Stanley-Boyd Area School District
Case 41 INT/ARB-5018 Dec. No. 26204-B (Nielsen, 07-03-90)
Employer offer selected.
The sole issue in dispute was the District’s proposal that two new employes in the new classification of Cleaning Custodian receive a one-half hour unpaid lunch. The unit consisted of seven maintenance workers, five of them Custodial/Maintenance and two Cleaning Custodians. Four of the Custodial Maintenance workers received paid lunch hours during the school year by past practice. The Union’s final offer consisted of stipulations reached in bargaining and the existing contract, which was silent on paid and unpaid lunch hours. The District’s final offer consisted of the following:
Employees classified as Cleaning Custodians will receive a one-half (1/2) hour unpaid lunch period during their regular workday.
The Arbitrator found that the past practice applicable to Custodial/Maintenance workers did not extend to Cleaning Custodians, since they had been hired after the impasse developed, had been told that they would receive an unpaid lunch, and had in fact received an unpaid lunch for 18 months prior to the arbitration hearing. He found legitimate distinctions between their duties and those of other employes that would justify an unpaid lunch. Since mutuality is the touchstone of a binding past practice, and since the final offer of the Union was silent, it would not have the practical effect of extending the unpaid lunch to Cleaning Custodians over the District’s objections. There was therefore no practical distinction between the two final offers. The District’s offer, although unsupported by internal comparables, was deemed preferable because it had the advantage of clarity on the issue in dispute.
City of Milwaukee
Case 339 INT/ARB-5227 Dec. No. 26196-A (Krinsky, 07-10-90)
Union offer selected.
The parties are in dispute over two issues: wages and health and dental insurance. There is also a dispute over the appropriate external comparables.
With respect to health insurance, the Union offers no change in existing benefits, with one exception. It proposes that in 1990 the City contribute $10 per month for dental coverage for single enrollment, and $32 for family enrollment. For limited benefit employees, it proposes amounts of $5 and $16.
The City’s final offer contains numerous changes effective in 1990:
(a) Increase the major medical deductible to $100 per person and $300 per family maximum on the basic plan.
(b) For employees enrolled in the basic plan, an employe shall contribute $7.50 per month for single enrollment and $15.00 per month for family enrollment.
(c) For employes enrolled in HMOs, the City will contribute an amount towards meeting the subscriber cost in the HMO Plan elected, of up to 105% of the calendar year monthly subscriber cost of the HMO offered by the City having the lowest enrollment subscriber cost to the City.
(d) For dental coverage, the City shall contribute an amount up to $10 per month for single enrollment and up to $30 per month for family enrollment towards meeting the subscriber cost of the dental plan elected.
In addition, the City’s certified final offer contained certain “transplant benefits.” At the hearing the parties agreed that this was not an area of disagreement, and such benefits should be considered as part of the parties’ stipulations.
The result of the City’s offer in 1990 with respect to the HMOs offered is that two of them will cost single employes nothing. The two others will cost $3.38 and $7.79 per month. For families, three HMOs will cost employes nothing. The other HMO will cost $13.92 per month.
The City argued that internal comparables support its position. Seven of the City’s 19 bargaining units voluntarily accepted the City’s health and dental insurance proposal. An eighth is in arbitration, but the City’s health and dental insurance was acceptable. The Union, however, established that some settled units have received economic improvements beyond those which have been offered to the Union here. One arbitrator concluded that “It is clear that a pattern has begun of acceptance by the City’s Unions of the City’s plan, but it has only just begun. This is not the case of the Union being a single hold-out, or one of only a small number of unions which has rejected the City’s position. This being the case, the arbitrator is not persuaded that there is sufficient reason at this time based on internal comparables to compel acceptance of these arrangements by the Union. Certainly, the City’s goal of uniform health benefits for its employes is a reasonable one, but the arbitrator does not view it as something that should be achieved through arbitration rather than bargaining at this time.”
With respect to external comparables, the Arbitrator decided:
. . . that the most relevant external comparisons in this proceeding are the in-state comparisons with other large cities, the comparisons with other cities in the Milwaukee labor market, and the four other major metropolitan Milwaukee taxing units which utilize employees similar to those represented by the Union. To a somewhat lesser degree, the State government and Milwaukee area school districts are relevant. Least relevant are the benefits paid by other large cities outside of Wisconsin. Private sector data would be more relevant if it was from private employees in Milwaukee, or in the Milwaukee labor market, rather than national trend data.
