums artificially low, and found that the Union had “virtually ignore(d) the substantial change in health insurance cost.” The Arbitrator also found that the District’s settlement with the teacher unit — in which that Union accepted the Employer’s offer on insurance — was “a strong indicator of how parties similarly situated to this unit would have handled the health insurance issue under the circumstances of this case.” Accordingly, the Arbitrator found the Employer’s offer on health and dental insurance to be preferred.

The Arbitrator found that the other issues did not bear substantially on the result.

“It appears from the record of the whole that the offer of the employer is more appropriate. The health insurance cost here has not only risen at a high rate, it has risen to a rate inconsistent with other area plans. Further, without the changes proposed by the employer it appears it will continue to rise at this inordinate rate. As with any benefit, the costs (both past and future) appropriately come from the total compensation of employes. Finally, the offer of the employer does not substantially erode the wage leadership position of this unit. Accordingly, the offer of the employer is adopted.”

City of Manitowoc (Police Department)

Case 73 MIA-1394 Dec. No. 26003-A (Kessler, 10-18-89)

Union offer selected.

Issues: duration, wages, dispatcher pay and health insurance.

The dispatcher issue was considered minor by the Arbitrator and based on comparables concluded the City’s offer was more reasonable.

There was a dispute over comparables. The Arbitrator decided to stay with the comparables established (City of Two Rivers and Manitowoc County) by arbitrators in two previous awards. The Arbitrator indicated others would be used in the event a discernible trend is not found.

With respect to duration of contract, primary comparables supported both parties. Therefore, the Arbitrator turned to the secondary comparables which supported the Union’s two year offer.

Wages were also determined by the secondary comparables because the primary comparables are in conflict and not determinative. He concluded that Manitowoc is in the middle in both the minimum and maximum wage categories and therefore there is no support for “catch up” pay as argued by the Union. He concluded the City’s offer was more in conformity with the secondary comparables. He also concluded that the Union’s offer more closely reflects CPI changes, but that the City’s offer was not so below CPI as to suggest an erosion. Overall the Arbitrator found the City’s offer slightly preferable on wages.

As to the health insurance issue, the Arbitrator held: “These proposed changes (by the City) are so substantial that they should be determined by the City and the Union in negotiations. The City’s final offer does not contain the type of benefit to offset the loss in health insurance, that could be described as a quid pro quo.”

Based on the above, the Union’s offer was selected.

City of Sun Prairie (Police Department)

Case 18 MIA-1388 Dec. No. 26077-B (Michelstetter, 10-23-89)

Consent Award

In addition to a 3 1/2% increase the parties established a vacation agreement which based vacation pay on a 6 day work week, a minimum pay structure for overtime work, a definition of sick leave and establishment of a floating holiday.

Lincoln County (Social Services Department)

Case 88 INT/ARB-5114 Dec. No. 25977-A (Bilder, 10-23-89)

Union offer selected.

The sole issue was modification to the existing contractual provision defining the regular schedules and working hours, particularly to the second paragraph of the section providing what the parties refer to as “flex-time.”

The prior agreement provided employes with an option of altering their work hours and days in a manner as approved by the Director, except that, if problems arose, the Employer had the option of reverting to the previous schedule upon thirty days notice to the Association. The Union proposed to delete the reversion provision, so that the employe’s option remained. The County proposed to retain the Director’s discretion to cancel the flex-time schedule, subject to review by various County committees.

The Arbitrator found that the specific statutory criteria relating to economic considerations were “of only limited help” in his analysis, and he thus turned to the “such other factors” test, where he found “several such broader considerations relevant to this matter.” Noting that the flex-time had originally been instituted on a trial basis in the 1987 and 1988 collective bargaining agreements, and had not caused undue disruption or added cost, the Arbitrator found that employes are normally entitled to a reasonable measure of predictability and certainty in their work schedules, which consideration was undermined if the popular flex-time schedule could be revoked at the Employer’s will; that the employes believed that the Employer had previously agreed that a successful trial period would lead to permanence of the provision; and that any employe abuse of the program was “quite speculative and contingent.”

Finding the Association’s proposal “the more reasonable,” the Arbitrator ordered its incorporation into the 1989 collective bargaining agreement.

Stevens Point Area School District

Case 49 INT/ARB-4957 Dec. No. 25769-A (Vernon, 08-02-89)

Union offer selected.

Issues: salary increases of 1989-1990 and 1990-1991, increase for hourly rates, increase for extra-curricular rates, and increase for special compensation.

The parties disputed the appropriate comparables. The Employer selected the Wisconsin Valley Conference, consisting of Antigo, D. C. Everest, Marshfield, Merrill, Rhinelander, Wausau and Wisconsin Rapids. The Association, using the comparable pool set by this Arbitrator in 1986 and confirmed by Arbitrator Kerkman in a 1988 Wausau School case, relied on Eau Claire, Sheboygan, LaCrosse, Oshkosh, Fond du Lac, Stevens Point, Wisconsin Rapids, Beloit, Janesville and Appleton.

“Arbitration decisions are not very conclusive of comparability,” the Arbitrator stated, explaining that the Association was putting too much reliance on “overlapping arbitration awards.” “Each of these cases have to be decided on their own merit and not blindly applied in overlapping districts.”

The Arbitrator also found that the 1986 legislative amendments to criteria d, e and f meant that the Arbitrator “need no longer make those comparisons strictly among comparable communities,” but only with other employes performing similar services. In any event, the Arbitrator later said these criteria are “mere guidelines to direct the arbitrator in what ultimately becomes a pure judgment call.”

Finding no compelling reason to alter the previously established comparables, and a value in stability, the Arbitrator held the athletic conference to be the appropriate comparable group “with special emphasis on comparisons to Wausau and Wisconsin Rapids.”

The parties also had different analytical approaches regarding the salary schedules, particularly the impact of a prior three-year agreement (1985-1988), under which this unit assumed a leadership position in wages. The District urged the Arbitrator to take such consideration of the prior agreement “that it was almost as if they want(ed) the arbitrator to evaluate five-year offers instead of two-year offers,” while the Association wanted the Arbitrator “to put blinders on and to ignore the past agreement and the wage levels it produced.” The Association, the Arbitrator said, “inappropriately ignores the results of the past bargaining when they (sic) implicitly argue that they (sic) should have the same percentage per cell as other schools.” The results of the 1985-1988 settlement, the Arbitrator said, made it apparent that this unit did not need the same kind of per cell percentage increase as others. However, the Arbitrator held that the District was also wrong in arguing that the wage analysis be on a five-year basis, although prior settlements were “relevant in a close call situation.” What is important, the Arbitrator said, was to “find a percentage which generates a fair approximation of the dollars received by everybody else.”

This was just such a close call situation, the Arbitrator said, indicating great displeasure that the parties were unable to resolve the dispute. Adopting the Association’s costing calculations, the Arbitrator determined that the parties were roughly $311 per teacher apart over two years; that is, $3 per week per teacher, “hardly significant in the broad scope of things.” The parties could have split the difference, he suggested, “(b)ut instead this relatively insignificant difference is foisted upon the arbitrator along with 150 pages of briefs, a mountain of exhibits and the statutory criteria, which are not, as some parties seem to think, exact scientific and mathematical tools which can easily be utilized to size up the final offers.

The Arbitrator then found the wage levels under the Association’s offer “slightly more consistent with the two most important comparables,” and that the “fact that teachers in Stevens Point got more dollars in (1985-88) than other teachers in the Athletic Conference is largely water over the dam. The arbitrator assumes each party signed that agreement with open eyes and an equal risk that it might be more or less than the eventual pattern.”

LaCrosse School District

Case 53 INT/ARB-5006 Dec. No. 26073-A (Vernon, 10-25-89)

Consent Award

Consent: 1988-1989 BA Base of $19,600; BA horizontal increment of $340 and vertical increment of $850; MA horizontal increment of $380 and vertical increment of $930. 1989-1990, respectively, $20,100; $390, $855; $465, $950.

For 1990-1991, 5.62 total package increase, from which health insurance will be subtracted, based on current contract language in paragraph 81. Next, to be subtracted will be in order the increment cost, 4% on Appendix B rates, 4% on hourly rates, and roll-ups. The remainder will be applied to the salary schedule on a mutually agreeable basis utilizing 5 variables (BA Base, BA Horizontal, MA Horizontal, BA Vertical, MA Vertical). In the event an agreement cannot be reached, an equal percentage will be applied to each of these variables.

Agreements also on teaching hours and teacher load, homebound teachers and early retirement.

Brodhead School District

Case 9 INT/ARB-4936 Dec. No. 25925-A (Fogelberg, 11-06-89)

Union offer selected.

Two issues remained at impasse: salaries, including a schedule change by the Union, and definition of a “grievance.”

In addressing the issues, the parties disagreed as to the composition of the appropriate comparables. The District argued for the continued use of the established comparables (the athletic conference) while the Association argued in favor of adding two other districts to the comparables. The Arbitrator chose to honor the well-established comparables, reasoning that the Union had shown no real reason for the claimed additions. It appeared to the Arbitrator that the Union’s position was taken more for convenience than anything else.

In making salary comparisons, it appears the Union’s proposal is closer to the average than the District’s, but that the District’s was more preferable the second year. The Arbitrator, however, concluded comparability of the salary offers was not nearly as important as 1) the distribution of the faculty vis-a-vis the final offers, and 2) the two respective (and historic) approaches to altering the schedule structure.

The District argued that it is more important to place greater evidence on the BA column and the entry level salaries in order to attract good teachers while the Union proposed to contract the schedule. The Arbitrator reasoned that while it is important to attract good teachers, it is equally as important that there be enough incentive to retain good teachers. More than one half of the teachers in the District are at the top step (53% first year and 58% second year). The Arbitrator noted that adoption of the District’s offer would not benefit the majority of the faculty as much as the Union’s would. The Union’s would make the District more competitive. Although the Arbitrator was troubled by the Union’s compact schedule, he nevertheless found for the Union because there was ample evidence that both parties believe that some change in the structure is warranted. In reaching this conclusion that in the last arbitration, four years prior, it was the District who proposed a change in structure while the Union argued for no change. Further, in negotiations over the current contract the District was willing to discuss changes in the existing structure.

With respect to the language issue, the Arbitrator did not find same to be important in deciding the overall dispute because both parties clearly considered it to be ancillary to the issue of the salary schedule.

Based on the above, the Union’s offer was selected.

Edgerton School District

Case 30 INT/ARB-4975 Dec. No. 25933-A (Reynolds, 11-08-89)

Union offer selected.

Issues: wages, insurance and fair share.

In analyzing proposed language changes in insurance and fair share, Arbitrator followed three-prong test: Does the present contract language give rise to conditions that require change? Does the proposed language remedy the condition” Does the proposed language impose an unreasonable burden upon the other party?

Using that analysis on the Union’s proposal for a fair share clause, the Arbitrator found that, while an equity argument had merit, the absence of fair share, in and of itself, did not require change. “In the absence of a showing that this employe group has been damaged by absence of fair share language, the Union’s final offer on this issue must fall.”

The arbitrator then applied the same analysis to the District’s proposal to alter the existing provision under which it paid full health insurance premiums for the WEAIT or the Dean Care HMO plans to one of employe co-payment with several plans from which to choose. As part of its proposal, the District also offered a wage package higher than that sought in final offers by the Association. Noting that “this is a relatively low-paid employe group,” for whom this benefit is of substantial importance, the Arbitrator found that the District’s higher wage offer was “not sufficient reason” to justify such a structural change in the relationship.

The adverse impact of the fair share proposal “would have a minor impact” upon the District, the Arbitrator said, while “the unfavorable impact upon the EESS of the employer’s final offer would be considerable. Benefits, both monetary and emotional, would be reduced with only a minor wage net recovery to be attained through wages. Taken together, it is obvious that adoption of the Union’s final offer would have a lesser impact upon the losing party than would occur were the District’s final offer to be accepted.”

Accordingly, the Arbitrator ordered the incorporation of the Association’s final offer into the successor agreement.

Douglas County (Health Department)

Case 167 INT/ARB-5205 Dec. No. 25966-A (Kerkman, 11-09-89)

Employer offer selected.

Issues: wages and health insurance.

The Employer supports its position by relying on internal comparables; settlements with five other County units in 1989. The Arbitrator agreed internal comparables is very important criterion and should be followed unless there is compelling reason(s) to deviate. Further, the Arbitrator concluded that under the criterion requiring comparisons with others performing similar services it was proper (contrariwise to the Employer’s position against out-of-state comparisons) to look at Duluth comparables.

The Arbitrator concluded as follows:

We have found that the internal patterns of settlement favor the adoption of the Employer offer in this dispute. We have found that the comparisons of wage rates to the Northwest Counties of Wisconsin comparing Public Health Department nursing salaries favor the adoption of the Employer offer, as do the patterns of settlements in those counties. We have further determined that the wage rates paid in the Middle River Health Care facility to Registered Nurses, compared to the proposed wages for 1988 and 1989 by the Employer, supports the Employer offer. However, the comparison of private wage rates paid in private sector hospitals in Superior-Duluth, and the cost of living criteria both support the Union offer. We have further determined that the interest and welfare of the public criteria supports neither offer. The question, then, is whether the foregoing conclusions establish compelling circumstances causing a departure from the internal patterns of settlement. After lengthy reflection, the undersigned concludes that the circumstances are not sufficiently compelling in the instant matter so as to establish a reason to depart from the internal patterns of settlement. It follows, therefrom, that the Employer final offer with respect to salary should be adopted.

With regard to the insurance issue, the Employer proposed that it have the right to change carriers and/or self-fund provided that the coverages are substantially equivalent or superior to coverages offered by Blue Cross/Blue Shield in 1986. In addition, the Employer could not make a change unless all units agree to the provision, and if there is a change, the Employer’s premium contribution will be raised to 90%.

The Arbitrator decided that the salary issue should determine the case because the Employer’s proposal could not be implemented unless all units agree to the provisions. Thus, the Union’s offer was selected.

Winnebago County (Highway Department)

Case 166 INT/ARB-5091 Dec. No. 26037-A (R. U. Miller, 11-11-89)

Union offer selected.

Single issue: health insurance.

Employer proposed to “pay up to 105% of the single or family premium of the lowest priced of the group health plans offered by the County . . .” Union proposed maintenance of status quo, under which County “will pay 97% of the family or the full single monthly premium . . .”

The Arbitrator found that the external comparisons supported the Union, the internal comparisons supported the Employer, and the cost-of-living and interests and welfare of the public critera supporter neither.

The Arbitrator, citing Arbitrator Reynolds, applied the following three-prong test in determining whether the moving party has carried its burden for change: (1) whether the present contract has given rise to conditions that require amendment; (2) whether the proposed language may reasonably be expected to remedy the situation; and (3) whether the alteration will not impose an unreasonable burden on the other party. The Arbitrator concluded that the present contract had not given rise to conditions requiring amendment; that the Employer’s proposed language could not reasonably be expected to remedy the situation; and that the alteration would impose an unreasonable burden on the Union.

Award for the Union.

Shawano County (Maple Lane Health Care Center)

Case 86 INT/ARB-5133 Dec. No. 26024-A (Weisberger, 11.-17.89)

Employer offer selected.

There were two issues: fair share and subcontracting language. The Employer proposed to maintain the status quo with respect to both issues.

The Union proposes a fair-share agreement, but conditioned on a vote carried by a majority of those voting. In support of its proposal it relies on external comparables arguing that private and public health care units surrounding Shawano County have Union shop or fair-share agreements as do other County public employers and Unions have such agreements. The County relies on internal comparables and a previous arbitration award involving these same parties in which the Arbitrator ruled in favor of the Employer because he thought such matters as fair share should be left to the parties to negotiate.

With respect to subcontracting, the Union argues that current language does not offer enough protection to employes and that there is a move throughout the State by County health care facilities to privatize. The Union asserts that other County units (internal) and health care units in the State (external) by comparison have protected subcontract language. The County argued that the existing language has been in the parties’ agreements for a long period of time and, moreover, that there has been no subcontracting which has affected the employes during this period of time.

The Arbitrator concluded that while internal comparables do not favor a fair-share agreement, external comparables do favor such a proposal. The Arbitrator noted that a significant number of surrounding counties have health care units with Union security provisions. Further, the Arbitrator found persuasive the Union’s conditional offer based on a vote of the employes to counter the Employer’s concern over a fair-share agreement.

The Arbitrator found the Union’s subcontracting proposal more troublesome. She noted that even where the Employer had subcontracting language internally with other units, it was not as restrictive as the provision proposed by the Union here. Regarding external comparables, the Arbitrator noted a wide range of provisions covering the subject. In the final analysis the Arbitrator concluded that there was not sufficient evidence submitted by the Union to support the specific language or restrictions contained in its final offer. Thus, the Employer’s status quo offer was found more reasonable.

In deciding which total offer to select, the Arbitrator chose the Employer’s because it was almost time to negotiate a successor agreement, and the parties would be in a better position to bargain these issues if the Employer’s offer was selected. She reasoned that in the ensuing negotiations the Employer would negotiate fair share with the benefit of this discussion in fair share, and the Union could negotiate subcontracting language knowing the specific need to document the reasons, justifying any subcontracting language. On the other hand, if the Union’s offer was selected, the Employer would be stuck with the subcontracting language and its limitations which has not yet received substantial support among internal and external comparables.

Based on the above, the Employer’s final offer was selected as being more reasonable.

Waukesha County (Sheriff’s Department)

Case 104 INT/ARB-4775 Dec. No. 26027-A (McAlpin, 11-17-89)

Consent Award

The parties reached agreement over fair share, officer in charge pay and break time.

Barron County (Department of Social Services)

Case 81 INT/ARB-5235 Dec. No. 26010-A (Maslanka, 11-29-89)

Union offer selected.

There were four issues in dispute: wages, mileage, insurance and on-call pay.

In wages the parties’ only difference is a 1/2% the second year. The Employer claims its offer meets or exceeds all of the comparables, while the Union claims its proposal for an extra 1/2% the second year is justified because Barron County’s employes in this unit carry a much larger case load than employes in comparable counties. The Arbitrator favored the Union’s position on the following basis: “In 1990 every county that settled their contract either equaled or increased its 1990 contract percentage wise over the previous year. Barron County’s offer of 1990 is a decrease percentage wise from 1989 by .5 percent. Although the undersigned does not feel that three years is sufficient time to set a trend, nevertheless this period certainly does not substantiate the Employer’s contention herein that it followed the comparables trend. In fact, the Employer’s offer of 3.5% for 1990 being .5 less than the 1989 4.0% increase would be a step in the opposite direction.”

The Arbitrator also noted that the production of the Employer’s employes and the CPI favored the Union’s position.

With respect to mileage, the Union proposed to change the current language under which the amount for mileage is determined on a sliding scale based on the price of gasoline. The Union proposed to change said language and have the amount equal to the IRS rate. The Employer argued that the current language was originally proposed by the Union and that now they offer no compelling rationale for the need for such an increase or have they offered a quid pro quo to change the status quo. The Arbitrator favored the Employer’s position because the Union did not show a compelling reason why the formula should be changed.

The difference between the parties regarding on-call pay is whether employes should receive compensatory time off for telephone time. The Arbitrator favored the Union’s position because he felt that regardless of how little time the employe spends on the telephone it is considered work by both parties, and he/she should be compensated for it by at least compensatory time as was the previous practice.

With respect to insurance, the current contract provides a flat amount which equals 82%. The Employer proposes to continue flat amount equal to 82% for 1989 and specifically states that it will pay 82% of the 1990 rates. The Union proposes to change the language by requiring the Employer to pick up 90% of any premium increase in 1990. The Arbitrator favored the Employer’s position because the Union did not establish a compelling need for the change proposed.

The Arbitrator selected the overall offer of the Union because he concluded that the issues of wages and on-call far outweighed those of insurance and mileage in importance.

Pierce County (Sheriff’s Department)

Case 70 MIA-1380 Dec. No. 26029-A (Kerkman, 121-01-89)

Union offer selected.

The single issue in dispute was a proposed change in the hours of work and overtime provisions of the contract.

The County’s offer was to maintain the status quo established two years previous in an arbitrated decision. The current language provides for a work schedule based on 28 days and worked in accordance with the work schedule prepared by the Sheriff. Overtime is paid at time and one-half for hours worked in excess of 171 hours per 28 day work period. The Union proposed a 6/3 schedule, 8 1/2 hours per day or an equivalent hour schedule. Further, overtime to be paid for all hours in excess of regular scheduled hours. Over a period of 28 days the Union’s proposed work schedule provides for 161.5 hours of work as compared to the present 171 hours. Thus, the Union proposal could generate 8 1/2 hours of overtime than would be generated under the present system.

The Arbitrator looked at both internal and external comparables. He found that the internal comparables clearly supported the proposal of the Union. Further, when using the Employer’s external comparables the Arbitrator concluded that the Union proposal for change of the status quo is supported by those comparables. The Employer relied on the provisions of the Fair Labor Standards Act for its 171 hour threshold for overtime, but the Arbitrator was not persuaded because he reasoned that the FLSA did not preclude the Employer from agreeing to a more restrictive provision which in fact did with the Highway Department employes. The Employer also argued that it was able to get the present provision through arbitration by offering a quid pro quo which the Union has not proposed in this case in support of its change. The Arbitrator, however, was not convinced a quid pro quo was actually given because a close analysis of the parties’ wage offers in that arbitration shows that they were about the same. Further, the quid pro quo the Employer argues it offered merely maintained competitive wage rates with what the Union considers to be comparable communities.

Based on the above the Arbitrator selected the Union’s final offer.

City of Rhinelander (Police Department)

Case 48 MIA-1367 Dec. No. 26001-A (Stern, 12-04-89)

Employer offer selected.

The single issue at impasse was the salary schedule. The Union sought a 4.5% across-the-board increase, and the City countered with a 3.5% across-the-board offer.

The Union claims their final offer is best to “(try) to arrest a declining wage relationship that has been established over past years with other comparable departments.” The Arbitrator, however, pointed out that the police unit was currently ranked ninth of the 13 comparables offered by the Union and would continue to be so under either the Association or City offers.

The City relied on internal comparables, all of which settled at 3.5% increases. The City also stated that their proposal seemed equitable in comparison to comparables such as Merrill, Antigo and Ashland.

Arbitrator Stern agreed with the rationale provided by the City and stated, “the (Union) needed to convince the arbitrator that the case for catch up was strong enough to overcome the arguments in support of the City offer.” The Arbitrator does not find the argument in support of catch up to be that strong ” . . . the offer of the City does not cause further deterioration . . . and even improves it (its ranking) slightly . . .”

With full consideration of the statutory criteria and the reason listed above, the final offer of the City was selected.

City of Ashland (Water Utilities)

Case 50 INT/ARB-5206 Dec. No. 26076-A (Yaffe, 12-08-89)

Union offer selected.

The single issue at impasse was health insurance premium payments. The Union wished to maintain the status quo with the City paying 100% of the premiums, while the City proposed that employees pay 10% of the premiums.

The City, in support of its position, relied on what it believed to be four internal comparables: Public Works, Fire, Police Departments and City Hall employes. It argues that said units have been paying 10% of their premiums since 1982, while the water utility employes have continued in having the City cover the entire cost. The Union responded by arguing that the water utility is not under direct control of the Common Council like the other departments and thus is not a comparable unit to the other departments.

The City went on to state that “the City has one of the highest CDBG Distress scores in the state . . . (and) is significantly more troubled economically than almost all of its Wisconsin counterparts.” The Union asserted that area-wide rates for utilities are comparable and “in fact, the operating budgets of both the Water and Sewer Utilities are in good financial condition.”

The Union further argued that if the City’s plan were to be adopted the employes must receive at least a 4.5% increase rather than the 3% increase proposed to have a wage increase comparable to that of other City employes.

The Arbitrator acknowledged that the City made good arguments in favor of making the utility employes pay part of the insurance premiums, but he was not persuaded that the terms proposed by the Employer in this instance are reasonable and supportable. The Arbitrator reasoned that the parties have not historically utilized the City bargaining units as comparables and in fact to the contrary at no time in the past have the parties applied the City pattern to this unit. Thus the Employer is trying to change long-established bargaining history. Thus, while a quid pro quo is not necessary in every case, it is needed in this case.

Here, the Employer, in seeking a change, does not address any of the Union’s legitimate concerns. Most importantly in this respect is that the Employer’s proposal gives no recognition to the fact that the unit employes’ effective wage increases would be substantially below the level of increases granted to other City bargaining units which the City wishes to use as comparables.

The Arbitrator concluded that although the Employer’s proposal is reasonable and legitimate based on comparability and public interest considerations, the Employer’s failure to address legitimate employe concerns in effectuating such a change led the Arbitrator to conclude that the Employer’s proffered changes would need to be deferred to another bargain.

Oak Creek-Franklin School District

Case 44 INT/ARB-5123 Dec. No. 26002-A (Fleischli, 12-20-89)

Union offer selected.

Two issues in dispute: wages and sick leave.

With respect to sick leave, the Employer proposed to delete, for employes hired after January 1, 1990, the application of a sick leave provision that allows employes who have accumulated 35 days or more of unused sick leave and who experience a prolonged illness or off-duty injury that consumes said accumulated time, the restoration of one-half of said accumulated total sick leave allowance. The Union proposed the status quo.

The Arbitrator concluded: “that the parties’ final offers on wage rates are both reasonable in relation to the statutory criteria, but that, if the only issue in this proceeding were wages, the undersigned might be slightly more inclined to accept the District’s final offer, because it is slightly closer to the average wage increases being granted comparable employees. However, it cannot be said that the District’s offer contains a ‘quid pro quo’ for its proposal to phase out the sick leave restoration benefit for new employees. Further, the District has failed to establish that the administration of that benefit has been a problem in this bargaining unit, sufficient to justify its prospective elimination. Based upon the District’s experience in another bargaining unit, there exists evidence of a sufficient potential problem which might justify a less drastic proposal or a more constructive proposal, which would eliminate the potential problem, but not necessarily the benefit, or would substitute a different benefit, perhaps in the form of a reduced waiting period for long term disability benefits.”

Based on the above, the Union’s final offer was selected.

Shawano County (Highway Department)

Case 84 INT/ARB-5132 Dec. No. 26049-A (Rice, 12-29-89)

Employer offer selected.

Two issues: wages and additional subcontracting language.

In addition to a wage proposal, the Union proposed to continue the existing contracting out work language and add a provision that the contracting out should not have the effect of displacing bargaining unit employes. The Employer proposed to continue the current language.

There was also a dispute over what should constitute the appropriate comparables. The Employer argued for a group established by an arbitrator in a sheriff unit arbitration. The Union argued in favor of adding Brown County. The Arbitrator concluded that the generally utilized criterion in determining comparables “. . . are similarity in the level of responsibility and services provided by and the training required of the employees, geographic proximity and similarity in size of the Employer.” Applying same, the Arbitrator determined that Menominee County size (small) and otherwise was not a comparable and that Brown County was too large to be a comparable. Except for these the Arbitrator relied on the comparables from the previous sheriff’s arbitration case.

In support of its wage proposal, the Employer argues that it is consistent with internal comparables as well as external comparables. The Union agrees that the Sheriff’s unit was offered more and that their offer is more reasonable when compared to Brown County and other comparables.

The Arbitrator concluded that the County had obviously “not felt bound by any established 3.5% pattern when it reached its agreement with the Sheriff’s Department” as the Union had argued. He went on to agree with the County’s assumption, however, that they had provided adequate compensation to the Highway Department through its package offer which would result in a 6.97% increase. The Arbitrator reasoned that “the County had established a fairly stable pattern of collective bargaining with its employes” (all had settled for the same increase except the Sheriff’s resulted in somewhat of a higher wage increase) and thus “it would not be proper for an ad hoc arbitrator to award an increase that would disrupt the relationships . . .”

He also concluded that the COL criterion favored the Employer’s offer and that the Union could not make a case for a “catch-up” increase.

Thus, the Employer’s offer was selected.

Forest County (Highway Department)

Case 54 INT/ARB-5120 Dec. No. 26025-A (Krinsky, 01-05-90)

Union offer selected.

Two issues: wages and health insurance.

The parties agreed and the Arbitrator concurred that the wage issue was secondary to the issue of health insurance. After comparing the wage offers, the Arbitrator concluded that the Employer’s is preferable because it is slightly higher in wages and closes the year-end gaps by a few cents more than the Union’s does.

On the issue of health insurance, both the Employer and Union proposed the addition of the WPS-COMPARE Hospital Review Program and nearly identical dollar premiums. The Employer also included language in its final offer pertaining to the renegotiation of insurance deductibles in successor agreements which was not in the current agreement nor had been proposed to the Union in the bargaining process. The Employer further proposed language changes granting them the right to change insurance carriers if the coverage remained the same and that they would not be liable for “any monetary increases in said monthly premiums for the insurance coverage in effect after December 31, 1990.” Neither of these changes had been proposed to the Union or mentioned before inclusion in the Employer’s final offer.

The Employer also proposed a change in the insurance plan from WPS to “a health plan equal to or better than the plan known as the Care Share plan offer by WPS . . .” The Union argued that this proposal, like others, had not been mentioned previous to the final offer of the Employer.

The parties agreed to changes in deductibles prior to the presentation of the final offers where Union offered to maintain the current language.

The Arbitrator applied the statutory criteria to the insurance issue and concluded as follows:

. . . the arbitrator favors measures which the parties can take to contain health insurance costs. They have agreed upon one such measure in this case, the COMPARE plan. It may be the case that the County’s proposal of a new health insurance plan, coupled with higher deductibles, if implemented, would reduce the cost of premiums in the future. One can only speculate about that. During the 1990 contract year the savings in premiums under the County’s final offer would be $4,200. However, employees in the bargaining unit would probably pay at least that much under the County’s final offer in medical bills because of the higher deductibles. Moreover, the County’s proposed change to $200 (maximum $600) deductibles is not supported by the comparisons with the public or private sector. Thus, it is not clear that there is justification in 1990 for the County’s move away from the current arrangements, which the Union’s offer maintains. When this is coupled with the bargaining history, the arbitrator believes that there is greater justification for the Union’s final offer than for the County’s.

City of Cudahy (Fire Department)

Case 62 MIA-1363 Dec. No. 25961-A (Kerkman, 01-05-90)

Union offer selected.

Issues: wages, health insurance, jury duty compensation, and subpoena pay.

There was a threshold dispute over the appropriate comparables. The Union argued that the Arbitrator should honor the established comparables derived through previous arbitrators while the Employer argued for the inclusion of the City of St. Francis and the City of Franklin. The Arbitrator stated his view that once appropriate comparables are established, it is in the best interest of the stability of the bargaining process that they not be tampered with unless there are good and persuasive reasons to do so. The Arbitrator included St. Francis because the last two of the four previous arbitrators in fact included St. Francis. He also included the City of Franklin because the “City of Franklin has almost exactly the same population; that they are in close geographic proximity; that there exists a similar economic base; and that they are part of the mutual aid agreement to come to each others aid in the event of severe fires.”

The parties treated the insurance issue as the major issue in dispute and thus the Arbitrator treated it the same. With respect to insurance he concluded that “. . . industry practice or external comparables favor the Employer offer as does private sector practice, and the practice of the School District of Cudahy. The internal comparables, however, favor the adoption of the Association proposal here. (The Employer settled with the DPW and technical units at 100% contribution.) Because arbitral authority has consistently held that it is the internal comparables which are controlling where the external comparables lead in one direction and the internal comparables lead in the other; and because a continuation of the language is unlikely to financially impact the Employer during the term of the Agreement; the undersigned concludes the Employer has failed to establish sufficient reason for the change at this time. If the Employer in its next round of bargaining is able to show that other units have voluntarily entered into agreements which cap premium costs for the Employer, the outcome undoubtedly will be reversed in the next round of bargaining. From all of the foregoing, the undersigned concludes that the final offer of the Association with respect to health insurance is preferred.”

As to the secondary issues, the Arbitrator concluded that either wage proposal was acceptable and that the internal and external comparables supported the Association’s offer on subpoena and jury duty pay.

Since the insurance issue was stipulated by the parties to be the primary issue, and because of his other conclusions, the Arbitrator selected the Association’s final offer.

Barron County (Department of Social Services)

Case 73 INT/ARB-5073 Dec. No. 26009-A (Nielsen, 01-05-90)

Employer offer selected.

At impasse were four issues: wages, health insurance, life insurance and mileage compensation.

The Union sought comparability for Barron County with Chippewa, Dunn, Polk and St. Croix counties. The Union argued that while Burnett, Rusk, Sawyer and Washburn counties are contiguous, they should not be considered as comparables.

The Union proposed to increase the amount of health insurance premiums to be paid by the County because “across the unit the county pays nearly $3,000 per year less than comparable contiguous counties.” The Union also proposed that the payment of premium increase would be paid during a hiatus period in the contract. The Union contends that life insurance premium contribution of $4.25/month were set in January, 1987, and “since that time salaries and ages across the unit have increased” justifying the proposed increase. The Union then supported its additional .5% across-the-board wage increase in 1990 because of the increase in CPI and lower-than-average pay in comparison to “comparable” counties. The additional 25 cents/hour for income maintenance (IM) workers is based upon their carrying caseload averages of 196.3 clients “while workers in eight surrounding counties service 176.3 clients as well as IM services being only 1.5% of the total administrative costs in Barron County while the cost in eight comparable counties is 8.1%.” The Union concluded by proposing the IRS rate of 24 cents/mile which can adjust automatically as costs increase.

The County argued that the Union was trying to make a distinction (artificially) between primary and secondary comparables. The County felt the Arbitrator should only look comparable, contiguous counties based on median income, population and geographic location. The County argues a principle had been established by past arbitrators that “major structural changes in the area of insurance . . . should be bargained voluntarily. If this proposal was adopted it would “dramatically extend the County’s liability for future increases. The County proposed sustaining the status quo in both life insurance and mileage compensation areas. The County averred that the 3.5% in 1990 “meets or exceeds the increase granted in the comparable counties in real dollar terms.” The Union’s effort is to improve upon an already established leadership position in wages. The LM workers’ 25 cents/hour is a significant cost for the County, an additional $4,550/year. In emphasizing this cost, the County claimed the citizens “have a right to expect some moderation in increases received by public employes.”

The Arbitrator resolved the comparability dispute by concluding that “absent a change in circumstances, the parties are entitled to rely upon the benchmarks established in prior arbitrations.”

The Arbitrator concluded the County’s offer was more reasonable under the statute on the issues of wage rates and health insurance. He stated that, “wages within the County relative to those paid in other counties are not so low as to be inequitable, particularly when viewed in light of (a) shorter work week.” He also notes that the Union did not provide evidence distinguishing the complexity of work of Barron County’s IM workers from that of other counties. He did, however, acknowledge the Union’s claim of “exceptionally high productivity and efficiency” as basis for increased wages through future negotiations.

The Arbitrator favored the County’s health insurance position because the Union had not offered “a tradeoff to gain the hiatus clause . . ., focusing attention instead on obtaining a higher insurance contribution in general . . . The Union has shown no compelling need to gain this change . . ., particularly as it never expressly requested it in bargaining.”

Arbitrator Nielsen believed the Union’s argument for life insurance was a persuasive rationale, and the mileage issue did not have a persuasive position from either party, but he determined neither of these issues to be of ultimate consequence.

On the basis of the wage rates and health insurance issues, the Arbitrator accepted the final offer of Barron County.

Racine County (Department of Public Works)

Case 120 INT/ARB-5279 Dec. No. 26075-A (Mueller, 01-06-90)

Union offer selected.

At impasse between the parties were the issues of wages and health insurance.

The offers on the wage issue resulted in comparable increases and thus were not used to provide a clear reason for choosing one party’s offer over the other. Thus, the merits in health insurance ended up being the basis for the Arbitrator’s decision.

In the existing contract the County would have paid a maximum of $230 per month for each employe. The Union proposed a change which would have the County paying 90% of the premium and the employe paying 10%. The Union claimed that under its proposal the County would save $5,816 in 1989. The Union went on to state “that it had obtained predictions from health carriers that premiums . . . would increase from 10% to 50% over the next several years with ‘no end in sight.’ . . . such . . . health care costs would impact the employees the hardest.” This factor plus the contention that “the external comparables overwhelmingly favored the Union offer on health care cost sharing” was the basis of the Union’s argument.