The most relevant external comparisons clearly favor the Union’s final offer with respect to employee contributions to basic plans and HMOs. With respect to major medical deductibles, they support the City’s final offer.
The City argues that in negotiations the Union reached a tentative agreement on a complete contract in which the City’s health and dental insurance was accepted. The City argues that this is relevant even though the Union membership rejected the tentative agreement. The Arbitrator concluded that the fact that the Union previously tentatively agreed to what the City is now proposing is not in and of itself enough to make an award in favor of the City since the rights of the Union membership to accept or reject a proposed agreement must be respected, and because it would reduce the likelihood of achieving future tentative agreements if arbitrators ruled that actions of the bargainers could not be effectively rejected by the members.s
The Arbitrator concluded and decided the case as follows:
The cost difference between the parties’ final offers on health and dental insurance is small in relationship to overall costs, about $200,000, more or less, depending upon which cost figures are used, or slightly above 1/3 of a percent of payroll. The cost impact of the City’s final offer on those enrolled in HMOs is minimal, since two HMOs would still be free for single employees, and three would be free for families. The main impact of the City’s final offer is on pre-1983 employees who elect to remain in the basic plan, since they would now have to pay $15 per month for family coverage. Of course, this would be added incentive for them to switch to HMOs, a goal favored by both parties, in order to keep no-cost health coverage. The other impact is on employees who have major medical expenses, since their deductibles would increase. The total cost increases of both final offers exceed the increase in the cost of living. The City’s final offer, as the lower of the two, is preferred using that criterion. Thus, viewed strictly from the point of view of cost, the City’s final offer is preferred. It costs the taxpayers less than does the Union’s final offer, and still allows most employees to have no-cost health coverage. All of the employees could have no-cost health coverage, except for major medical deductibles, if they chose the HMOs which are offered without cost to employees.
The health and dental insurance offer made by the City is reasonable also as evidenced by the fact that the bargaining units within the City which have settled voluntarily to date (that is, as of March 31, 1990) have accepted it, as did the Union’s bargaining committee in the tentative agreement that was then rejected by the membership. The fact remains, however, that despite its reasonableness, the City’s proposal is a departure from existing bargained health coverage arrangements in that it requires premium contributions for the first time by pre-1983 employees in the basic plan, and results in costs to employees for some of the HMOs. Moreover, at the time the record was closed in this proceeding, these arrangements contained in the City’s final offer were in place for a minority of the City’s employees in a minority of bargaining units. For these reasons, both the bargaining history and the internal comparisons favor the Union’s final offer and do not provide sufficient reasons for the arbitrator to compel the Union to accept the City’s changes at this time, even though the result will be that during 1990 there will not be uniform health insurance benefits for City employees. Surely that goal can and will be addressed by the parties in future bargaining.
The most relevant external comparables clearly support the Union’s final offer more than the City’s with respect to employee contributions to basic and HMO plans. The State’s 105% model has been adopted by only a few of the comparison jurisdictions. While the City’s offer is supported by the external comparables with respect to raising the major medical deductibles, the arbitrator views the premium contribution arrangements for the basic plan and HMOs as a more important issue.
The City is rightfully concerned with escalating health insurance costs. The arbitrator hopes that the parties will continue to work closely together, as they have in the past, with the goal of containing those costs. While the City’s final offer would result in further additional cost savings, if adopted, the City asks the arbitrator to order these changes in previously bargained arrangements without providing sufficient justification at this time. The City’s costs, and the cost increases it must pay, are not out of line with those paid by comparable jurisdictions.
In its brief the City argues that an award in favor of the Union will have a disruptive effect because of the greater wage increases in the Union’s offer compared with the increases given to other City employees in bargaining units which have settled voluntarily. However, the evidence adduced by the Union makes clear that the economic packages provided to the units which settled voluntarily have varied in size and scope. The arbitrator does not know to what extent, if any, the Union’s total package increase will exceed the packages negotiated with other bargaining units if the Union’s final offer is adopted. The arbitrator’s focus in this dispute has been on the health insurance issue, something clearly desired by the parties. If the result of an award in favor of the Union is the creation of tensions with other bargaining units, that is indeed unfortunate, but such problems can be addressed in subsequent bargains.
The arbitrator has considered the statutory factors and has concluded that there is more merit to the Union’s final offer than the City’s final offer at this time.
Gillett School District
Case 21 INT/ARB-5357 Dec. No. 26301-A (Krinsky, 07-18-90)
Union offer selected.