The County argued that their offer setting a cap at $250 for 1989 and $260 for 1990 would “allow for effective budget preparation in that its budgetary costs are known or determinable.” It also pointed out that under its proposal approximately 50% of the employes would pay nothing under the current health care costs. In comparison, under the Union’s proposal all employes would be required to pay part of the costs. The County concluded that the Union did not provide a quid pro quo for its proposed change.

With respect to quid pro quo, the Arbitrator reasoned that “(i)n the public sector, where employees are prohibited from striking to enforce their demands, the only way to achieve a substantial change . . . is to voluntarily persuade the other party to . . . agree thereto or if that fails, seek . . . arbitration. It is not therefore necessary that a quid pro quo always be offered by a party . . .” He opined that status quo and quid pro quo are but two of many considerations applicable to resolution of issues. The statutory factors along with the merits of the issues are equally relevant.

He acknowledged that the internal comparables favored the County and that the external comparables favored the Union and went on to conclude that “it appears that the union offer is better designed to spread the burden to both parties in the event of an increase in health care costs in a more equitable manner than is the county’s final offer.”

Based on these factors, Arbitrator Mueller selected the final offer of the Union.

Sheboygan County

Case 106 INT/ARB Dec. No. 25907-A (Reynolds, 01-12-90)

Union offer selected.

Sheboygan County (Department of Social Services)

Case 107 INT/ARB-5069 Dec. No. 25906-A (Reynolds, 01-12-90)

Union offer selected.

Sheboygan County (Sheriff’s Department)

Case 108 MIA-1359 Dec. No. 25913-A (Reynolds, 01-12-90)

Union offer selected.

Sheboygan County (Courthouse)

Case 109 INT/ARB-5079 Dec. No. 25909-A (Reynolds, 01-12-90)

Union offer selected.

Sheboygan County (Highway Department)

Case 110 INT/ARB-5080 Dec. No. 25910-A (Reynolds, 01-12-90)

Union offer selected.

Sheboygan County

Case 111 INT/ARB-5081 Dec. No. 25911-A (Reynolds, 01-12-90)

Union offer selected.

The key issue at impasse between the parties was that of health care costs.

The Union addressed this issue in three separate areas. First, it sought to remove the name of a single insurance carrier which would allow the Employer to “select any carrier so long as the benefit levels remain the same as that available under the present contract.”

Secondly, a language change that would limit each Union member to one family health plan per family. It appeared that the County would achieve a financial benefit from both of these provisions.

Lastly, the Union offered language to provide for a pre-admission review/certification firm to be chosen by the County but also granting the workers the protection of confidentiality and imposes a penalty not to exceed $150 per hospitalization upon any employe who fails the required procedure. Both parties seemed to agree that this area would have the most substantially positive impact upon costs.

The County addressed this issue in very similar manner to that of the Union but presented no firm date of implementation of the program.

The Arbitrator, in selecting the Union’s offer, reasoned as follows:

The two final offers relating to duplicate family health plans are substantially the same and either might be chosen. In selecting between them, preference must be given to that language which reduces the changes for conflict between the parties over interpretation. The weakness of the County’s final offer language is that it fails to make clear the date of implimentation (sic). Although no specific date is set forth in the Unions’ language, it is clear that the reduction plan will go into effect subsequent to this award and that the question of reimbursement will not arise. For this reason, the Union’s final offer language must be preferred.

As the above discussion of the County’s final offer states, the County’s language is not complete on the issue of pre-admission review and certification. At the hearing and in briefs, the County set forth a penalty regarding an employee’s failure to comply with the program. The Unions correctly criticized this as being outside the terms of the final offer. Adoption of the County’s language would surely raise issues of interpretation as to the nature of the program and penalty. It is in the best interest of the parties and the arbitration process itself to select that language which both satisfies the criteria relating to alterations in contract language and can be more easily interpreted by the parties in administering the contract provisions.

Marathon County (Health Department)

Case 149 INT/ARB-5220 Dec. No. 26030-A (Fleischli, 01-23-90)

Employer offer selected.

The most significant issue at dispute between the parties was over wages. Mileage was also in issue, but it was not outcome determinative.

The Union based its position on several factors, but primarily on the interests and welfare of the public. It also relied on internal and external comparables and COL. The Union argued that its proposal of a higher increase was in the best interest of the public because it was needed to both recruit and retain qualified employes. With respect to internal comparables, the Union points out that managers were given raises clearly exceeding the County’s offer here and other County settlements. Also, it is argued deputies were given a higher settlement. Externally, the Union compares the County to other counties its size and to comparables the County used for its managerial study. Further, the Union argues its offer more closely approximates increases in the CPI.

The County first argues that the appropriate comparables should be contiguous counties since that comprises the labor market pool. The County also argues that its position is more reasonable when viewed in light of the historical internal settlement pattern; since 1976 the settlement pattern has been in the 11 bargaining units. To grant the Union’s proposal would therefore be disruptive to further negotiations in the County. The County argues that deputies received more because they demonstrated a need for “catch up” and managers were given an “equity” adjustment. Here there is no demonstrated need for the general across-the-board increase or for position upgrades.

Initially, the Arbitrator noted that evidence strongly establishes a historical pattern for all 11 units. He noted, however, that there have been from time to time a deviation by giving split increases to create an additional lift. The Arbitrator concluded that under these circumstances he would be reluctant to accept a final offer by either party that significantly deviates from the pattern. Thus, there must be compelling evidence justifying such a deviation.

The Arbitrator concluded that if compelling evidence were to be found, it would have to be based on appropriate comparables. The Arbitrator did not find convincing the Union’s position with respect to managers and deputies. With respect to external comparables, the Arbitrator gave greater weight to proximity in view of the evidence substantiating the County’s claim that most recruiting and nearly all hiring occurs within a more localized labor market.

The Arbitrator concluded that the County’s offer was more reasonable when compared to comparables and that there was no evidence of a recruiting or retention problem.

Based on the above, the County’s offer was selected.

Janesville School District

Case 40 INT/ARB-5043 Dec. No. 26060-A (Slavney, 01-25-90)

Employer offer selected.

Issues in dispute between the District and clerical employes: subcontracting of unit work, leave days for Union business, changes relating to dues deduction, fair share, grievance procedure, furlough days, insurance, retirees’ insurance, and wages. Also, the parties are in dispute over what the appropriate comparables should be.

The Union argued that districts within a 50 mile radius should constitute the appropriate comparables while the District argued for a 30 mile radius as a determining factor. The Arbitrator selected the District’s within a 30 mile radius because that was determined appropriate just recently by an arbitrator’s award involving the District and its custodial and maintenance employes. The Arbitrator agreed the 30 mile radius was appropriate because employes hired are within that labor market.

Subcontracting: The Arbitrator found no persuasive reason to favor the Union’s broadly worded proposal. He noted that the District has utilized temporary help where there has been an increase in work load, but that no unit employes have ever suffered a loss of employment or hours.

Leave Days for Union Business: The current agreement contains no provision for leave for Union business. The Arbitrator concluded that the Union’s proposal was too broad in various respects and thus did not favor it for inclusion.

Dues Check-Off: The date changes proposed by both parties were determined to be minor. The Arbitrator favored the Union’s proposal because under the District’s proposal that if an employe who has authorized dues check-off after the deadline for submission would have to wait until the following submission date.

Fair Share: The Union proposed a fair-share provision while the District proposed such a fair-share only after a referendum in which a majority of eligible employes in the unit voted for same. The Arbitrator favored the Union’s proposal because the custodial and maintenance employes were given fair share without a referendum and because the District has knowledge that a majority of the employes in this unit favor a fair-share agreement.

Grievance Procedure: The Arbitrator concluded that neither proposal had an impact on his determination of this case.

Furlough Days: The Arbitrator favored the District’s proposal because the Union’s proposal would emasculate the District’s rights in this area and because the exercise of rights with regard to furlough days under the Union’s proposal by a number of employes requesting off identical furlough days could seriously interrupt the District’s educational program.

Insurance: The parties’ proposal deals with deductibles, dental and drug plan deductibles and retiree insurance. The parties agreed on the premium payments. The Union argued that only 64 of the unit’s 217 employes are covered by the District’s insurance plan and is therefore a “minority issue.” The Union argues it would be improper to consider the total package costs including the insurance costs when most of the employes do not receive the insurance benefits.

Conclusion: The Arbitrator noted that he favored certain proposals of the Union as well as the District. Had these been the only issues, he speculated that the parties would have settled. In selecting the District’s final offer, the Arbitrator reasoned as follows:

The issues arising out of the proposals generating monetary costs have the greatest impact, by far, on the Arbitrator’s determination. While the Union’s proposal relating to wage increases, standing alone, results in costs which are closest to the cost of living, however the total costs resulting from the implementation of both offers must be considered. It is quite apparent to the Arbitrator that the District’s offer, rather than that of the Union, is the more reasonable when considering and applying the statutory criteria.

City of Merrill (Department of Public Works)

Case 41 INT/ARB-5035 Dec. No. 26194-A (Johnson, 02-05-90)

Union offer selected.

Two issues are in dispute: wages and holidays.

Initially, the Arbitrator addressed and resolved inaccuracies in the settlement figures offered by the parties. Also, there was a slight disagreement over comparables. However not all of the comparables had settled or resolved their 1990 wages. Based on what was available, the Arbitrator concluded that the comparables favored the Union’s proposal on wages. He also compared the parties’ offers to settlements in the private sector but concluded that “the information presented to me concerning this factor of the statute cannot be given sufficient weight in my consideration so as to change my conclusion that the Union proposal on wages is preferable . . .”

With respect to holidays, the Union proposed one additional holiday. There was a dispute of how this unit compared with other units in terms of total holidays. The Arbitrator concluded that the police-firefighter units were receiving an additional one-half day more of paid holidays regardless of what they were called in the police and firefighter contracts. The Arbitrator, in finding the Union’s proposal on holidays more reasonable, commented as follows: “I would have preferred that the Union in this case had proposed an additional half day holiday, but perhaps the parties who created the inequity, and appeared to conceal it by calling the extra holiday a Kelly Day, should deal with the resulting inequity on a half day in favor of the DPW unit.”

The Arbitrator selected the Union’s final offer.

City of Kaukauna

Case 48 INT/ARB-5193 Dec. No. 26092-A (Vernon, 02-05-90)

Employer offer selected.

Only one issue remained in dispute: health insurance for retirees.

The Employer had unilaterally adopted a policy providing health insurance for retirees in the mid-1970s and is now proposing to cut back on the range of recipients and costs to the City because of increasing premiums. The Union responded by arguing that the insurance should be continued and also proposed an improvement.

The Union argued that the Employer’s proposal was a “take away,” thereby implying that the Employer had the burden of justifying its move of changing status quo. But the Arbitrator concluded that the Employer had no special burden because health insurance for retirees was unilaterally, without bargaining, established and does not appear in the contract.

The Arbitrator determined the issue relying on comparables with those performing similar services and with other public employes in the same and comparable communities. The Arbitrator concluded that there simply was no support of the Union’s position among comparables.

Further, contrary to the Union’s contention, the Arbitrator did not find any concessions in the wage settlement between the parties.

In selecting the Employer’s offer, the Arbitrator concluded that its proposal reasonably addressed the retiree health insurance need.

City of Kaukauna (Police Department)

Case 47 MIA-1402 Dec. No. 26061-A (Petrie, 02-08-90)

Employer offer selected.

Two issues remained at the time of impasse: health insurance and wages.

The Employer proposed changing from WPS-HMO to WPS Careshare which has annual deductibles of $200 per individual and $400-600 per family. The Employer agreed to pay the full monthly premium for the individuals and up to a dollar amount for families. The Employer relied on the increasing cost of health care, ability to pay, and the interests and welfare of the public. The Employer argued its position compared well with the comparables.

The Association argued to continue the status quo which had the Employer paying 95% of the premiums for both individual and family coverage under the WPS-HMO plan. The Association claimed their position better supported the interests and welfare of the public by “maintaining the morale of the officers.” They further claimed that the City certainly has the ability to meet the costs of Association’s offer. The comparables do not support the Employer’s demand while the cost of living supports that of the Association.

On the issue of wages, the Employer proposed a slightly higher offer than the Association to provide a quid pro quo because it was an “offer in excess of the pattern among comparable employers.”

The Association had based their offer on comparables and the cost-of-living criteria, but as a result of the Employer’s higher offer, they wished to emphasize the importance of the health insurance issue.

The Arbitrator and the parties agreed that the case should be determined by the health insurance issue.

The Arbitrator acknowledged that trying to control health costs is very much the issue of the day and found significant that the Employer was only seeking modest changes. Because of the modest nature of proposed changes, the Arbitrator discounted the importance of relying on comparables. He was more impressed with the lack of great impact on the Employer and disagreed with the Union that the morale of employes would be significantly altered. Further, he was not impressed with a “police-fire” parity argument reasoning that “party” considerations have been absent from the arbitration process in recent years.

With respect to wages, the Arbitrator favored the higher offer of the Employer since he favored the health insurance off of the Employer.

The Employer’s offer was selected.

City of Kaukauna (Department of Public Works)

Case 45 INT/ARB-5152 Dec. No. 26074-A (Reynolds, 02-09-90)

Union offer selected.

The issues involved are health insurance and wages.

The Employer has offered the Union two benefits in exchange for a change in health insurance coverage. The Employer has offered to pay all plan deductibles under the new health insurance plan which would result in a potential benefit of $50 for each person. Also, the Employer has offered more wage increases than proposed by the Union. The Employer in exchange wants to eliminate the current HMP insurance choice in favor of the current Careshare plan. Careshare coverage is not as broad as the HMP plan and has a higher deductible which the Employer will pick up. By converting the Employer believes it will reduce its cost substantially.

The Union’s position is “Don’t give us a wage increase we don’t want and use the savings to buy health insurance benefits we do want.”

The Arbitrator concludes as follows:

The City of Kaukauna has made a well-reasoned and responsible final offer. It has not attempted to solve the very real problem of health care costs at the expense of its employes.

On the other hand, the Union is correct in its assertion that continuation of HMP would be largely paid for by adoption of its lower wage request. The benefit level is so attractive to the employes that they would prefer to give up a substantial wage increase under this contract and the step up in wages to be in force at the beginning of bargaining for its next contract to retain those benefits.

In light of the substantial reduction in benefits under the City’s offer, the final offer of the Union is found to be the more reasonable and will be adopted here.

Village of Little Chute

Case 26 INT/ARB-5218 Dec. No. 26137-A (Imes, 02-14-90)

Union offer selected.

Both parties have proposed 4% in wages in each of the two years. The only issue is over insurance. The parties also disagreed over what constitutes the appropriate comparables. With respect to the latter, the Arbitrator considered geographic proximity, size, sources of funding, bargaining history and economic base in resolving their differences. Also the Arbitrator noted that the law was amended to consider “all similar employees” but that this had to be balanced against the Legislature’s intent that such comparisons be considered as they would “normally or traditionally” be considered. Thus, all comparables were considered.

The insurance issue centers on the extent to which employes should share in the cost of providing health insurance during 1989 and 1990. The Village, proposing employe cost-sharing, seeks to no longer pay the entire cost of the health insurance premium and offers to pay a dollar amount equal to 93% of the total cost of the premium in 1989 and to contribute 90% of the premium cost in 1990. The Union seeks to retain the status quo.

Since the Employer is seeking a change in status quo, the burden is upon the Employer to prove that a quid pro quo has been offered or that the change has been made among others without a quid pro quo.

The Arbitrator concluded that the Union’s offer is more reasonable “since the Village was unable to meet the burden of proof needed to meet a change in the status quo. The Village is able to show that it did secure a similar change from its police bargaining unit, is able to show that cost-sharing is supported by the comparables and is able to show that its 4% increase in wage proposal is slightly higher than the settlement pattern for 1989 among the primary and secondary comparables. It is unable to show, however, that it seeks to establish similar benefits among its groups of employes, that other efforts to reduce the rise in cost of health insurance premiums have been made and rejected, that its costs are rising disproportionately higher than the costs among the comparables or that its offer for the first year of the two-year contract is sufficient to establish a quid pro quo for the cost-sharing changes it seeks in the two-year agreement. Based upon these conclusions, the record as a whole and consideration of the statutory criteria which is set forth in 111.70, Wis. Stats., the Arbitrator selected the Union’s final offer.”

Brown County (Department of Social Services)

Case 400 INT/ARB-5274 Dec. No. 26180-A (Chatman, 02-17-90)

Employer offer selected.

Two issues: wages and long-term disability.

The Arbitrator found the wage issue to be the determinative issue. There was a dispute over appropriate comparables. The Arbitrator used all of the comparables (7) offered by both parties. The Arbitrator relied on comparisons with “comparable employes” in public employment, similar public employment, and private employment in the same or comparable communities. He reasoned as follows:

The evaluation of the final offers of the parties utilizing those counties deemed comparable by the disputants presents some questions on standards of comparison. Also, in utilizing the guidelines of Sec. 111.70(4)7 as a means of equity in the decision making process, some generally accepted standard of data ought to be utilized. This Arbitrator elects to utilize the per capita income for the compared counties for the following reasons:

1. They are consistent external data, uninfluenced by variances of county budget, or political needs.

2. Per-capita income figures satisfy the standards for wage, hour, and terms of condition comparisons of (4) other municipal employes providing similar service, (5) other public employes in the comparison area, (6) other employes in private industries.

3. Wage settlements and wage offers of various counties can be utilized as ratios against changes in the projected per-capita income for consistent comparisons.

An examination of the data shows that the average wage increase raised the per capita ratio by 3.75% for all the settled counties. The requested increases by the unsettled counties of Brown would have raised the per capita ratio 3.80% by the County, and 4.80% by the Association. The respective figures for Marathon County were 3.70% by the County, and 5.66% by the Association. The average of all compared counties was 3.20%. The data indicates that a wage increase in the range of 3.75% to be the most favorable to maintaining the existing relationship among comparable counties.

A wage increase in this ratio range would preserve the existing rank of the employe group among their peers in comparable counties. This wage increase would maintain an existing ratio with employes in the same community, in both the public and private sector. Finally, this wage increase is at or above the average annual increase per capita for all the comparable counties over the period 1981-1988.

The Association’s argument that other counties’ employes engaged in similar occupations requested or received a greater percentage wage increase then requested in this instance is noted but not deemed meritorious to the issue. The Arbitrator’s rationale in considering this argument is that no recognition is given to the corpus upon which the percentage increase is based. It is essentially for this reason that a ratio is established against a common reference point of individual county per capita income. A second consideration could have been given had there been some demonstration of extraordinary circumstances by either County or Association. Since no extraordinary circumstances were presented there is no consideration. For the above reasons the County’s final offer is most acceptable.

Oak Creek-Franklin School District

Case 45 INT/ARB-5168 Dec. No. 26034-A (Reynolds, 02-22-90)

Union offer selected.

Two issues: wages and sick leave reinstatement.

Employes now who accumulate at least 35 days of sick leave can go out on sick leave and upon return to work have one-half of their accumulated sick leave (at time of illness) restored. Thus, employes use the sick leave reinstatement instead of using long-term disability insurance, thereby making long-term disability virtually useless.

The Arbitrator resolved the dispute considering the two issues as a total package.

The Arbitrator noted that the sick leave reinstatement premium has been in existence for this unit for a long period of time. Further, the same benefit is enjoyed by the teachers and clerical employes and they will continue to receive the benefit during the term of this contract. Under this criteria, the Union’s offer is more reasonable.

The Arbitrator reasoned that because it is the District seeking a change the District had the burden of showing that a change is needed; that the proposed language change would remedy the situation and that the language change would not unreasonably burden the other party. He concluded that the District’s proposed language would remedy the situation complained of but concluded that the present contract language did not give rise to conditions that require a change and that the change proposed did in fact impose an unreasonable burden on the Union. He so concluded because there was only one cited abuse of the present sick leave reinstatement provision and because other units, including unrepresented administrators, continue to receive the benefit that the District proposes to take away from the unit. Therefore, no showing of need for change, and such a change would create an unreasonable burden in this unit where others continue to receive the benefit.

Further, the Arbitrator concluded that Company total wage/benefit packages with comparables does not support the change right of the District.

Based on the above, the Arbitrator selected the Union’s final offer.

West Allis-West Milwaukee School District

Case 62 INT/ARB-5215 Dec. No. 26089-B (Yaffe, 02-24-90)

Union offer selected.

Issue: insurance.

The District proposes to change its carrier and become “a participating local government employer under the Wisconsin Public Employers’ Group Health Insurance Program (‘State Program’).” The Association proposes no change of its current health insurance program. The Employer argues that it needs this change to reduce cost and therefore is supported by the interests and welfare of the public. The Union argues that the Employer’s offer could cost a teacher with family coverage who works to select his/her own physician under the WPS standard plan, $1,008.96 per year.

The Arbitrator opined that both offers are unreasonable. The Union’s position is unreasonable because it essentially ignores the real significance of the insurance problem. It is totally unreasonable based upon the severity of the problems raised by the Employer which are supported by record evidence.

On the other hand the Employer proposes upon the parties a health insurance plan significantly different from anything the parties have ever negotiated in the past, that requires teachers wishing insurance coverage most comparable to the standard plan currently available to them to contribute toward the premium associated with such coverage an amount significantly greater than the amount of contribution required of any other teacher group in the area. Also, the Employer’s proposal failed to convince the Arbitrator that the somewhat unique solution it has proposed fairly addresses the legitimate teacher concerns expressed by the Union and it fails to address the issue of long-term health cost containment in a very meaningful fashion.

Thus, the Arbitrator stated he was faced with two unreasonable alternatives to a very real and significant problem. Of the two unreasonable alternatives, the Arbitrator decided to opt for the status quo for the remainder of the academic year. This choice was made in order to afford the parties at least one opportunity in the near future (a few months away) to address the issue herein. He concluded that there is not a clear showing of absolute necessity to the present. But he opined that if the Union continues in the next round of negotiations to be as unresponsive to the issue as it was in this final offer, the Employer’s position next time, in his view, would be deemed much more meritorious the next time around.

Jackson County (Courthouse)

Case 66 INT/ARB-5183 Dec. No. 26079-A (Kerkman, 03-01-90)

Employer offer selected.

Issues: wages, the appropriate classification for Watershed Technician and County Conservationist and management rights language. (The County proposes to maintain present language and the Union proposes to limit contracting out if it results in layoff of employes.)

Initially the Arbitrator had to resolve a dispute over appropriate comparables. The County was seeking to change the comparables established and relied upon by previous arbitrators. The Arbitrator concluded to adopt the same comparables as established previously because no compelling reason for using different comparables was established.

With respect to the wage issue, the Arbitrator found that “. . . the internal and external patterns of settlement support the Employer’s final wage offer; that the external wage rate comparisons favor neither party’s offer; that the internal wage rate comparisons establish an inequity in the rates paid to certain clerical workers in this unit compared to rates paid to clerical workers in the Human Services Department, but that the Union offer fails to address this inequity with precision; that the external comparisons of total compensation fail to establish a preference for either party’s final offer; that the County offer more precisely meets the cost of living criteria than does the Union offer; and that the interests and welfare of the public criteria carries little weight . . .” because the County found the wherewithal to pay certain clerical employes in another unit and elected officials in excess of the Union offer here. Based on these findings, the Arbitrator concluded that the wage offer of the County is preferred over the offer of the Union.

As to the management rights/subcontracting issue the Arbitrator concluded that the Union’s offer was more reasonable, even though the Union lost this issue in arbitration before, because since that award the Employer has included this same language in a first agreement with employes in the Highway Department with evidence of a unique need for such an agreement.

Finally, with the classification issue the Arbitrator found the Employer’s offer more reasonable with rates when compared to comparable counties.

The Arbitrator summarized his Award as follows:

In the preceding sections of this Award, the Arbitrator has concluded that the wage offer of the Employer is preferred over that of the Union; and that the evidence supports the Union offer in the subcontracting issue; and that the Employer offer is preferred in the Watershed Technician issue. The Arbitrator believes that the Employer offer should be adopted in its entirety for several reasons. First, the wage issue is the most important of the issues, and, therefore, carries the remaining issues with it. Second, the Employer has prevailed in two of the three disputed issues. Third, while the Union prevailed on the subcontracting issue, there is no evidence to suggest that subcontracting is contemplated by the Employer during the term of this Agreement, or that layoffs might ensue.

Based on the above, the Arbitrator selected the Union’s final offer.

Adams County (Sheriff’s Department)

Case 55 MIA-1419 Dec. No. 26051-A (Nielsen, 03-03-90)

Union offer selected.

Issues: wages, health insurance, pay range for Secretary/Receptionist position, work schedule for the Secretary/Receptionist and duration.

The Arbitrator concluded as follows:

Review of the evidence reveals a closely balanced case. The County’s position on scheduling the Secretary/Receptionist, while flawed, is preferable to the position of the Association, as the latter prevents flexible scheduling in a position created to be flexible. On the issue of payment for the Secretary/Receptionist, it is the Association that has the preferable proposal. The County’s position on that issue ignores the substantial overlap of duties performed by the Secretary/Receptionist and those performed by more highly compensated unit employees.

The Association’s status quo offer on insurance issues is preferable in light of the County’s failure to justify its higher deductible on prescription drugs, and the lack of any quid pro quo for the changes sought in both prescription drug benefits and liability for pre-existing conditions.

The issue of wages cuts in the County’s favor, as the Association has not made a persuasive case for catch-up increases beyond the amount suggested by the external settlements and the Courthouse settlement. The County’s offer of 3.5% in 1989 is more consistent with the settlement pattern than is the Association’s offer of 4%. There is little in the way of guidance for 1990, but the one internal settlement in the Courthouse unit suggests that the County’s offer is not unreasonable.

The wage proposals are fairly evenly balanced. Over a one year period the more reasonable proposal of the Association on wages for the Secretary/Receptionist would cost approximately $2,000, while the more reasonable proposal of the County on overall wage rates would save $2,600. The potential cost to employees of the unwarranted prescription drug change sought by the County, while unlikely to reach its maximum of $2160, serves to further balance the economic aspects of the two offers. The insurance question was identified by the parties during this process as having the greatest importance of all of the items in dispute. The undersigned reluctantly agrees. This reluctance flows from the conviction that the Association’s proposal on hours for the Secretary/Receptionist is truly unfair to the County, and awarding the Association’s offer on the basis of the insurance issues necessarily requires selection of the Association’s scheduling proposal as well. This problem, however, is inherent in the whole offer, final offer process. It is mitigated somewhat by the fact that the one year proposal of the Association allows for immediate commencement of bargaining to correct the problems in the hours provision awarded herein.

Based on the above, the Arbitrator selected the Union’s final offer.

City of Menasha (Water and Light Commission)

Case 74 INT/ARB-5128 Dec. No. 26091-A (Fleischli, 03-05-90)

Union offer selected.

Three issues in dispute: the timing and size of wage increases to be granted during the two years of the agreement; a proposed change in the procedure for exercising vacation preferences; and a proposed change in the contribution to be made by the Commission toward the cost of hospital and surgical insurance.

The parties agree that by far the most important issue is the insurance issue. With respect to wages the parties “lift” for two years is about the same but the Union’s “cost” for two years is about $30,000 (without roll-ups) less because of its split increase proposal. As to the vacation issue, the Union seeks to change the selection procedure to assure selection by seniority if selected by April 1 and thereafter on first-come, first-served basis. The Commission proposes to maintain current contract language which is more flexible.

Under the terms of the expired agreement, the Commission paid 100% of the premiums. During bargaining the parties knew the insurance premium was going to increase by 27% in 1989. After final offers and one day prior to the hearing the parties learned there would be an additional 36% increase in premium for 1990. Under the Union’s offer the Commission will have to pay for the entire increase in 1989 and 1990. Under the Commission’s offer it would pick up the full cost of the 1989 increases and the employes would pick up the entire increase in 1990. The second year increase in insurance premiums exceeds the value of the employes’ second year increase.

The Arbitrator, in resolving the dispute, would not consider the positions taken by the parties in mediation, as requested by the Commission, because to do so “. . . would have a tendency to chill the parties’ willingness to participate in such voluntary mediation, or, worse yet, it might encourage them to engage in sham participation.” The Arbitrator reasoned he had to make a choice based on which one is most reasonable under statutory criteria even though both offers may contain elements which are unreasonable.

Also the Arbitrator did not select the comparables advanced by the Commission even though the Union offered no set of comparables because he felt it was important that the parties come to a joint understanding as to appropriate external comparables in order to encourage stability in the bargaining relationship. He also felt in this case a selection of comparables for purposes of the wage issue would not have a support impact on the outcome.

After analyzing the wage issue the Arbitrator concluded that if it were not for the insurance issue the wage issue would have been settled thus convincing the Arbitrator that the determinative issue, as agreed by the parties, is the insurance issue.

With respect to the health insurance issue, the Arbitrator notes that even though Commission’s final offer would produce a harsh result, the Union’s position is hardly reasonable either. The Union holds to a very desirable health plan under circumstances where continued efforts to do so are unrealistic. However, he notes that the Union did offer to help pay for it by delaying increases and thus proposing a package that costs less than the Commission’s. The Arbitrator concluded as follows:

While it could be aruged that neither offer serves the interests and welfare of the public very well, the Union’s offer succeeds in “buying time,” while maintaining relative parity with city employees as to wage increases and health insurance benefits.

For all of these reasons, the undersigned concludes that overall, the Union’s offer on health insurance, which is tied into its offer on wages, should be selected under the statutory criteria. However, the undersigned would like to emphasize his belief that the Union’s offer merely “buys time” so that the parties can have yet another opportunity to deal seriously with the health insurance issue. In doing so, a study committee mechanism, like that suggested by the Employer in its final offer, or perhaps one including city units, might be helpful. Perhaps it is possible for the Employer to make arrangements to be included in the city group and/or achieve some form of longer term stability in premiums through joint negotiations with WPS.

While not controlling the Arbitrator found the Union’s vacation proposal more reasonable. The Arbitrator did not find that the Union had to establish a quid pro quo because like insurance it “is in the mutual interest of both parties to deal with problems of the type addressed by the Union’s offer in connection with vacation scheduling.” The Arbitrator concluded that the Commission has pointed to no adverse consequences of the Union’s proposal while on the other hand the new deadline proposed by the Union would add to stability in scheduling.

Based on the above, the Union’s offer was selected.

Oneida County (Sheriff’s Department)

Case 65 MIA-1423 Dec. No. 26116-A (Gundermann, 03-05-90)

Employer offer selected.

The only issue in dispute is wages. The Union’s wage increase proposal results in a 5% lift with a cost of 3.09% (which is lower than the County’s) and the County’s proposal results in a 4% lift and a 3.5% cost.

The Union argues that it needs to catch up when compared to City of Rhinelander police and all counties in northeastern Wisconsin with the exception of Menominee (not represented), Marinette (size) and Florence (size). The Union argues that internal comparables should not control given the “catch-up” situation.

The County argues that the internal pattern established by voluntary settlements with the Highway and Courthouse units and offered here should result in the acceptance of the County’s offer. With respect to external comparables the County argues that only surrounding counties should be used and further claims that when longevity and educational allowances are also considered in addition to wages, the Oneida officers compare well.

The Arbitrator reasoned that internal comparables should be given significant weight unless the party seeking to break the pattern can establish a justifiable reason to be treated differently. Here the internal comparables clearly favor the County. In concluding same the Arbitrator did not find it significant that the internal comparable settlements were for two years. The Arbitrator noted that the Union seeks to justify its offer on the basis of catch-up but was not able to make a case.

The Arbitrator concluded that the County’s offer for 1989 equals or exceeds in both lift and cost most of the offers of those employers deemed comparable by the Association from 1989. None of the comparables have given a lift of 5%, the amount sought by the Union. Finally, the Arbitrator concluded that under the County’s offer, as well as the Union’s, the County will improve its relative standing among those counties the Union considers to be comparable, and it will improve its position relative to Rhinelander.

Based on the above, the Arbitrator selected the County’s final offer.

Marathon County (Department of Social Services)

Case 148 INT/ARB-5219 Dec. No. 26028-A (Stern, 02-26-90)

Employer offer selected.

Issue: wages and mileage reimbursement.

In support of their positions the parties rely on different comparables. The County relies on comparables selected by an arbitrator in a 1981 arbitration case. The Union relied on comparables used by the County in 1988 to readjust to salaries of department heads. The County comparables are all counties contiguous to Marathon County plus neighboring counties of Price, Chippewa and Eau Claire. The Union comparables are based primarily on population and equalized value.

The Arbitrator concluded that there existed significant differences in this dispute which warrant a review of the comparables historically relied upon. First, the County, in determining fair salaries for department heads in 1988, used population size and equalized valuation as a basis for selecting comparables. Second, the Union does not rely upon the largest twenty counties as it did in 1981, but instead accepts the criterion and counties used by the County in 1988. For purposes of this dispute the Arbitrator used as comparables the four larger nearby counties used in the 1981 dispute and four closer counties that are comparable to Marathon County based on population and equalized value. The Arbitrator noted that these are not “untouchables” to be honored in all future disputes. He encouraged the parties to voluntarily agree to a set of comparables for future cases.

Based on external comparables, the Arbitrator found the County’s offer more reasonable and in line with comparable increases. He found no support for a “catch-up” increase when the classification of Social Worker I is compared. There is support for “catch-up” for Social Worker II, but because he must select one offer or the other he cannot do something different for the Social Worker II and IIIs like he would like to.

With respect to internal comparables, there are eleven other units. Four have not settled. Six of the seven that have settled have settled for the County’s package. The seventh settled with a reviewed pay structure. The total population of the six units which settled for the County’s offer was 549 with 110 not settled and one unit of 50 employes with a new pay system.

The Union argues that the deputy sheriff settlement and the Park Department settlement broke the pattern and therefore this unit should be freed of the pattern. The Arbitrator was not convinced that classification adjustments in these two units provides justification for a higher general increase for this unit of social workers. Nor does the magnitude of adjustments made for eleven of the twenty-two department heads justify that the professional social workers deserve an across-the-board increase of 5.4% as proposed by the Union. In conclusion the Arbitrator was not convinced that the special one-time extra increases for 58 of the 599 employes who have settled warrants the across-the-board increase proposed by the Union which clearly breaks the established pattern.

With respect to the mileage issue, the Arbitrator made no findings because of its relative unimportance compared to the wage issue.

Marathon County (Courthouse)

Case 150 INT/ARB-5221 Dec. No. 26035-A (Stern, 02-26-90)

Issues: wages, mileage reimbursement, upgrade of certain (3) zoning office positions by providing a one-time $1,000 salary increase, payment for accumulated compensatory time off, and 15 minutes compensatory time for phone calls related to the placement of juveniles. However, the parties stipulated that the last two issues (the compensatory time issues) should be treated by the Arbitrator as separate final offer disputes subject to the normal procedures and the criteria in Section 111.70(4)(cm)7, Wis. Stats.

The parties disagree over the appropriate comparables. The County relies on the comparables selected by an arbitrator in 1981. The Union relies on comparables used by the County in 1988 to readjust the salaries of department heads. The County arrived at these comparables on the basis of population size and equalized valuation. The Arbitrator concluded that comparables reflecting size as well as proximity should be used in this dispute. The Arbitrator constructed a panel of comparables consisting of four larger nearly counties used in 1981 and four of the closer counties that are comparable on the basis of population and equalized value. The Arbitrator does not regard these as “untouchables” to be honored by the parties in future disputes.

With respect to external comparables, the Arbitrator concluded that it is impossible to make meaningful comparisons. There is only one classification in the professional courthouse unit that is sufficiently populated to warrant a classification comparison and neither party provided data to make a meaningful comparison.

As to comparable settlements, salary increases of professionals is limited. But from what information there is, there is greater support for the County’s position.

Both parties rely on internal comparables. The County claims its offer constitutes the established pattern among the other eleven groups of County employes. The Union claims that the Deputy Sheriff settlement and the Park Department settlement broke the pattern. The Arbitrator was not convinced that the deviations in those two units which represented 58 of the 599 total County employes who have settled warrants the across-the-board increase for the professional Courthouse Department in excess of the 3% and 2% plus 2% pattern.

Having to choose one of the two final offers, the Arbitrator found that internal comparables lend greater support for the County’s offer.