The issues are wages, insurance and vacations. The District offered more than the Council on wages and vacations (one additional day 16th through 20th year); but less on insurance, and insurance was the key issue. With respect to insurance the Employer proposed to contribute 95% of the premiums in 1989-90 and 90% in 1990-91. At present it pays 100%. The Union proposed status quo was to insurance and vacation. The arbitrator found no dispute existed as to the lawful authority of the employer, the parties’ stipulations, the District’s financial ability or changes in circumstances during the proceeding. As to interests/welfare of the public, the arbitrator found that the District’s offer cost more in the immediate future, while its expected savings on insurance were speculative, and concluded that this factor did not favor either party’s offer. Internal comparisons favored the Council since the teachers have fully-paid insurance. External comparisons also favored the Council because six of the eight agreed comparable units paid 100% insurance for full-time employes, and this was deemed more significant than the fact that the District offer would put it more in line with respect to part-time employes. The District’s wage offer was found preferred because it better closed a gap between the District and the median comparable wage. The District’s offer was found “generous” by percentage comparisons with other comparable units including County units. Insurance comparisons to less comparable employers, including private companies, favored the District, but were deemed less significant than the comparable school districts. The District’s offer on vacation was more comparable to other districts and was preferred, but the Council’s overall offer was lower and was favored as closer to the cost of living. As to overall compensation, the arbitrator noted the reasonableness of the District’s argument that some part-time employes now had insurance which cost as much as their wages, but found that the parties had addressed this to some extent by pro-rating new part-time employes’ benefits, and that the remaining problem did not justify reducing full-time employes’ benefits. The arbitrator found an allegation by the District that he should consider the Council’s resistance to “any and all” approaches to reducing the cost of health insurance to be unsupported by testimony or other evidence. Overall the arbitrator concluded that the District’s wage and vacation offer was not an adequate quid pro quo for its proposal to reduce insurance benefits for full-time employes.
Cedar Grove-Belgium Area School District
Case 13 INT/ARB-5061 Dec. No. 26226-A (Fleischli, 07-20-90)
Employer offer selected.
Seven issues in dispute: seniority upon return from non-paid leave; timing of horizontal movement on salary schedule; class assignment language; health insurance premium contribution; part-time teacher pay; salary schedule; hourly rate for summer band and parades.
The District’s proposed comparables were favored based on their lesser divergence from the District’s size, demographics and proximity to urban areas, but no precise determination of comparables was deemed necessary given the relative importance of language issues somewhat unique to the parties. The District’s inclusion of the Association’s seniority proposal in its offer was not viewed as a significant concession. However, the District’s inclusion of the Association’s proposal for hiatus horizontal movement constituted significant but not sufficient quid pro quo for the District’s proposed change from fully paid to 97.5% paid health insurance, giving a close edge of the health insurance issue and on overall economics to the Association. (Both parties had proposed salary increases averaging $1,838 in the first year, and the District offered $50 more than the Association’s proposed $1,838 in the second year.) The Association also had preferable position on hourly rate for summer band and parades. However, the balance was tipped in favor of the District’s offer overall when arbitrator considered the combined weight of the Association’s requests for seniority and horizontal movement improvements, and the Association’s requests for changes in class assignment and part-time contract language. In the latter two areas, the arbitrator found that the Association’s proposed solutions went far beyond the actual problems which were shown to have arisen in those areas, whereas, for the most part the District’s proposals adequately addressed those problems.
River Falls School District
Case 18 INT/ARB-5334 Dec. No. 26296-A (Gundermann, 07-20-90)
Employer offer selected.
There were two issues in dispute before Arbitrator Gundermann — wages and subcontracting. On the issue of subcontracting the District proposed the continuation of existing contract language whereas the Union proposal changed the contract language from “1989” to “1991.” Gundermann found that the Association’s proposal to status quo. Because the Union did not meet its burden in establishing a need to continue to prohibit subcontracting beyond the date previously bargained nor did it offer a quid pro quo for the change, it had not justified the proposed change.
On the issue of wages, there was an initial dispute with respect to comparables to be used in analyzing the proposals. In addition to the traditional athletic conference comparables, the Association urged a review of other public employers within the Twin Cities area who, like River Falls, are also influenced by that economy. The arbitrator found both sets of comparables worthy of consideration.
Upon analyzing the wage data, the arbitrator concluded that while there was justification for an increase in excess of the average increase of the comparables, there was no justification for the magnitude of the Association’s proposal. The arbitrator could not find support for the Association’s proposal among the comparable settlements or the cost of living. Also, the arbitrator rejected the Association claim that the District proposal represented a substantial restructuring of the salary schedule.
The arbitrator adopted the District’s final offer.
Mellen Public Schools
Case 15 INT/ARB-5350 Dec. No. 26309-A (Friess, 07-29-90)
Employer offer selected.
Other Issues: Employer–allow union representatives who miss work due to union business to make up the lost work time. Union–allow union representatives who miss work due to union business to be paid.
Holidays: Employer–allow employes who work more than the school year plus 2 weeks and day care workers to be eligible for paid holidays; require employes to work or be on paid leave the day before and after the holiday in order to be paid for the holiday; and pay double time in lieu of holiday pay whenever an employe is required to work on a holiday. Union–allow employes who work four or more weeks in a year to be eligible for paid holidays.
Vacations: Employer–defines eligible employes as 12 month employes; proposes to phase out the existing bonus days by grandfathering those employes currently receiving them; and restricts the taking of vacation days to no less than half day increments. Union–defines eligible employes as those who work 41 or more weeks in a year; proposes to continue the existing bonus days up to a maximum of 10 days; and places no restrictions on how vacation days can be taken.
Annuity Contribution: Employer–proposes to phase in annual contributions for the employes who are not 12 month employes (3.2% for 1989-90 and 4.1% for 1990-91) and to increase the percentage contribution for the 12 month employes from 9% to 9.8% effective with the 1990-91 school year. Union–proposes to increase the percentage for the 12 month employes in each year of the agreement (9.2% for the last half of 1988-89, 9.8% for 1989-90, and 10.3% for 1990-91); and to add those employes who work less than 12 months, but more than 41 weeks, to the program.
Personal, Emergency and Funeral Leave: Employer–provide that employes may take up to 5 days off from work per incident when a member of the employe’s immediate family is hospitalized or receiving services from a physician; these leave days would be deducted from the employe’s accumulated sick leave; provide up to 4 days of funeral leave, also deducted from accumulated sick leave, to be taken for deaths in the employe’s immediate family. Union–proposes that all employes be allowed to take one personal day and one emergency day which would not be deducted from sick leave; and that employes could take time off from work at pay with no deduction from salary or sick leave for up to two days due to a death in the employe’s immediate family.
Sick Leave: Employer–grants 10 days per year sick leave and caps accumulation at 90 days; and provides that sick leave be taken in half day increments. Union–grants 12 days per year sick leave and caps accumulation at 100 days; allows employes to use sick leave for their own illnesses as well as serious illnesses of an immediate family member; and makes no restrictions on the use of sick leave to half day increments.
Family/Medical Leave: Employer–proposes that family and medical leave would be granted as provided by state and federal law. Union–proposes that after two years of employment, any employe requesting an unpaid maternity or child rearing leave would be granted a leave for up to one year.
Unpaid Leaves: Employer–proposes that the District’s decision to grant one-day unpaid leave would not be subject to the grievance procedure. Union–proposal is silent on this point.
The arbitrator first looked to the school districts in the Indianhead Athletic Conference as the primary comparables, but eliminated Hurley and Butternut due to a lack of sufficient data from those districts. Next, he looked to employers from the following contiguous counties as secondary comparables: Bayfield, Iron, Price and Sawyer.
The arbitrator found the parties’ offers to be equally reasonable on the issues of holidays and family medical leave.
Next, the Arbitrator found that the Employer’s offer was preferred on the major issues of wages, annuity contribution and vacations, and on the minor issue of union business leave. With respect to wages, the arbitrator found the Employer’s offer considerably more reasonable regarding the type of increase, but the Union’s substantially more reasonable on the amount of increase. Overall, he found the Employer’s offer more preferable.
Finally, he found that the Union’s offer was preferred on the minor issues of sick leave and personal/emergency leave.
After so finding, the arbitrator concluded that the Employer’s final offer was “somewhat more reasonable” than the Union’s.
Southern Door School District
Case 19 INT/ARB-5363 Dec. No. 26317-A (Yaffe, 08-02-90)
Union offer selected.
Rationale: The only disputed item is the salary schedule for the 1990-91 school year.
On the issue of comparability Yaffe found that when the factual circumstance upon which a given set of comparables changes, it is appropriate to recognize the change. In doing so in this case he excludes Mishicot from consideration.
In analyzing the respective offers, Yaffe agrees that the District’s total package approach to developing a 1990-91 salary schedule is more equitable and preferable to the Association’s when all else is equal. However, in determining whether all else was relatively equal, a benchmark analysis of the schedule minimums and maximums revealed that at every benchmark the Association’s offer was significantly more comparable. A second basis for comparison was the average percentage and dollar salary increase which showed the Association proposal to be more comparable. Finally, even the Association’s total package increase was slightly more comparable.