The Arbitrator stated that he considered the other statutory criteria but non provided reason to outweigh the internal comparables. Also, he made no findings with respect to the mileage issue because it is relatively unimportant to the wage issue which he found determinative with respect to the upgrade issue. The Arbitrator concluded that on the whole there was not a strong case in support of the upgrade based on comparables. He found that the parties’ positions were relatively even and thus did not affect the decision determined by the findings on the salary issue.

Thus the County’s position was selected.

Compensatory Time Issue: (separate issue)

The Arbitrator selected the County’s final offer based on the following:

Under Article 5,A.3.e. comp time accumulation is limited to 24 hours for the week day staff and 40 hours for the weekend staff. Jim Schweter explained that the Shelter Home Workers would prefer to take time over the maximum in the form of cash rather than comp time. The Agreement recommends that comp time for weekend shift coverage be taken during the week prior to or following weekend coverage. It also states that comp time will be taken at the mutual convenience of the worker and the Unit Supervisor (Art. 5,A.3.e).

No testimony was presented to show employees were not taking comp time promptly and why they were accumulating the maximum time allowed and then being forced to take time off to bring them under the maximum. Nor was any testimony presented about the practice in external comparables. In the absence of testimony showing that the present system causes a hardship for employees or is administered unfairly, the arbitrator will reject this proposal. In doing so, however, the arbitrator wishes to make clear that he does so without endorsing the arguments advanced by the County that the employees must tender a quid pro quo or that the Union has the burden of proof.

In interest arbitration, in determining whether an economic benefit should be changed, as in a wage or benefit dispute, there is no burden of proof on the petitioning party. The parties share the burden equally. Nor is a quid pro quo necessary in situations where the Union is seeking catch up or a pattern increase. Where a Union seeks a greater than usual benefit in one category it may accept a lesser benefit in another. This could be considered a trade off or quid pro quo. In the dispute seeking payment in cash of comp time in excess of an agreed upon maximum, no evidence was introduced to show the need for a quid pro quo.

Non-Compensated Phone Calls: (separate issue)

The Union seeks 15 minutes comp time for calls relating to placement of juveniles. Now calls which result in placements or detentions are compensated at a rate of 15 minutes of comp time, but calls which did not result in placement or detention are not compensated.

The County argues that the Union bears the burden of proof and must show a quid pro quo. The Arbitrator rejected, as he did with the burden of proof and quid pro quo arguments, the comp time accumulation issue.

The Arbitrator concluded that he believed that the workers should be paid for business calls whether or not they result in placement or detention. However, the Arbitrator did not select the Union’s offer because (1) there is no information produced about the practice in comparable communities, and (2) he did not know whether 15 minutes is a fair estimate of the time taken to handle calls that do not result in placement or detention. However, he put the County on notice that the Employer’s practice of not compensating cannot continue if it has gone beyond the de minimus point.

Based on the above, the County’s offer was selected.

Waushara County (Health Department)

Case 33 INT/ARB-5142 Dec. No. 26111-A (Bellman, 03-14-90)

The parties are in dispute over: application of “comp time or pay,” contracting out of work, outside employment and wages.

The Arbitrator noted that this is a case where both final offers include unappealing elements. In reaching his decision, the most influencing determinative factor was that the Employer’s compulsion to the concept of uniformity. He reasoned as follows:

Indeed its primary contention on behalf of nearly every element of its proposal is “internal” comparability. It is striving, apparently, for substantially identical collective bargaining agreements, revised only by measures that are also substantially identical.

In the view of the undersigned this “theme” in the County’s position should be rejected. Its appeal to ease of administration and ease of presentation to political leadership is apparent. But it seems to value a certain tidiness over much more profound principles.

Thus, comparing percentages of wage increases ignores the fact that various categories of employees are already at various wage levels. Where relatively low paid employees receive an increase that is materially below the increase in the cost of living, it is form-over-substance to describe them as treated equally to higher paid employees who received the same percentage increase.

Secondly, such uniformity among various units ignores the differences among labor markets. Nurses and highway workers are not within a single labor market nor do they share the same supply and demand ratios. Presumably, labor market analysis is a primary factor in determining appropriate wage and benefits levels.

Third, the very essence of separate bargaining units is allowing employees with varying communities of interest to speak to wage, hours and working conditions distinctly. This may ultimately produce many similar and even identical agreements, but placing a very high value on uniformity subordinates the public policy that justifies the units to the desire for simplicity.

The Employer’s pursuit of “consistency” seems especially excessive in the case of its outside employment proposal. For no other apparent reason it would intrude upon the employees’ private circumstances, and even suggest disciplinary measures.

In the judgment of the Arbitrator the thrust of the County’s principle and pervasive argument is that its proposals should be sustained because they reflect “how things are done” by the County. “Internal comparables” is, in such a case, merely a euphemism that obscures an approach that seems antithetical to sound collective bargaining.

Based on the above, the Employer’s offer was selected.

West DePere School District

Case 25 INT/ARB-5252 Dec. No. 26140-A (Fleischli, 03-27-90)

Employer offer selected.

There are essentially five issues in dispute. They are: (1) the question of whether the health insurance carrier and dental insurance carrier and their plan numbers should be identified in the agreement, as proposed by the Association; (2) the question of whether a new provision, calling for compensation for teaching a sixth class should provide for payment equal to one-sixth of the BA base salary, as proposed by the District, or one-sixth of the teacher’s base salary, as proposed by the Association and what other limitations should apply; (3) the nature and extent of the modifications in the provisions of the agreement dealing with early retirement which should be made, in light of changes in the law pertaining to early retirement; (4) the percentage increase which should be applied to the 1988-1989 salary schedule in each of the two years of the agreement; and (5) the base figure which should be utilized for purposes of computing extra duty co-curricular payments in each of the two years of the agreement.

Of the five issues, three–insurance, early retirement and wages–were considered to be the most significant. The workload and extra-duty issues were discussed but were not controlling.


The present language requires the employer to contribute 100% of the single plan premium and 95% of the family plan premium of the health insurance premium and 100% of the dental plan premium.

There is no language with respect to the carrier or benefits or the parties’ respective rights with respect to change.

After expiration of the last agreement the Employer selected and contracted with a new carrier. The Employer proposes no change in the wording of the contract provisions.

The Union proposes to include in the contractual language the name of the insurance carriers and plan members for both the health and dental plans.

The Arbitrator notes that it is the Union that is proposing a significant change in status quo. The Union makes its proposal because it seeks to have the Employer bargain before changing insurance carriers. The Arbitrator noted that the issues of whether the Employer has a duty to bargain under existing language depends on whether the WERC or courts would conclude that the Union by said agreement has waived its right to bargain over change of insurance carriers. The Arbitrator reasoned that maybe what is more important is whether there is a reason to believe the Employer will change carriers during the term of the agreement. The Arbitrator concluded that the Union has the burden since it is proposing to change status quo and that since the evidence will not support a finding of past abuse by the Employer it would appear that the Union has failed to meet a significant part of its burden in this case. Further, the Union’s proposal is not supported by the relevant comparables. Thus, the Arbitrator found the Employer’s proposal more reasonable.

Early Retirement:

Of the three significant issues, the Arbitrator found this issue to be the most significant. There is a major difference in final offers, and the selection of either offer will have a significant impact on those teachers who are eligible for early retirement. The Arbitrator evaluated the two offers as follows:

A careful comparison of the two proposals discloses that the Board’s proposal could easily be described as “modest,” while the Union’s proposal could easily be described as “generous.” The Board’s proposal recognizes the right of teachers to retire early under the new law and continues their eligibility to participate in the health and dental insurance plans until age 65. Further, it continues to provide up to 35 months of health insurance benefits on the same basis as if they were working and adds an additional 24 months of potential benefits, through the formula payment. As a practical matter, this combination will no doubt provide full health insurance benefits for a period one month short of five years for any employees retiring under the term of the current agreement (provided they have sufficient sick leave in their account). On the other hand, those teachers who retire early during the statutory “window” or the rule of 87, prior to reaching age 60, will have to pay for their own health insurance coverage for up to five years or three years, respectively, unless they obtain such coverage through employment elsewhere. Further, as was the case before, all retirees will be required to obtain their own dental insurance or pay their own dental expenses, unless they obtain such coverage through employment elsewhere.

The Arbitrator, in the end, favored the Employer’s offer because the Union did not offer a satisfactory quid pro quo for its generous proposal nor was there compelling evidence among comparables to support its position.


Of the three significant issues the Arbitrator found this to be the least significant. The difference between the two offers is not great (.3% first year and .4% the second year), and in all likelihood the parties could have resolved their differences had it not been for the difference over insurance and early retirement.

The Union argues its offer should be favored primarily based on “catch-up.” The Arbitrator does not believe the Union made a strong case for catch-up, but he found certain evidence does support the Union’s position. For this reason he concluded the Union’s offer more reasonable, even though the balance of the evidence and arguments of both parties would otherwise result in a “draw” or “close call.” He found that if the Employer’s offer were selected the BA minimum would be $236 below the average of the five conference settlements while the Union’s offer would trim the figure by $52.

Based on the above and because the insurance and early retirement issues were more significant than the salary issue, the Arbitrator selected the Employer’s final offer.

Two Rivers Public School District

Case 23 INT/ARB-5286 Dec. No. 26128-A (Bessman, 03-31-90)

Employer offer selected.

The sole issue in dispute is wages. The parties disagree over appropriate comparables. The District argued that the eleven districts used as comparables used in four previous arbitrations should be used while the Association offered six groupings of comparables as examples of patterns and trends in the teaching profession. The Arbitrator acknowledged that the statute was changed in 1986 removing the limitation of comparables to comparable communities. Notwithstanding same, the Arbitrator noted that arbitrators have been reluctant to abandon established comparables unless there have been changes in intervening years. This is so to promote stability and predictability. Here the Arbitrator selected the District’s established comparables because there were no grounds supporting a change. Based on comparables the Arbitrator found the District compared more favorably when comparing wages with longevity and total compensation and maximums. The majority of the District’s teachers are on the maximum or on longevity steps of the salary scheduled. He concluded that the District’s salaries were higher than the average of the comparables during 1987-89 and seems likely they will continue to compare favorably in future settlements, at least during the next few years.

Finally, the Arbitrator concluded that the District’s offer for 1989-90 exceeds the increase in CPI, and the increase in wages of other employes’ in public employment and in private employment in the same comparable communities.

Based on the above, the District’s offer was selected.

Osseo-Fairchild School District

Case 12 INT/ARB-5388 Dec. No. 26203-A (Reynolds, 03-17-90)

Employer offer selected.

Issues: salary and dental insurance and health insurance.

The parties relied on different comparables. The Arbitrator accepted the Association’s proposal that the entire list of settled Cloverbelt Conference schools for the two years of this proposed contract period be relied upon. District had proposed exclusion of Altoona and Mosinee as being too urbanized for proper comparison.

On salary, District argued against benchmark comparables on salary only, preferring to compare total package costs, including benefits. The Arbitrator, finding that salary benchmark comparables, while controversial, were also universally understood, and that total package comparables will be harder to evaluate, relied on salary benchmark comparables. In so doing, he found that these employes do not rank among their conference leaders in any respect, and that adoption of the Association’s offer would produce only “marginal improvement” in their relative standing. Accordingly, he found the Association’s salary schedule to be preferred.

At the time of this arbitration, the employes herein did not have dental insurance. Both parties, however, made offers in this regard, which differed on date of implementation, carrier, contribution and benefits. The Association set forth levels of coverage contained in Plan 1 offered by the WEA Trust Dental Health Plan; the District’s offer provided for benefits that “are substantially equivalent to those benefits provided under the plan initially agreed to by the parties.”

The Arbitrator found this language flawed in two respects. First, the parties have not yet agreed to any plan. Second, the phrase “substantially equivalent” is “inexact in both its words, and in view of the fact that this is new language that has never been administered by the parties, it must be rejected. The Association’s language is not subject to further conflict or arbitration, and it is an important goal of this arbitration process to achieve finality insofar as possible.”

On health insurance, the District proposed retention of the following language: “School District shall pay an amount equal to 100 percent of the previous year’s premium on the health insurance plan with not less than existing benefits in the 1980/81 school year.” The Association proposed new language, as follows: “The District shall pay 100% of the premium on WEA Trust Health Insurance Plan 0379.0. Members of the Health Plan will pay the difference, should the annual increase exceed 10% of the current premium.”

In determining whether to impose a change in the status quo, the Arbitrator looked to whether the proponents of the change would show the following: (1) Did the present contract language give rise to conditions that require change? (2) Did the proposed contract language remedy the condition? (3) Did the proposed contract language impose an unreasonable burden on the other party?

Finding that the existing language gave these employes “an exposure to rising costs that is in excess of that in comparable districts,” the Arbitrator found that the Association had met the first test. Likewise, he found that the proposed new language did, to some extent, remedy the condition complained of.

However, the Arbitrator found that the Association’s proposed language, particularly its restrictions on insurance carriers, placed an unreasonable burden on the District, and that the District’s offer on this issue “must be preferred.”

Noting the apparent conflict — that on dental insurance, the preferred offer was the one which specified the carrier, while on health insurance, the preferred offer was the one which did not specify the carrier — the Arbitrator explained that “when a new benefit (such as dental insurance here) is installed in a contract, it is important to have as much detail as possible concerning it . . .”

Finding that health insurance was the most important issue, and that “the party bearing the larger proportion of the premium cost (sh)ould have some power to regulate that cost, so long as the benefit levels remain as they would” here, the Arbitrator ordered the District’s offer incorporated into the successor pact.

Village of Allouez (Fire Department)

Case 31 MIA-1409 Dec. No. 26193-A (Petrie, 04-11-90)

Employer offer selected.

Employer offer: For 1989, wages of $852.47 – $1,012.85 – $1,039.95 – $1,066.99 – $1,091.62; for 1990, wages of $886.45 – $1,053.85 – $1,081.53 – $1,109.67 – $1,135.29; modification of prior agreement to provide 143 hours of holiday pay in 1989, and 147 hours in 1990; maximum sick leave conversion payouts for 10-15-20-25 years of service of $1,000 – $1,400 – $1,800 – $2,200.

Union offer: For 1989, wages of $876.39 – $1,031.35 – $1,057.53 – $1,083.66 – $1,107.45; 155 hours of holiday pay for 1989; maximum sick leave conversion for 5-10-15-20-25 years of service of $1,200 – $1,600 – $2,000 -$2,400 – $2,800.

Stating that “both public policy considerations and logic would clearly favor arbitral selection of a final offer that would provide the parties with an effective, operative and on-going agreement at the completion of the interest arbitration process, rather than one which would immediately return the parties to the bargaining table to negotiate the renewal of another already expired agreement,” the Arbitrator said the distinction between the Employer’s two-year proposal and the Union’s one-year offer “clearly favored” the Employer. (emphasis in original)

The Arbitrator then rejected the Union’s argument that, based on imbalances reflected in prior agreements, it warranted catch-up pay. “It is not up to an arbitrator to immediately modify the nature and types of previously negotiated benefits to create uniformity within a pool of comparable employers, nor to immediately rectify what might be perceived by either party as an advantageous or disadvantageous historic wage or benefits relationship,” the Arbitrator explained. “If parties have negotiated patterns of wages and benefit leadership or they have tended toward a somewhat below average pattern, interest arbitrators do not normally find persuasive justification to reverse such a negotiated pattern in a single interest arbitration proceeding.”

The Arbitrator also found that, in their entirety and in the context of prior negotiations, the Employer’s offer was also to be favored in the areas of holiday pay and sick leave accumulation.

Accordingly, the Arbitrator ordered incorporation of the Employer’s final offer into the successor agreement.

Brown County (Public Library)

Case 394 INT/ARB-5242 Dec. No. 26206-A (Malamud, 04-18-90)

Union offer selected.

Sole issue: salary.

Union proposed 3% across-the-board effective January 1, 1989; 2% ATB July 1, 1989; 3.5% ATB January 1, 1990; and 2% ATB July 1, 1990. The County proposed 3% ATB January 1, 1989 and 3.25% ATB January 1, 1990.

The Arbitrator found that, as both offers exceeded the cost of living, the County’s offer, being lower, more closely approximated the measurement, and was thus “to be preferred” under this statutory criterion. The Arbitrator also found the “overall compensation” criterion to support the County position, as the stability of employment (evidenced by an average tenure of unit employes of 11 years) demonstrates the adequacy of the overall compensation package. The County offer was also favored in the comparisons with other employes generally in public employment.

Finding the nature of the Brown County library system to be unique, the Arbitrator found it difficult to match certain job duties here and elsewhere, so as to make the statutory comparison with employes performing similar services. In successfully making such comparisons, however, the Arbitrator rejected the basic assumption underlying the Employer’s position, namely that there were no valid comparables which might form a valid comparison with the Brown County Library system. After making his analysis, the Arbitrator found adequate record evidence to support the Union’s argument of its need for catch-up pay. Finding further that the Union’s proposal for catch-up “is not excessive relative to the increasing cost of living,” the Arbitrator ordered the Union’s final offer incorporated into the successor agreement.

Ozaukee County (Highway Department)

Case 27 INT/ARB-5101 Dec. No. 26100-A (Weisberger, 04-21-90)

Union offer selected.

Issues: wages and health insurance, the latter of which was found to be controlling.

On insurance, the Employer proposed the institution of a new cost-sharing plan, under which it would pay the full cost during 1989, and, effective 1990, up to $106.41 for a single plan and $280.51 for a family plan. The Union proposed continuation of the current provision, under which the Employer paid the full premiums, and the creation of a Cost Containment Committee.

The Arbitrator found that the Employer had not met its burden in proposing a change from the status quo. In particular, the Arbitrator noted that the Employer had not instituted a similar cost-sharing for all its non-represented employes: “If the County is concerned about a genuine health insurance cost crisis and believes that it is important to address this issue by means of required employe contributions of the type incorporated into its final offer, then its treatment of its unrepresented employes is inconsistent with its concern and remedy articulated in this proceeding.” The Arbitrator also found that, by capping the Employer’s contribution, the Employer’s offer did not provide adequate incentives to the Employer to seek to hold down health care costs.

On wages, the Union’s offer for four classifications ranged from $9.55 to $11.84 for 1989 and $9.97 to $12.35 for 1990; the County’s offer, respectively, was for $9.49 to $11.76 and $9.87 to $12.22. The Arbitrator, after determining the appropriate primary comparables to be the four nearby counties, with significant weight also given to municipalities within Ozaukee County, and some, but lesser, weight given to Walworth County, found the wage issue to be “such a close call,” that, given the overriding importance of the insurance matter, it did not merit a conclusive determination.

Finding that the Employer had not met its burden on its proposed change in the health insurance, the Arbitrator ordered the Association’s offer incorporated into the successor agreement.

Park Falls School District

Case 14 INT/ARB-5255 Dec. No. 26175-A (Oestreicher, 04-23-90)

The parties identified three issues: salary increases, a proposed change in the health benefits, and increased compensation for extra-curricular activities. The Arbitrator, noting that neither party presented evidence or argument in support of their proposals on the last-cited item, felt there were really only two issues at issue.

On salary, the Union proposed salary schedule increases of 7.25% and 5.5% for 1989-1990 and 1990-1991, respectively, for which time period the District offered 6.25% and 4.5%. In real dollar terms, these increases represented per teacher salary increases of $1,932 and $2.072 (Union) and $1,665 and $1,765 (District), or total package increases of $2,948 and $3,474 (Union) and $2,450 and $3,052 (District).

On health insurance, the District proposed that the provision for the in-patient treatment of nervous and mental disorders be reduced from its current 365 days to the statutory minimum of 30 days, and that a new benefit — coverage for experimental organ transplants — be extended. The Union proposed no change in the health benefits.

The parties agreed that the seven school districts of the Lumberjack Athletic Conference constituted the primary comparables.

The District, having the burden of showing the necessity of its proposed change, argued that the cost of the benefit it sought to reduce is escalating, and that the cost of the benefit was not justified because the benefit had never been used. The Arbitrator found, however, that it was not possible to isolate the cost of this particular benefit, and that the District’s second argument ignored the value of insuring against catastrophic loss. The Arbitrator also found that the District’s offer would result in the reduction of a substantial benefit, thereby taking away an existing benefit, saving the District $27,094 with nothing of equal value being offered in return. This conclusion favors the Association’s offer.

Regarding the salary schedules, the Arbitrator conducted a detailed analysis, after which he concluded that the District’s first-year offer was closer to the average percentage and dollar increases granted in those comparable districts which had arrived at settlements, which offer would not reduce the deficiency of the Park Falls salaries with average conference salaries at five of the seven benchmarks; that the District’s second-year offer would result in erosion at all benchmarks over 1989-1990 and an overall loss at five of seven benchmarks compared to 1988-1989; that the Union’s two-year offer would result in an increase over 1988-1989 at five of seven benchmarks; that these employes will be going without an experiential step increase for 1989-1990 under either offer; and that under the Union offer, they will remain below the average conference salary at five of seven benchmarks for 1990-1991.

Further, the Arbitrator noted that the two-year salary difference between payments was $54,148, but that the District’s offer includes the reduction of an existing benefit (in-patient stays for mental or nervous disorders) which would save $27,094. The Arbitrator found important that the District offered nothing in value in return for the proposed reduction of an existing benefits.

Based on these conclusions, the Arbitrator concluded that the Association’s offer was more reasonable, and accordingly ordered its inclusion into the 1989-1991 collective bargaining agreements.

Dodgeland School District

Case 14 INT/ARB-5239 Dec. No. 26171-A (Nielsen, 04-23-90)

Union offer selected.

Issue: salary schedule.

The parties relied on different comparables in support of their position. The dispute over comparability springs in part “from the arguably inconsistent rulings of three past arbitrators . . .” Believing in need for stability and stare decisis, the Arbitrator regards the most recent prior award as dispositive, and holds the appropriate comparables to be a combination of Dodge County schools and other schools in the athletic conference.

The disputed substantive issue concerned the salary schedules for both 1988-1989 and 1989-1990. The salary schedule is indexed to the BA base, and neither party proposed alteration thereto. The Board proposed an increase from the 1987-1988 BA base of $17,605 to $18.205 in 1988-1989 and $18,600 in 1989-1990; the Association proposed a 1988-1989 base of $18,600 and a 1989-1990 base of $19,500. The salary only costs of these offers were 3.4% and 2.2% for the Board and 5.65% and 5.1% for the Association (percentage on base), or 4.93% and 3.54% for the Board and 7.1% and 6.5% for the Association (percentage salary increase per teacher), all respectively 1988-1989 and 1989-1990. The Arbitrator found that the Union offer “slightly improves the position” of the faculty relative to the comparables, “the District’s offer works a substantial erosion,” such that statutory criterion “d,” comparisons with other teaching personnel, favored the final offer of the Association.

Regarding statutory criterion “h,” total compensation, the District placed heavy emphasis on the unusually high insurance costs, which amounted to $119 per teacher in 1988-1989 and $496 per teacher in 1989-1990. While inclusion of the insurance costs is legitimate under criterion “h,” and makes consideration of total compensation a closer question than the increase in salary alone, the Association’s package increase was more in line with the rate of increase in total compensation, the Arbitrator found, ordering the incorporation into the successor agreement of the final offer of the Association.

City of DePere

Case 46 MIA-1432 Dec. No. 26250-A (Krinsky, 04-24-90)

Employer offer selected.

Three issues: conversion of sick leave for payment of health insurance premiums upon retirement, pay for purposes of sick leave conversion, and duty disability.

On first item, City offered 66.6% of day-day maximum accumulation; Union offered 100% of 90-day maximum accumulation. On second item, City proposed to continue existing arrangement; Union offered that day personnel be paid an amount equal to that paid line personnel of equivalent rank. On duty disability, City offered continuation of current arrangement, under which there is an exchange of an employe’s sick leave for the payment by the City of the difference between full pay and worker’s compensation for a maximum of 90 days; the Association’s offer would have the City pay the difference between full pay and worker’s compensation for a period of 180 days.

Noting that “precise benefit comparisons are difficult to make, especially when the value of some of them is tied to the cost of health insurance, and the mix of benefits in the comparable communities is not identical,” the Arbitrator found that, based on the external comparables, there was “somewhat more support” for the Association’s position on sick leave conversion, and that its duty disability pay item was likewise supported by the external comparables.

The internal comparisons, however, were found to favor the Employer, especially when the arbitrator concluded that the Association’s offer, rather than constituting something the police unit already has, in fact was something greater with respect to duty disability pay, and perhaps sick leave conversion as well.

The Arbitrator also found certain “other factors” which supported the Employer’s offer, particularly ambiguity which he found in the Association’s duty disability language. Noting that this offer was made after the close of face-to-face bargaining, during the mail exchange of final offers through the WERC mediator, the Arbitrator also said he would “not encourage strategies which result in items being raised for the first time when they are placed in final offers.” Finding the data and arguments “weigh somewhat more in favor of the City’s final offer than the Association’s,” the Arbitrator selected same.

Chippewa Valley Technical College

Case 173 INT/ARB-5312 Dec. No. 26224-A (Fleischli, 05-03-90)

Employer offer selected.

Only issue: salary.

The expired agreement contained a salary schedule, setting forth eight “levels” of pay grades (B through I), to which 53 job titles are assigned. Each pay level has five steps or rates (A through E), which reflect the first, second, third, and so on, rates assigned to that pay level. The difference between the rates for each year of experience was a fixed amount, ranging from $.33 at level B to $.55 at level I.

The Union’s offer would increase the rate E (the fifth-year rate) by 4.6% for the first year of the contract, effective retroactive to July 1, 1989, and increase the corresponding pro-rated values of rates A – D. For the second year, the Union would increase the E rate by 5%, again with a pro-rated increased for the other rates. The District would increase the E rate 3.2%, effective July 1, 1989, and July 1, 1990, with pro-rated increases for the other rates.

Finding that both offers fell “within a zone of ‘reasonableness,'” the Arbitrator found, based on both external and internal comparables, that the Employer’s offer was “slightly more reasonable,” and he thus ordered its inclusion into the 1989-1991 collective bargaining agreement.

Winneconne Community School District

Case 11 INT/ARB-5229 Dec. No. 26202-A (Yaffe, 05-03-90)

Union offer selected.

Two issues: salary schedule in each of two years and health/dental insurance premiums of 1990-1991.

For 1989-1990, the Board proposed a 5.3% wage increase (equal to $1,462 per teacher), while the Association proposed a 6.5% wage increase (equal to $1,723 per teacher). For 1990-1991, Board offered a 5.1% increase ($1,464 per teacher), while Association offered 5.9% ($1,719 per teacher).

On insurance, proposals are identical for 1989-1990. For 1990-1991, Association proposed that the Board pay 95% of single and 87% of family health and 100% single and 80% family for dental insurance, expressed in dollar amounts. For same period, Board proposed flat dollar contributions reflecting a maximum 20% increase above 1989-1990 premiums for health and 5% increase over 1989-1990 premiums for dental. Assuming an increase of about 20% in health insurance and 5% in dental, the parties are about $27,450 apart in 1989-1990 and $29,535 apart in 1990-1991.

Given that comparable settlements were few, comparisons unreliable, no clearly established patterns existing regarding Employer contributions to insurance, the Arbitrator found “it has not been possible . . . to ascertain any clearly established patterns based upon traditional comparability considerations which can fairly be utilized to dictate the outcome of this dispute.”

The Arbitrator found that the District had been “relatively competitive” in salary and benefits; that the Association’s offer was “slightly more in line” with comparable contemporaneous settlements in terms of the percentage value of salary increases; that such comparable settlements are somewhat offset by insurance concessions which the Association is unwilling to agree to; that the parties have always agreed to dollar amounts rather than percentages in defining the Employer’s contribution towards insurance premiums; and that such percentages have varied over time, but in recent years have remained constant.

“What all this means is that the Association’s salary proposal is slightly more reasonable than the District’s when one tries to project what is likely to occur in the area, while the District’s insurance proposal is likely to be more in line with the thrust of current trends. The undersigned is thus faced with the task of choosing between final offer packages both of which contain elements which can be characterized as fair and/or reasonable . . .”

What would have been preferable, the Arbitrator said, was for the parties to have agreed to continue their 1989-1990 dollar//proportion insurance arrangement into 1990-1991 up to the 20% and 5% projected increases, with a reopener clause if the actual increases exceeded those figures.

“In all candor . . . neither party’s final offer merits . . . enthusiastic support,” the Arbitrator said, “since selection of the District’s offer will result in possible insurance concessions and a possibly lower than average salary settlement, while selection of the Association’s position may result in a relatively comparable salary settlement which fails to acknowledge and address the Board’s legitimate concerns about controlling costs in the health insurance area . . .”

The Arbitrator “reluctantly” selected the Association offer “in that it appears to be relatively competitive with current salary settlement trends, and maintains the parties’ current risk-sharing responsibility for funding health insurance premium increases at a level that is generally competitive with comparable school district agreements.

Ozaukee County (Sheriff’s Department)

Case 28 MIA-1404 Dec. No. 26220-A (Gundermann, 05-07-90)

Employer offer selected.

Two issues: wages and employe contribution towards health insurance premiums. “The controlling issue in this case is not wages, as the parties are only .25% apart in their respective proposals. The controlling issue is whether employes should contribute toward the payment of their health insurance premiums.” County proposal — employes contribute $8.50 per month single, $17.00 family.

Arbitrator set three groups of comparables: Primary (Counties of Sheboygan, Waukesha and Washington); Secondary (Cedarburg, Grafton, Mequon, Port Washington and Thiensville), and Peripheral (Counties of Racine and Fond du Lac).

In the majority of the comparables, some form of employe contribution toward health insurance premiums existed — two of the three primaries, two of the five secondaries, and both peripherals. “Based on the evidence, language such as that which was contained in the 1987-88 contract,” viz., that the Employer “shall pay the full cost of health insurance,” and “which the Union is seeking to retain in these proceedings, is no longer the predominant language” on this matter. “Employe participation, in some form, is becoming the norm.” Thus, the external comparables support the County’s position.

Internally, two of the bargaining units are making employe contributions, while the unrepresented employes have their insurance paid in full. The Arbitrator, stating that, “it is not unusual to find that managerial employes receive different wages and benefits than organized employes,” said the Union’s argument as to the potential harm to morale this would cause if continued “would be more persuasive if two other units had not already agreed” to make such contributions.

“A further argument is advanced by the Union that the County has not offered a quid pro quo for the significant change in contract language it is seeking. It is generally recognized by arbitrators that where a party is seeking to introduce a new or novel provision into the collective bargaining agreement the party making such a proposal may be expected to provide a quid pro quo. First, it must be stated that the County’s proposal to have employes participate in the payment of health insurance premiums is not a new or novel idea. Additionally, as noted by the Union in its brief, a significant change may be made without granting a quid pro quo if the change has been made with other employes without the granting of a quid pro quo. There is nothing in the record to suggest that the other two units that agreed to contribute toward the payment of health insurance premiums received a quid pro quo for such agreement.

“Based on the evidence, it must be concluded that employe contribution to health insurance premiums is an established fact among the majority of the comparables. In view of this fact, the undersigned can find no basis for awarding the Union’s position.”

The Arbitrator agreed that “it would certainly have been preferable if the parties had resolved the issue of employe contribution toward insurance at the bargaining table.” However, “where one party opposes the basic concept of a change, there is no alternative for the other party than to proceed to the impasse procedure in an attempt to obtain the change.”

Award for the County.

Washington County (Highway Department)

Case 83 INT/ARB-5444 Dec. No. 26252-A (Zeidler, 05-07-90)

Union offer selected.

County offer was for wage increases of 3.5% on both July 1, 1989 and July 1, 1990, and increases in the premium pay provisions. The Union offered increases of 4% on the same dates, deletion of the premium pay provision, and a change in the overtime rate.

There was an issue over comparables. The Arbitrator, contrary to the Union’s position, refused to consider Milwaukee County as a primary comparable and relied on adjacent counties as primary comparables.

The Arbitrator said that an employer, such as here, “with a leading position in actual dollars paid does not necessarily have to match other percentage increases if the leading dollar position is maintained among the comparables, and if not modified by other factors which the arbitrator does not see present here.” Accordingly, the Arbitrator concluded that, in the aspect of external comparables, “the Washington County offer is reasonable.”

On internal comparables, the Arbitrator again found evidence supporting the County offer.

On cost of living, the Arbitrator opined that “the Union offer more nearly approximates the change in the consumer price index and that there is an element of catch-up involved in favor of the Union offer as to percentage increase. This is said even though the County offer in percentage increase is more comparable when internal settlements are considered.”

On aspects relating to hours of work, the predecessor contract provided for a 40-hour, five-day work week, Friday through Thursday; the Union’s proposed new language that “work performed outside of the normal work schedule of 7:00 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. shall be considered overtime and shall be paid for at the rate of time and one half.” Based on bargaining history, comparables and the public interest, the Arbitrator found that this issue favored the Union offer.

The Arbitrator concluded that “(m)ajor weight must be given in favor of the County in comparability of its wage offer among comparable counties and internally in the County. To the Union accrue the weights of comparability of its offer on premium wage pay and hours of work and the changes in the cost of living over the life of the contract. The history of the continuing difference over the hours of work provision looms as a matter of primary consideration to the arbitrator. The Union offer as pointed out fits the pattern of the comparable counties, while the County provision is one of a kind in the area. The public interest will be best served by resolving this issue in the new agreement between the parties, and bringing the County provision into a state of comparability.”

Accordingly, the Arbitrator ordered the incorporation of the Union’s final offer into the successor agreement.

City of Sheboygan Falls (Police Department)

Case 18 MIA-1442 Dec. No. 26225-A (Malamud, 05-09-90)

Employer offer selected.

Sole issue: wage increase for third year of contract. Association offered 5%, effective July 1, 1991; City offered 4%, same date.

Finding that the unit member’s pay was slightly above the mean of the comparables as of July, 1989, and that none of the comparables which had settled for 1990 and 1991 were to have increases in excess of 4% for those years (4% being the agreed-upon increase here for 1989-1990 and 1990-1991), the Arbitrator found it “safe to say” that by the start of the disputed year, the salary levels of the unit members “will remain no less than slightly above the mean of those salaries paid to law enforcement officers in the geographic area of the City.” This, he concluded “tends to support the City offer.”

On cost of living, the Arbitrator found data which “provides strong support” for selection of the Association’s offer. Absent any settlements for any portion of the third year of the agreement, the Arbitrator would have found this item determinative.

However, such settlements do exist, under which comparable units have agreed to a 4% wage increase during July – December, 1991, the first six months of the third year of this agreement. “Although it appears in 1990 that the cost of living will approximate 4.5% during the first six months of 1992,” the Arbitrator said that it is only an educated projection, whereas the 4% is a known settlement, and arbitrators have “consistently held that the decisions made by employers and unions relative to wage increases made in light of the cost of living is the appropriate measure of the cost of living factor.”

Accordingly, while the parties each submitted “very reasonable” offers, with ample basis for selecting either, the Arbitrator ordered incorporation of the City’s final offer into the successor agreement.

City of Brookfield (Fire Department)

Case 64 MIA-1185 Dec. No. 25843-C (Kerkman, 05-14-90)

Employer offer selected.

Sole issue: health insurance for retirees. This case is unusual because it involves the parties’ 1987-1988 agreement. The delay is because the issue of health insurance for retirees was the subject of a declaratory ruling proceeding. All other terms of the 1987-1988 agreement were agreed to by the parties.

Both parties made proposals on this issue, with several sub-issues, as follows:

City limited its proposal to employes who retire on a regular pension at the statutory normal retirement age, and excludes employes who retire on disability pension. Union extended its proposal to both groups.

City required fifteen (15) years’ continuous service with City for eligibility; Union set no minimum service requirement.

City proposal provided for termination of coverage if employe obtained other employment with comparable insurance and if cost not in excess of retiree’s cost under this plan. Also, if employe no longer eligible for other coverage, employe may return to City plan, if carrier permits. Retiree can also protect eligibility in City plan by retaining single plan. Union proposal did not make the cost of the other employment insurance a factor in determining termination under the City plan. Also, Union proposal does not provide for return to City plan, nor does it protect eligibility through retention of a single plan.

City proposal gave no specifics on type of plan or benefits, other than that City will pay specified premium amounts toward any health care plan offered by the City in which the retirees can participate. Union proposal called for City to provide retires with “group health insurance, similar in quality and kind to the coverage and plan that the employe participated in at the time of retirement or termination.”

City proposed to pay $58 per month for single and $148 for family premiums, depending on which plan employe had at time of retirement, such payment to remain frozen at that amount during entire period of eligibility. Union proposed City pay an amount equal to 75% of the relevant premium.