Thus, Yaffe selected the Association’s final offer.
City of Rice Lake (Police Department)
Case 36 MIA-1456 Dec. No. 26331-A (Krinsky, 08-10-90)
Employer offer selected.
Two issues were in dispute: wages and health insurance language.
Both parties argued for a different set of comparables than used by Arbitrator Rice in the 1987 arbitration between the parties. The Arbitrator found that Rice’s conclusions with respect to comparables were still applicable. The main issue in the present dispute was health insurance language. The median wage increase among the comparables for 1990 was 4.0%, so the Union’s 4.0% was more reasonable than the Employer’s 4.5%, but the Employer asserted the higher wage offer was the quid pro quo for the change in health insurance language. Both parties had proposed new language on health insurance from the prior contract with the Employer capping the premium at a dollar amount and the Union seeking full premium payment. The parties also offered different standards for a change in carrier: the Employer proposed “if benefits substantially equivalent” and the Union proposed “if benefits equal or better.” The Arbitrator reviewed the internal comparables and concluded they supported the Employer’s position while a review of the external comparables supported the Union’s position. With respect to the quid pro quo, the Employer argued that it had a compelling need to control the rapidly increasing cost of health insurance, and the .5% wage increase was a reasonable quid pro quo. The Union asserted that the Employer’s proposal would result in a net loss to employes taking one HMO, so the offer was not reasonable. The Arbitrator concluded that the quid pro quo was reasonable because this unit’s benefit package would be more in line with the Employer’s other units who had agreed to similar language to control costs. The Arbitrator reviewed the bargaining history which indicated that the Employer had attempted in the past to negotiate changes in health insurance costs and language to provide adequate coverage but at a less expensive cost. The Arbitrator selected the Employer’s offer on the basis it had been accepted by the Employer’s other units and the Employer’s quid pro quo for the change was reasonable as employes still had a choice of insurance plans, and the dollar caps were still significantly greater than other comparable contributions for health insurance.
New Holstein School District
Case 17 INT/ARB-5478 Dec. No. 26348-A (Nielsen, 08-11-90)
Employer offer selected.
The issues in dispute were wages for both years of the contract, and the Board’s demand for a 5% teacher contribution to health and dental insurance beginning in the second year of the contract. The Association asked for consideration of comparables other than the athletic conference schools established by a prior arbitrator.
The Arbitrator acknowledged that the change in the working of criterion “d” of Section 111.70 would broaden the comparable pool for public employee comparisons. However, he ruled that comparisons beyond those historically employed by the parties would be given minimal weight, since changing the pool of comparables would undermine the stability of the parties’ relationship and the integrity of the bargaining process.
The Association’s wage offer was slightly preferable under teacher-to-teacher comparisons of total salary increases. However, the Board’s wage offer was slightly preferred overall because it alternated a dollars per cell and percent per cell method of distributing salary money, which addressed a weakness in the salary schedule base without unduly penalizing experienced teachers.
The Board’s proposal to introduce a 5% contribution on insurance was a reasonable response to rapidly escalating insurance costs, and was preferable to an attempt to impose benefit changes through arbitration. It was supported by private sector comparisons, which were found more persuasive on benefit issues than wage issues. The Association’s status quo position was non-responsive to the problem of escalating costs. The Board failed to demonstrate that any quid pro quo was offered for the change in insurance contribution, and thus the Association’s offer was slightly preferred on the insurance issue as being less unreasonable.
The Arbitrator characterized this as a very close case, but selected the District’s offer because it took responsibility for addressing the shared problems of a weak base salary and rising insurance costs, while the Association offer was silent on both points.
Delavan-Darien School District
Case 17 INT/ARB-5275 Dec. No. 26439-A (Nielsen, 07-27-90)
Consent Award included salary schedules with some structure modifications and an agreement to change the health insurance deductible from $50/150 to $100/300 effective January 1, 1991.
City of Watertown (Police Department)
Case 38 MIA-1468 Dec. No. 26343-A (Gundermann, 08-14-90)
Employer offer selected.
The issues in dispute were the wage increase and a $500 annual payment for maintaining State-mandated certification as a police officer.
The Employer urged a set of comparables which included Beaver Dam, Fort Atkinson, Waupun and Whitewater, because they were similar in population and in geographic proximity, while excluding Sun Prairie and Oconomowoc, comparables supported by a prior arbitration, because of their proximity to Madison and Milwaukee, respectively. It argued that additional comparables used in the Firefighters’ arbitration were not appropriate because the Firefighters had trouble establishing comparables due to the lack of municipalities having full-time firefighters.
The Employer contended that its wage increase was more reasonable and would maintain wages above the average of the comparables. It pointed out the Union’s proposal exceeded the average in terms of percentage increases, percentage lift and actual dollar increases. The $500 annual payment, according to the Employer, was not warranted because an officer’s base salary already included compensation for this and there could be no comparison to the firefighters who are paid this sum if they become EMTI certified, a voluntary program more advanced than EMT certification. Firefighters who did not maintain EMT certification had $300 deducted from their base salary. The Employer asserted there was no historical parity between the police and fire units.
The Union asserted its final offer should be selected to retain the best and most qualified officers, as 22 officers had left in the last 10 years. It submitted that Oconomowoc’s officers received about $3,500 per year more than bargaining unit employes and geographically Oconomowoc was only 10 minutes away. The Union submitted a more extensive list of comparables to provide the best overall view of police departments and many were those relied on by the Firefighters in arbitration. The Union claimed its wage offer was more reasonable as the wage level had declined from the average in 1983 to $1,000 below the average. The Union contended its proposal followed the Firefighters’ settlement and justified the $500 payment which is compensation for training and experience.
The Arbitrator selected the same comparables as those determined in a prior arbitration between the parties because there was no showing that these were inappropriate and their use would establish a degree of predictability to bargaining and arbitration. With respect to the wage offers of 5% by the Employer and a 4% and 4% split by the Union, the Arbitrator found support for each offer. The Arbitrator found that the $500 annual payment sought by the Union was a major change in the method of compensating police officers and as such should be negotiated and not imposed by an arbitrator. According to the Arbitrator, the Union needed to present a compelling reason for such a change, and no evidence was presented that this had become an accepted method of compensating police officers. The Union’s reliance on the Firefighters’ settlement was misplaced because EMTI certification was voluntary and not state mandated. Certification of police officers is state mandated and is a condition of employment similar to other occupations which in turn is reflected in the level of compensation for that occupation. Thus, the Arbitrator selected the Employer’s final offer because the $500 annual payment was a major change and the evidence failed to prove a compelling reason for this change.
Auburndale School District
Case 20 INT/ARB-5298 Dec. No. 26257-A (Zeidler, 09-02-90)
Employer offer selected.
Issues: wages, health insurance and extra duty schedule.
The Union and the District each used the Cloverbelt Athletic Conference as the primary comparable. The Union also used districts within a twenty mile radius of the District and state-wide comparisons. The arbitrator found the Cloverbelt Athletic Conference to be the primary comparable, the group of districts within the twenty mile radius to have a secondary value, and the state-wide comparisons to have only a minor weight.
The arbitrator found that there was a substantial rural constituency, that land values had dropped sharply, that farmers had not replaced capital equipment as rapidly as before, that farm prices were increasing, that farm income was increasing, that state aid was a substantial portion of the District’s budget and that such aid had improved, that the District did not rank high in equalized value, that the District had one of the higher per capita incomes in the Conference, that the equalized value had dropped sharply and was rising again, and that the mil rate had declined slightly. The arbitrator concluded that the District had the financial capacity to meet the Union’s offer.
The arbitrator found that total package costs represent more nearly the true cost to the District. The Arbitrator found that the District’s total package costs were below the conference averages and that the Union’s total package costs were well above it. The arbitrator found that the District’s offer more nearly met the changes in the relevant CPI, i.e., which was the change in the year prior to the beginning of the new agreement. The arbitrator found that the District’s offer, while exceeding settlements among other public employes in the area, was the more reasonable when comparing the offers to settlements involving other municipal employes.
Wages: The arbitrator found that the District’s wage offer, which added the same dollar amount to the base of each lane and retained the existing dollar amount differences between lanes and steps, affected the structure of the existing salary schedule by producing a declining percentage increase for teachers in the schedule at the higher levels of educational credits and longer service in the District. The arbitrator found that the Union’s wage offer, which added the same percentage to each cell of the schedule, tended to improve the position of teachers at the top of the steps and lanes of the schedule.
The arbitrator concluded that conference schools differed substantially with respect to schedule structure. The arbitrator found that the majority of the conference schools had settlements in which there were nearly equal percentages for the benchmark cells and concluded that the Union’s structure was more comparable on that basis. The arbitrator noted, however, that there were conference settlements in which the size of the percentage increase declined as the steps and lanes increase.