The Arbitrator held that there was “no justification” for the Employer’s proposed exclusion from coverage of disability retirees; that the Union was unreasonable in proposing no minimum service requirement for disability retirees, and that a preference for the Employer’s offer was created by its provision for a mechanism for re-entry and retention of single coverage. The Arbitrator also held that both offers were deficient regarding the level of benefits, but that the Employer’s offer, which mirrored the levels in effect in the Police agreement, was preferable to the Association’s offer, which might result in the providing of superior benefits for retirees compared to active employes. The Arbitrator also found that with respect to costs, the Employer’s offer was to be preferred.

Accordingly, the Arbitrator ordered incorporation of the Employer’s final offer in the successor agreement.

Sheboygan Falls School District

Case 28 INT/ARB-5338 Dec. No. 26201-A (Oestreicher, 05-14-90)

Three issues: salary, health insurance contribution, and level of increase for extra-curricular activities. Employer offered per cell wage increases of 4.1% for 1989-1990 and 3.9% for 1990-1991; Union offered 5% and 4.7% for same years.

The 1987-1989 contract provided that the Board would pay up to a specified dollar per month for either single or family health insurance; in practice, the specified amount has been equal to 100% of the premium cost. For this successor agreement, the District offer would fix its contribution at 95% of the applicable premium, stated as a dollar figure. The Union offer calls for the Board to make full payment of premiums, expressed as a dollar amount as figures become available.

The Arbitrator said analysis was complicated because there were no settlements among the primary comparables at the time of hearing, and because, despite the 165 pages of written argument, neither party presented complete information to support the summary data upon which it based its financial arguments.

The Arbitrator found that the District’s health insurance costs had increased by 90% since 1984-1985; that the District had shown there to be “a trend in public and private employment for co-payment of health insurance premiums;” that the Employer had not shown that internal comparability required the proposed change, and that the record did not establish a trend in comparable districts to require teachers to make co-payments. Further finding that “the Board has not proposed to take away a benefit” because “under the Board’s offer the benefit will continue,” the Arbitrator said he personally was persuaded that “good public policy favors the Board’s proposal” on the issue, but that, “the question of whether the employes should be required to contribute to the cost of that benefit, for the purpose of this proceeding, cannot be based upon the arbitrator’s opinion of what constitutes good public policy.” However, the Arbitrator concluded that the Board’s offer that teachers should share in continued health insurance increases is preferred. But when considered with the salary proposals and taken as a whole as discussed below, he preferred the Union’s offer.

On the salary issue, the Arbitrator, after a detailed analysis, found that, “taken as a whole, the Board’s offer will cause further salary erosion at six of seven benchmarks on the salary schedule.” This finding, coupled with a review of the historic relationship between Sheboygan Falls and Kewaskum and Two Rivers, lead the arbitrator to conclude that the Association’s offer was “the more reasonable,” and he therefore ordered its incorporation into the 1989-1991 collective bargaining agreement.

Mishicot School District

Case 6 INT/ARB-5297 Dec. No. 26190-A (Michelstetter, 05-14-90)

Employer offer selected.

Issue: wage increases. While there was no dispute over the structure of the schedule, there was dispute on total package cost, based on disagreement on future increase in health insurance premiums. The Employer projected an increase of 24%, while the Association projected an increase of 15%.

There was a dispute over appropriate comparables with the Association arguing to keep the same comparables found appropriate by a previous arbitrator, and the Employer seeking to eliminate Sturgeon Bay School District because it is no longer in the same conference. The Arbitrator concluded the previous arbitrator’s determination was based on certain standards that have not changed and thus he adopted the previously adopted comparables.

The salary-only offers were as follows: for 1989-1990, the Employer offered 6% ($1,682), and the Association offered 6.4% ($1,797); for 1990-1991, the offers, respectively, were 5.83% ($1,732) and 6.56% ($1,956).

“The essence of the parties’ debate over whether to use salary only external comparables or total package external comparisons is how, if at all, to account for health insurance increase differences. Contrary to the position of the Association, the total compensation criterion requires that arbitrators recognize and consider differences between non salary compensation between comparable employers.”

The Arbitrator found that total package comparisons gave the fairest view; that the best available information indicated the 1990 increases would be in the range of 20% to 30%, and that “the comparability factor heavily favors the employer,” as did the cost-of-living criterion. Finding that all of the factors support the Employer, the Arbitrator ordered its offer incorporated into the successor agreement.

Ripon School District

Case 10 INT/ARB-5318 Dec. No. 26251-A (Friess, 05-20-90)

Union offer selected.

Four issues: wages, District contribution to premiums for health and dental insurance, and whether such contributions should be retroactive.

Association offer — BA bases of $19,189 and $20,101 for 1989-1990 and 1990-1991, respectively, each year representing a 6.2% salary-only increase. On insurance, propose to maintain current contract’s provision setting a monthly dollar amount contribution (currently, $314.64) for first year, for second year adding a percentage figure (.95) (to be expressed in a dollar amount) which continues the approximate ratio of contribution established in recent years.

District offer — BA bases of $19,095 and $19,907, 1989-1990 and 1990-1991, representing salary-only increases of 5.6% and 5.1, respectively. On insurance, proposed the same dollar amount per month for 1989-1990 and a specific dollar amount (representing a 20% increase) per month for the second year. Also, District wished to cap its obligation by inserting the words “up to” prior to the dollar mounts, and eliminating the words, “said amount reflecting the recent years’ proportions.”

The Arbitrator said the Association was asking him “to over-look the economic impact of its proposal because the employer is trying to force on the employes through arbitration new language related to insurance premium contribution sharing with which the Union disagrees. The employer is asking the arbitrator to over-look the significant changes in the parties’ contract language and past practice because the economics of the situation warrant it. To be frank, both parties are making less than reasonable requests.”

“Since both request/proposals are basically unreasonable, the job of the arbitrator will be to determine which offer will do the least damage to the parties in the short and long run.” The key, the Arbitrator said, was which item was more important — the straight economic items or the imposition of contract language changes.

Reviewing the statutory criteria, the Arbitrator found that “the economics in this case cry out for the employer’s (wage) offer to be implemented.”

In evaluating the proposals on health insurance, the Arbitrator adopted the test utilized by Arbitrator Reynolds to measure whether the change was required, whether the change would remedy the problem, and whether there would be no unreasonable burden. Although the Association proposal constituted a technical change in the language, the Arbitrator found that it did “not really constitute a change of substance,” but was essentially consistent with the past practice of the parties. Therefore, he applied the Reynolds test only to the Employer’s proposal.

The Arbitrator found that there there to be “clear, unequivocal and undisputed” evidence as to an acute problem for all employers with health insurance costs; thus, he found that the Employer had “more than satisfie(d) the burden to show that a change is urgently needed.”

The Arbitrator found, however, that the Employer “fail(ed) to make any convincing argument to the point of how (its) language will remedy the problem of increasing health and dental insurance premium costs,” and that its proposed insertion of the phrase, “up to” was both confusing and inappropriate. The Arbitrator also found that the Employer’s proposal put a disproportionate burden on the employes, and, while its economics offer was reasonable, it certainly could not be characterized as a “buy out.” Thus, he found the Employer’s offer on this issue failed two of the three prongs of the Reynolds test.

“This arbitrator just cannot order inappropriate language and not agreed to procedures that parties may have to live with and fight over for years. I believe, as much as the economics in this case favor the employer’s offer, the damage to the parties and the public would be far greater by ordering the employer’s language proposal on the insurance, than the relatively short-term set-back the district will face in implementing the union’s offer. The only hope that I hold is that the parties in their next round of bargaining will seriously address these problems and reach meaningful, mutual solutions.”

Award for the Association.

Berlin Area School District

Case 16 INT/ARB-5253 Dec. No. 26241-A (Nielsen, 05-20-90)

Employer offer selected.

Single issue: level of salary increases for 1989-1990 and 1990-1991. District offered a BA base of $18,500 in 1989-1990 and $19,550 in 1990-1991, with an average per teacher salary increase of $1,552 and $1,454, respectively. Association offered a lower BA base each year ($18,215 and $19,000, respectively), but with a higher experience increment, yielding a per teacher increase of $1,775 and $1,899, respectively.

The Association’s essential argument was that salaries in the District were non-competetively low, and had been eroding for years. Notwithstanding this assertion, the Arbitrator found that, at every benchmark, some improvement had been made relative to the conference average over the prior three contract years. “An appeal to catch-up is an invitation to reopen the past bargains, and second guess the judgments and tradeoffs made by the parties in arriving at their overall agreement. Only in the face of clearly inequitable and/or uncompetetive salary levels should an arbitrator accept such an invitation.”

The Arbitrator also rejected the Association’s proposal to consider statewide averages, agreeing with “the majority of arbitrators that statewise comparisons are entitled to little weight in determining the proper level of sttlement in any specific community,” particularly where they are “at odds with the area pattern of settlements.”

The District relied heavily on total package comparisons, contending that rising cost of health insurance made this an increasingly significant component in the overall package. “Certainly the total costs of the settlement cannot be disregarded when judging which offer is more reasonable under the statute.” With a conference package cost amounting to 12.8% over the two years, the Board offered a package of 13.3%, while the Association sought 15.9%. In absolute dollar terms, the Association’s offer exceeded the two-year average by $513, while the District’s offer fell short by $416. “By either measure, the Board’s offer more closely reflects the average for increases in total compensation costs,” the Arbitrator found, awarding that the District’s final offer be incorporated into the 1989-1990 and 1990-1992 collective bargaining agreement.

River Falls School District

Case 19 INT/ARB-5335 Dec. No. 26266-A (R.J. Miller, 05-21-90)

Union offer selected.

Two issues: wages and subcontracting.

Under prior agreement (1987-1989), Board reserved “right to subcontract for any goods and services as it deems necessary,” providing, however, that, prior to August 15, 1989, the Board could not subcontract for any services “now being exclusively performed by bargaining unit members.” For successor contract, Union proposed to amend date to August 15, 1991; District proposed to retain existing language.

The Arbitrator found that the extension of the ban on subcontracting as proposed by the Association would effectively retain the intent of the language of the current contract; that is, allowing the expiration of the existing language would alter the existing state of conditions and would give the District the new right to contract out for goods and services. Thus, contrary to the position taken by the District, it was the District which was proposing a change in the status quo.

The Arbitrator further found that the District had not demonstrated a business need for subcontracting, and that the District’s wage offer (a nickel less per hour than the Association’s) did not constitute a “quid pro quo” offer. “Since neither a need for change has been demonstrated nor a quid pro quo has been made by the School District, the Employer’s proposal to allow the right to subcontract for the first time has no merit. Moreover, since the School District has no plans for subcontracting any goods and services out of this bargaining unit, there is no valid reason to allow the School District to change the status quo for something they may want to do in the future.”

Award for the Association.

Brown County (Courthouse)

Case 399 INT/ARB-5266 Dec. No. 26207-A (Kerkman, 05-23-90)

Employer offer selected.

One issue: wages for 1989 and 1990. Union offered increases of 4% on January 1, 1989 and 1990; County offered 2.95% on December 25, 1988 and 3.25% on December 24, 1989.

Employer relied heavily on internal comparables, to wit, that 1989 settlements for eight separate units ranged from 2.96% to 3%, with 1990 settlements ranging from 3.21% to 3.53%. The sole exception to this pattern was the RN unit at the Mental Health Center, explained by the critical shortage of nurses and the need for the County to remain competitive in recruitment and retention.

The Union argued that it should not be held to settlements of other units. The Arbitrator agreed that “slavish conformity to other settlements should be avoided, however, to department from a well established internal pattern of settlements there must be a showing that a higher than pattern settlement is warranted. A departure from the pattern may be warranted where the history of bargaining shows that the unit being arbitrated has never followed the pattern which was established, or where the wage rate comparisons for the jobs in the unit being arbitrated establish that the wage rates in that unit are substandard, and, therefore, deserve a settlement percentage higher than the pattern in order to establish appropriate wage rates for those positions.”

The Arbitrator found, however, that there was no evidence to support a departure from patterns of settlement for this unit, and that the internal patterns therefore supported the County’s offer.

The Arbitrator also found that, because there were settlements among external comparables supporting each party’s offer, this factor was inconclusive; thus, the Arbitrator found that, when considering the criterion of comparables, the Employer’s offer was to be preferred.

The Arbitrator then considered whether a comparison of wage rates would warrant a settlement which would exceed the pattern of settlements. Finding “some need for what are normally considered equity increases to specific classifications rather than a general increase higher than pattern for all of the classifications,” the Arbitrator concluded that there was insufficient evidence to support a settlement higher than the pattern of settlements.

Reviewing benefits, both for internal and external comparables, the Arbitrator again concluded that the “total compensation” criterion failed to establish a reason to depart from the pattern of settlements.

Finally, reviewing the cost of living, the Arbitrator concluded that this criterion supported the Union offer. Finding “nothing in this record to establish that the employes in this unit should be protected against cost of living increases to a superior degree than any other employes employed in other collective bargaining units of this Employer,” the Arbitrator concluded that this criterion failed to establish a preference for the final offer of the Union. Accordingly, he ordered the incorporation of the Employer’s final offer in the successor contracts.

City of Milwaukee (Police Department)

Case 346 MIA-1443 Dec. No. 26109-A (Vernon, 05-22-90)

Issue by Issue Arbitration Award

City offer: Four 2% across-the-board salary increases, effective pay periods 1 and 19, in 1989 and 1990; modifications to the provisions on pension escalator, duty disability retirement conversion, compensatory time, health insurance, and parking.

Association offer: Two 5% across-the-board salary increases, effective pay period 1, 1989 and 1990; creation of a new rank, Senior Police Officer, said rank to receive an added 1% each year of the contract; modifications to the provisions on pension escalator, compensatory time, roll call, health insurance and parking.

The MPA proposed that “parking shall be paid in full to all members of the bargaining unit that work at the Police Administration Building (PAB) on city approved parking lots.” The City proposed to amend the current language on parking by increasing the $35 monthly benefit to $40 and designating it as the “regular benefit.” The City also proposed new language providing a “special parking allowance” to those employes who car pool.

The Arbitrator modified the Employer’s offer to provide for a regular parking benefit of $60 monthly, and to create a special parking allowance of $20 over the actual cost of a monthly parking permit (benefit not to exceed $80) for a two-person car pool and $45 over the actual cost (benefit not to exceed $105) for a three-person car pool.

As to the creation of the new rank, the Arbitrator found the “major defect” to be that it was “seniority based without regard to merit,” and that the Association “hadn’t adequately accounted for the cost of such a proposal within the confines of a reasonable package cost.” While there are always certain problems with merit/promotional systems, the Arbitrator said that, in this instance a strict seniority based system is not appropriate.

The MPA proposed that one-hour segments of compensatory time be available at any time, given the permission of the commanding officer. The City offered one-hour segments, but only to be taken at the start or end of the shift. The Arbitrator held that, while there are impracticalities in allowing all officers to take an hour off in the middle of their shift, it isn’t necessarily impractical for all to do so, since not all are on patrol, not all need be instantaneously available, and so on. Finding the Association’s proposal not radical, but still wanting to indicate the discretionary presumption, the Arbitrator fashioned his own language which allowed for the use of comp time in one-hour segments “for purposes of significant personal importance,” subject to the scheduling discretion of “the supervisor consistent with the needs of service . . . (which) are of preeminent importance in weighing such requests.”

The MPA proposed that every unit member receive roll call pay, whether such employe is directed to stand roll call or not. The City opposed this, noting that Arbitrator Kerkman had, in the 1987-1988 award, rejected an MPA offer that employes “shall be required to stand roll call and receive roll call overtime.” The City said it was not within arbitral authority to second guess management on who should stand roll call, and that the MPA proposal would cost the City more than $250,000 annually. The Arbitrator, finding that “the right to assign employes, particularly to overtime, is an inherent management right not subject to bargaining,” denied this proposal.

There were a number of issues relating to health insurance, dealing with deferred retiree health insurance, the comparability of HMO benefits, the level of premium contribution, co-payment, and deductibles.

Under the current system, an officer can retire at age 46 with 25 years of service; at age 52, he begins to receive his pension; between 46 and 52, he is required to pay 100% of the premium if he chooses to participate in the City’s health insurance plan; from ages 52 to 65, the City contributes 25% of the cost and the officer contributes 75%; accumulated sick leave can never be used by an officer who retires before age 52 to increase the City’s contribution; if an officer with 25 years of service waits until age 52 to retire, the City will pay a minimum of 65% of the health insurance premium, increasing its contribution to 100% depending on the officer’s accumulated sick leave. The MPA proposed to allow an officer who retired between the ages of 46 and 52, with 25 years of service, to receive an insurance contribution at the same rate as an officer who retires at age 52 with 25 years of service. The City offer lowered the age to 49 (from 52) but still limited the contribution to 65%.

Also under the current system, the City and the HMOs have a contract which provides for benefits which are “comparable” to those in the basic plan. The contract between the City and the MPA provides that the HMO benefits are to be set by the HMO. The MPA proposed new language providing that “the minimum benefits for the HMO plan selected shall be the same as the benefits for the Basic Plan Health Insurance.”

The current contract required the City to pay 100% of all HMOs, and the total premium for the basic plan, which has a $50 per person deductible, with a maximum of three per year. The City proposed to limit its contribution to 105% of the cheapest HMO, to have monthly basic plan employe contributions of $7.50 per single and $15 family, and to increase the deductible to $100. The MPA proposed continuation of the status quo.

“It is very significant that most city bargaining units, particularly to other protective services units, have voluntarily accepted the same modifications to the health insurance benefits as the City is offering the MPA. This is powerful evidence for a variety of reasons. First, the fact that so many different units have accepted these changes is indicative of a large degree of intrinsic reasonableness of the City health insurance proposal. Second, the fact that other units, and again particularly the other protective service units, have accepted these proposals sets up several equity considerations.”

The Arbitrator found, with one limited exception, “nothing unreasonable or inappropriate” in the City’s offer. That exception related to the Union proposal on HMO benefits. While the Union offer itself was “not reasonable,” because it would limit the cafeteria of benefits now offered, the Arbitrator found “some merit to the MPA concerns that there is no guarantee in the labor agreement as to the comparability of benefits.” Accordingly, believing “there is good reason to allow a vehicle for enforcement of the ‘substantially similar’ concept by inserting express language in the agreement,” the Arbitrator crafted new language that “the benefits of the HMO plans will be substantially the same as the basic plan benefits.”