When analyzing the issue of schedule structure, the arbitrator concluded that the more weighty evidence in terms of comparability was the effect of the structure in terms of actual dollar returns to the teacher. The arbitrator stated that it has been his opinion that an employer need not offer more than is needed to maintain ranking in dollars received to maintain actual comparability. The arbitrator concluded that, while the pattern of the schedule offered by the District and the percentage increases on the benchmarks were not comparable to the pattern appearing in comparable districts, that the effect of the District’s offer was to produce comparable results in ranking of actual wages received in terms of dollars.
The arbitrator concluded that, inasmuch as the District’s offer maintained relative rank for wages in terms of dollars received in the primary and conference districts, the District’s offer meets the statutory criteria of comparability.
Extra Duty: The Union proposed a 5% increase for all rates, effective 1989-90. The District proposed a 3% increase for all rates, effective 1990-91. Giving consideration to the fact that the extra-duty schedule was not improved in the previous agreement and the fact that the District tended to be in the lower half of the conference districts, the arbitrator concluded that the Association’s position on extra duty was more reasonable even though each offer produces the same numerical ranking in 1989-90.
Insurance: The Union proposed that the District pay a dollar amount toward the family premium which as equivalent to 100% of the premium in the first year of the contract and 98.6% of the premium in the second year. For the second year, the Union proposed that the District pay a dollar amount toward the single premium which was 100% of the premium in the first year and 96.8% of the premium in the second year. The District proposed a dollar amount which was equivalent to 95% of each premium in the first year. In the second year, the District proposed a dollar amount which was 89.6% of the family premium and 87.9% of the single premium. Under the previous contract, the dollar amount of the District’s contribution as 100% of the premium.
The arbitrator concluded that each proposal produced family premium dollar amounts which were slightly above the average of the comparables and individual premium dollar amounts which were slightly below the average of the comparables, and, thus, were not distinguishable with respect to this factor. Upon considering the issue of comparability on the basis of percentage paid, the arbitrator found that the comparables generally provided 100% payment of either the single or the family premium. Recognizing that neither proposal paid 100% of either form of the premium, the arbitrator found that the comparables favored some form of cost sharing on the family plan and, on that issue, considered the District’s proposal to be more comparable. While concluding that the District’s escalation to a 10% employe contribution in the second year was too rapid an escalation, the arbitrator found the District’s proposal to more nearly conform to the emerging pattern of settlements in which employes contribute towards health insurance.
Weston School District
Case 23 INT/ARB-5473 Dec. No. 26417-A (Yaffe, 09-05-90)
Employer offer selected.
The only issue is salary. Unusually, the parties essentially agreed that the Association’s proposal for 1990-91 was more comparable to the agreed comparable districts than the District’s. The parties disputed which offer was more comparable for 1989-90, however. The Association urged that only voluntary settlements be considered, but the arbitrator rejected this argument and also considered arbitrated agreements. The arbitrator focused on actual salaries at various benchmark levels rather than size of increases or rankings. He found that at four of the seven benchmark levels the District’s offer was more comparable than the Association’s. This was also true for total package amounts. The arbitrator agreed with the District that 1989-90 figures should be given more weight than 1990-91 because there were more settlements to measure and the insurance data was more final. On that balance the District’s offer was slightly preferable. As to other factors, the offers both exceeded the cost of living, but the District’s was closer. Settlement trends among private and other public sector employes were closer to the District’s offer. The interest and welfare of the public favored the District’s offer because, while rural teacher salaries lagged their urban equivalents generally, this was a matter of public policy, and teachers in Weston were fairly compensated based on “currently held economic and political considerations and values.” Thus, the District’s offer was preferred overall.
Monroe County (Highway Department)
Case 81 INT/ARB-5185 Dec. No. 26166-A (Reynolds, 09-06-90)
Employer offer selected.
Four issues were in dispute: wages, health insurance premium contribution, funeral leave and sick leave/health insurance credit.
The arbitrator noted that the parties had reached a tentative settlement in bargaining, but one party did not ratify it due to dissatisfaction with one issue, health insurance premium contribution, and his decision focused on that issue.
The Employer asserted that the fixed dollar contribution by employes was obsolete because the high increase in premiums placed the burden of cost increases solely on the Employer. It also argued that internal comparables supported its position as the Employer’s other units had accepted the Employer’s offer.