The City proposed to reduce the conversion age for duty disability retirees to a normal service retirement allowance from its current 57 years to age 52, with 25 years of service. The MPA opposed this.

Noting that the other protective services had voluntarily agreed to this proposal, the Arbitrator said “there is no demonstration in this record that relative to other protective services that the Police Officer needs a greater disability benefit than other protective service members.” He granted the City’s proposal.

The parties also made proposals on pension cap, pension escalator and base salary.

As to the pension escalator, the MPA proposed a 2% escalator, compounded annually, payable on the anniversary of retirement, retroactive to January 1, 1989, such that an employe who retired on that date would be eligible for a 2% on January 1, 1990, and an added 2% each successive January 1; the escalator would also apply to the surviving spouse. The City proposed a pension escalator of $50 monthly after completion of the fourth year after retirement, an added $50 monthly after the seventh year after retirement, and an added $50 after the tenth year after retirement.

Both parties agreed that the present 2.5% per year pension benefit formula for creditable service shall continue. Both parties also agreed that the service retirement allowances shall not exceed 90% of the employe’s final average salary. However, they disagreed on the effective date of this limitation: the City proposed July 1, 1989, while the MPA proposed January 1, 1990. The City also formally proposed no change in the current language which requires that the employe pay 1% of the pension contribution currently being paid to the retirement system.

The respective wage offers are noted above.

The City’s pension escalator offer “isn’t realistic,” the Arbitrator said, characterizing the testimony of the City’s expert actuarial witness as leaving the impression that “he believed Police Officers should not have kids, put their spouse to work, work two jobs, save all their disposable income, whistle while they work well past early retirement age, consider their pension a gift and get a job wearing a funny hat at a burger joint the day after they retire from the force.” However, the Arbitrator also faulted the Union proposal as unrealistically advancing “the notion that employes don’t or shouldn’t be prepared to help finance their retirements or protect their pensions from inflation.”

“In an absolute sense, the employer probably isn’t shouldering enough of the inflation insurance burden at the rate of $50/month after four, seven and ten years. Most escalators provide more. However, the arbitrator is not prepared an will not — with one minor exception — require the employer to do more based on the unique circumstances of this case.”

“The employer’s offer, while probably inadequate in an absolute financial sense, is appropriate in the relative context of collective bargaining . . . In this case, the Union is asking for a healthy escalator without ever having had one and they are asking for it in the context of their offer which, in all other respects, exceeds all the internal comparables.”

The Arbitrator held, however, that the Employer’s proposal that the escalator would not apply in cases of an employe dying before retiring or before earning an escalator was inadequate. “A surviving spouse is in just as much need, if not greater need, to have her/his survivor pension protected against inflation, as they would be before their mate’s death.” Accordingly, the Arbitrator modified the City’s proposal to include providing the escalator to surviving spouses.

On wages, the Arbitrator found a “very significant” parity relationship between the base rate wages of firefighters and police officers and detectives and sergeants. The Arbitrator also looked at a group of comparables, cities with populations ranging from 466,550 to 914,350.

“There can be no serious dispute that the Milwaukee Police Officer deserves to be number one in suburban and state-wide rankings,” the Arbitrator said, finding that adherence in this contract to the same percentage settlements as the firefighters and the MPSE received would, on the basis of total compensation (but not straight salary) leave members of this unit, “at the top of the heap, top of the class, numero uno.” After further, detailed analysis of package parity, the Arbitrator awarded wage increases of 2%, effective pay period 1, 1989, pay period 18, 1989, pay period 1, 1990, and pay period 8, 1990.

Forest County (Courthouse)

Case 53 INT/ARB-5094 Dec. No. 26013-A (Kerkman, 05-24-90)

Union offer selected.

The single issue involved the Employer’s contribution for health insurance.

There was also a dispute over appropriate comparables. The County argues that the comparables established in previous arbitrations should be used. The Union seeks to add to these comparables Marinette County. The Arbitrator added Marinette County because it is a contiguous County, it has rural characteristics, it has few populations centers, and its population differential is not so significant so as to exclude it as a comparable.

In a consent award dated August 30, 1989, the parties agreed that: (a) the premium amounts would be $242.74 and $97.39 for family and single coverage, respectively, and that (b) the parties would continue to bargain over the Employer’s proposal; if the parties were unable to reach an agreement on this matter by November 9, 1989, the Arbitrator would retain jurisdiction. The parties failed to reach such agreement.

The Union proposed continuation of the existing language. The Employer proposed to implement plans equal to or better than the WPS CareShare Plan and Compare Hospital Review Plan; to pay up to the dollar amounts for the monthly premiums; to cap at their December 31, 1990 levels their contribution, pending further agreements; and to have the right to change carriers, providing benefits were equal to or better than the previous plan.

The current insurance plan provides for a deductible amount on major medical of $50 for single coverage and $150 for family. The Employer proposes that the deductible be $200 single and $600 family for all coverages, not just major medical. These are the same figures as in the Vilas County contracts. Oneida provides for deductibles of $500 single and $1,000 family, with a $250 reimbursement at the end of the year. Langlade provides for $100/$300, major medical only. Florence and Oneida counties provide for $50/$150, major medical only. Marinette provides for $100/$300, although it is unclear whether this is major medical or all coverages. “It follows from all of the foregoing that the comparison of insurance coverages as it applies to deductibles favors the continuation of the coverages presently in force as proposed by the Union.”

The current contract, and the Association’s proposal, call for an 80% – 20% co-pay provision. As three of the five comparables provide co-pay, this aspect also favors the Association’s proposal.

The County’s offer as a cost containment provision, as do three of the five comparables, which supports the Employer’s offer.

Considering also the premium participation, the premium rates and the premium payment, the Arbitrator found that, based on the external comparables, the status quo proposal of the Association is favored. In particular, the Arbitrator found that the projected cost savings to the County are not sufficiently substantial so as to warrant the increased deductibles of its proposed plan.

The internal comparables are split, with the Sheriff’s Department having voluntarily agreed to a proposal for the Care Share as offered by the Employer in this dispute, and the Highway Department having been awarded a continuation of the coverages previously in force in that unit and this unit. The internal comparables thus are unpersuasive.

The Arbitrator rejected the Employer’s further argument as to quid pro quo, finding that “the additional percentage of increase involved in the instant unit more accurately and typically represents catch up to this unit compared to the Highway Department unit rather than representing a quid pro quo for the revised health insurance which was not present in Highways.”

Accordingly, the Arbitrator ordered the final offer of the Association be incorporated in the successor agreement.

City of Waupaca (Police Department)

Case 14 MIA-1342 Dec. No. 26179-A (Bellman, 05-25-90)

Union offer selected.

Union proposed 5% wage increases in both years of the new agreement; Employer proposed an increase of $.55 per hour to highest rate during first year, with reopener in September, 1989, for wages and health insurance benefits for 1990. Parties agreed that $.55 per hour was equivalent to 5%.

“Wisconsin public policy has rejected the private sector method of breaking impasses and forcing conclusions and substituted interest arbitration. Thus, where impasse occurs and the parties fail to end their bargaining by entering an agreement, the MERA provided for interest arbitration to give them an ‘agreement’ for a certain interval of time.”

“If the Municipal Employer’s offer were selected in this case at this time the Award would not overcome the impasse by providing the terms of a new agreement. It would simply return the parties to negotiations and, in effect, add 1990 issues to bargaining for 1991 terms. That would have also been a result had there been no arbitration.”

Award for the Union.

Brown County Handicapped Children’s Education Board

Case 16 INT/ARB-5419 Dec. No. 26307-A (Nielsen, 06-05-90)

Consent Award

Consent: 1989-1990 base salary of $19,085; 1990-1991 base salary of $19,925.

Beaver Dam Unified School District

Case 17 INT/ARB-5354 Dec. No. 26320-A (Nielsen, 06-06-90)

Consent Award

Consent: 1989-1990 base salary of $21,086; 1990-1991 base salary of $21,951; ancillary and summer pay increased 4% each year; ancillary base for 1989-1990 increased to $20,560; ancillary base for 1990-1991 increased to $21,403; and an agreement over voluntary early retirement.

Salem Consolidated Grade School Jt. District No. 2

Case 9 INT/ARB-5390 Dec. No. 26329-A (Yaffe, 06-12-90)

Consent Award

Consent: 1989-1990 wage increase of $1,756 (5.78%); 1990-1991 increase of $1,800 (5.6%).

Other agreements: normal teacher day established; provisions for physical examinations; employer payment of health insurance premiums for retires until Medicare eligibility, or age 65, or seven years coverage, whichever occurs first; graduate study reimbursements at $85 per credit; and Employer discretion where to place newly-hired teachers on salary schedule.

Manitowoc County (Public Health Nursing Service)

Case 215 INT/ARB-5055 Dec. No. 25826-A (Vernon, 05-22-89)

Union offer selected.

Parties ratified an Interim Agreement which provided for miscellaneous changes in wages, hours and conditions of employment, as well as a 6% wage increase for 1989, but which did not fully resolve all matters relating to a successor contract.

The sole issue in arbitration was wages. The County proposed a 6% increase across the board for 1990; the Union proposed an additional 3% to all classifications on April 1 and October 1, 1989, plus 6% January 1, 1990. Both offers were premised on the prior agreement as to a 6% increase for 1989, leaving as the sole issue the Union’s proposal for a further increase for that year.

The parties further stipulated as to the appropriate comparables; that the patient census at the Manitowoc County Health Care Center had been negatively impacted by a shortage of professional nurses; and that there was some need for catch-up pay for the County to remain competitive in the labor market for nurses.

The Arbitrator reviewed local wages, and found it “apparent that the Employer won’t be able to reasonably compete in the local labor market for nurses at the level of its final offer without the additional 3% catch-up under the Union’s final offer.” He also found that the economic circumstances of the Health Care Center, plus the fact that other employes took a wage freeze, weighed in favor of the Employer’s offer. The Center’s future deficits, however, would likely be increased if a continuing decline in nurses lead to further limits on the number of patients served.

In accepting the Union’s offer the Arbitrator concluded as follows: “Plainly, the center can’t be run without RN’s and the greater disparities in the local market strongly suggest harm would come to the interest and welfare of the public if wage rates were as low as they are under the County’s offer.”

Nicolet Area Technical College

Case 9 INT/ARB-5404 Dec. No. 26267-A (Zeidler, 06-20-90)

Union offer selected.

Association offer: salary schedule. Per cell adjustments of 2.5% to the 1988-1989 salary scheduled for 1989-1990, 3.5% to the 1989-1990 salary schedule for 1990-1991, 4.5% to the 1990-1991 salary scheduled for 1991-1992. All wages retroactive to July 1, 1989.

Employer offer: add $250.00 per step in each year of three-year contract; internal adjustments on schedule.

“The application of the criterion of comparability of Nicolet employes with those of comparable districts is obviously made difficult by the type of single lane schedule at Nicolet which is compressed as compared to other VTAE schedules, and which applies ceilings for non-degreed teachers and for teachers with only a BA degree, or an MA degree or a Ph.D. degree. The Nicolet system and offers to change it are sui generis — one of their own kind.”

Based on a very detailed analysis, the Arbitrator found that the Board salary offer met the criterion of comparability in dollar amounts and percentages, but its proposed schedule did not meet this criterion as well as the Association offer did; that the Board offer compared favorably with other public employe wage schedules; that there was insufficient evidence to judge how the Nicolet wage offers compared with various classes of professional work in private employment in this area; that the Board offer more nearly compared with changes in the CPI-U indices; that the interests and welfare of the public would not be hurt by the costs of the Association offer; and that the public interest was better served under the Association’s ten-step schedule with changes in percent per step than in the Board’s extended step fixed-increment system.

“The most weighty factors in the foregoing are the Board’s comparability on wages and to changes in the cost of living on one hand, and the Association’s proposed schedule and method of payment on the other hand. After considerable reflection, the arbitrator concludes that the Association’s proposal on type of schedule is the weightiest factor and determinative of the outcome.”

Award for the Association.

Amery School District

Case 30 INT/ARB-5319 Dec. No. 26349-A (McAlpin, 06-25-90)

Consent Award

Consent: Wage increases of 4.5% (1989-1990), 4.75% (1990-1991 and 1991-1992); extra-curricular increases of 5% each year; health and dental insurance premiums paid by District of $358.64 and $37.44 (family), $137.92 and $11.54 (single) for 1990-1991, with 20% formula language implemented for 1991-1992. Also, exchange of letters on changes in insurance carriers and joint labor-management insurance committee were agreed to.

City of New Berlin (Highway Department)

Case 66 INT/ARB-5566 Dec. No. 26306-A (McAlpin, 06-29-90)

Employer offer selected.

Sole issue: health insurance.

Employer offered to maintain status quo of Employer contribution of 107% of highest HMO premium; change in current standard plan (WPS-HIP), for managed health care provisions (Compcare) to be added with benefit reductions for non-certification of 20% of the policy’s hospital benefits to a maximum of $300 out-of-pocket per confinement; increase in deductible from $100 per person with two per family to $200 per person, two per family.

Union offered that the Employer pay full monthly premium for any HMO offered and the standard health insurance program. The Union rejected Compcare and benefit level changes proposed by City.

“The problem in this case is that both sides wish to alter the status quo, and it is left to the arbitrator to determine which position in its entirety is the most reasonable. (I)n fact, neither side’s position is entirely reasonable. Both sides wish to make substantial changes . . .”

Internal comparables favored the Employer; external comparables favored the Union.

Arbitrator found the Employer’s position to be “the least unreasonable” under these facts. “The arbitrator bases his decision on his strong feeling that if the Union’s position were accepted and the Employer were to pay the full cost of the WPS plan, a substantial number of its current employes would switch to the WPS plan. This is borne out by statistics of the other two bargaining units wherein the overwhelming majority of employes are in the WPS plan as opposed to the current statistics from the Highway Department . . .”

“If this happens, the problems that the parties will face at the next negotiation will be overwhelming in that the costs will be almost certainly seen by the employer to be intolerable. If the Union’s offer were implemented, the city has no option to mitigate its additional costs. The arbitrator has concluded that by accepting the employer’s offer, the impact on the union members would be less in that they have the option to mitigate potential damages until the next negotiations.”

Award for the Employer.

Manitowoc Public School District

Case 35 INT/ARB-5260 Dec. No. 26263-A (Nielsen, 06-27-90)

Union offer selected.

There are two issues in dispute: health insurance and when summer paychecks are to be paid. Although fully weighed, the summer paycheck issue was determined to be quite minor by the Arbitrator. The insurance issue was deemed to be the determinative issue.

“The District’s proposal make three significant changes in the teacher’s health insurance in the second year of the contract. First, it introduces a new co-payment plan under which faculty members pay 20% of the cost of covered services up to a maximum of $600 per person or $1,200 per family. There is currently no such co-payment for basic services, although there is a 20% co-payment, as well as a $100/$300 deductible for major medical. The second change is in the nervous and mental disorder / alcohol and drug coverage, where benefit levels are set at the minimum state mandates. Finally, the funding for insurance is changed. The status quo is District payment of the full premium for eleven months of the year and teacher payment of the premium for one month, in effect a premium sharing of 91.66% and 8.33%. The District proposes instead a flat dollar contribution of up to $350.00 per month for family coverage and up to $150.00 for single coverage. This payment is limited to the contract year only, presumably to eliminate any obligation by the District to pay for premium increases during a contract hiatus.”

The District argues that its proposal will reduce premiums by 10% – 12% and that co-pay and or deductibles is widely accepted in private sector. Further, the District argues that a quid pro quo has been given in that the settled wage increase eliminates the first step of the salary schedule and adds an additional step at the top of the schedule, thereby providing a substantial increase for experienced teachers.

The Association proposed pro-rata premium contributions for all teachers who teach less than full-time.

With respect to comparables, the Arbitrator concluded that settlements with public employes performing similar services strongly supports the status quo of the Association; that private sector comparison favors the District; and comparison with public employes generally yields a mixed result. He also concluded that internal comparables as relied upon by the District was not persuasive because the instant teacher unit rather than the custodial unit relied upon by the District is the trend setter and the total packages of the two units were different.

Thus, the Arbitrator concluded that “. . . the comparability criterion are closely balanced enough as to be inconclusive.”

The Arbitrator decided this case on whether the District has met its burden in proposing to change status quo. He concluded that the District must convincingly prove (1) need for a change; (2) that the proposal meets the need without undue hardship on the other party; and (3) that there has been a sufficient quid pro quo.

The Arbitrator found the Association’s offer more reasonable because the District, by not explaining how its proposal to add dollar caps will solve the problem of escalating insurance costs and by not adequately identifying the quid pro quo for its co-payment proposal, has failed to meet its burden.

Brown County (Public Library)

Case 395 INT/ARB-5243 Dec. No. 26208-A (R.U. Miller, 03-15-90)

Employer offer selected.

Only one issue was in dispute: wages.

The parties rely on different sets of comparables in support of their position. The County relies on a previous arbitrator’s reliance on closely contiguous employers possessing relatively similar size: Oshkosh, Appleton and Sheboygan. The Union’s set of comparables includes Madison, Oshkosh, Appleton, Eau Claire, Racine and Milwaukee. The Arbitrator rejected the Union’s expansion of external comparables on the basis that the previous arbitrator’s criterion for selection of comparables “provide a logical and consistent basis by which to proceed.”

The Union, in support of its proposal, relied on external comparables, arguing that there was a demonstrable need for catch-up pay. Further, the Union challenged the Employer’s reliance on internal comparables claiming there were not enough settlements to establish a pattern. The parties relied on these two statutory criterion only, and thus, the Arbitrator did not consider the other statutory criteria.

The Arbitrator concluded that the Union’s claim of a need for catch up based on Market Value was not supported by the record. The Arbitrator found the evidence to be conflicting, incomplete and, in part, supportive of either party’s position.

On the other hand, he found internal comparables conclusively supporting the County’s position. The Arbitrator concluded, contrary to the Union’s contention, that there was indeed a wage increase pattern established by the settlements of 10 of the 17 County units.

Thus, the Arbitrator selected the County’s final offer.