The Union argued that the Employer’s offer was unreasonable because the Employer did not offer a satisfactory quid pro quo for the change. The Union denied that the internal comparables supported the Employer because it attained the health insurance change in the other units by giving them substantial wage adjustments as a quid pro quo.
The arbitrator applied the following burden of proof on the Employer as the seeker of the change in contract language: (1) Does present contract language give rise to conditions that require change? (2) Does proposed language remedy the situation? (3) Does proposed language place an unreasonable burden on the other party?
The arbitrator rejected the Union’s argument on the adequacy of the quid pro quo on the basis that there was not sufficient evidence that any wage increase granted employes was to purchase the change in language. Noting that there now was a difference in language on health insurance premiums between this unit and the other units, the first burden was satisfied and instituting the same language in all units satisfied the second. With respect to the third burden, the arbitrator noted that the Employer was seeking a new method of premium contribution from a fixed dollar cost to one based on total premium cost. The arbitrator held that it is reasonable to expect a worker to participate in controlling benefit costs of the Employer, and the parties could work together to keep future increases to a minimum and held the burden on the Union was reasonable.
Vernon County (Courthouse & Human Services)
Case 81 INT/ARB-5536 Dec. No. 26360-A (Friess, 09-09-90)
Union offer selected.
The issues in dispute are wages, the placement on the salary schedule of three accreted positions, termination notice, vacation schedule changes, and retroactivity of on-call pay increases. There was also a dispute over appropriate comparables with both parties taking extreme positions: the Union proposing nearly every County within a 100 mile radius, and the County rejecting all external comparables and proposing only internal comparables. The arbitrator primarily relying on population and ratio to farm land to population, selected the following as comparables: Crawford, Iowa, Jackson, Juneau, Monroe, Richland and Trempealeau Counties.
The arbitrator found that neither wage offer was very reasonable because both parties used different ways to cost the implementation of a new progressive salary schedule awarded in an arbitration award issued last year and because neither proposed any reasonable solution to the high economic impact of said schedule. He held that the cost of implementing the schedule should be considered separate from the cost of living and ruled for the Union on the wage issue on the basis of cost of living, ability to pay, internal comparables, external comparables, overall compensation and interests and welfare of the public. While otherwise agreeing with the Employer’s claim that they should be red-lined and frozen at their present rates because of their high salaries, the Arbitrator found for the Union regarding the accreted positions involving the Mental Health Case Manager, the Financial Clerk/Bookkeeper, and the Developmental Disabilities Driver and where they should be placed on the salary schedule. He went on to rule for the Union on the question of retroactivity of on-call pay based mainly on equity concerns, and he found in favor of the Employer on the amount of vacation scheduling and the amount of notice part-timers needed to give the Employer before quitting. Overall, he selected the Union’s offer over the Employer’s. In doing so, he stated that the parties have again chosen to negotiate a contract through the arbitration process and that they needed to sit down at the bargaining table to talk and to listen through their differences, rather than relying so heavily on outside arbitrators.
City of Two Rivers
Case 66 INT/ARB-43769 Dec. No. 26465-A (Zeidler, 09-22-90)
Union offer selected.
Only a single issue was in dispute. The City proposed to eliminate the phrase “or for any other reason” from Article XI, Insurance, Pension Termination, Section f. Termination Pay. The Union proposed maintaining the status quo. The provision in dispute provides up to a maximum of $1,500.00 to any employe who, after five years of employment, retires, dies, becomes disabled or for any other reason leaves the service of the employer in good faith. The payout is based upon one days pay for each year of service.
The City took the position that external comparables (Manitowoc City and County) supported its position and that this benefit is not found elsewhere. The City also argued the Union was attempting through interest arbitration to depart from the voluntary settlement pattern established among other City bargaining units. The City also asserted the other City bargaining units agreed to the change in language without any quid pro quo. The City also pointed out the parties’ bargaining teams had reached a tentative agreement which included the language change. In addition, the City argued the interest and welfare of the public was not served by a benefit which in effect awarded an employe who quit to work somewhere else.
The Union argued external comparables cited by the City should be given little weight because historically the comparables used by the parties have not included Manitowoc City or County. The Union argued internal comparables support its position because employes hired before January 1, 1982, have not $1,500.00 cap. The Union also argued the tentative agreement should not be given any significant weight because the tentative agreement was not ratified by the membership. The Union pointed out the City offered no quid pro quo and argued the City did not demonstrate any need for the change. The Union also argued the City made a moral judgment on termination pay and therefore the City has placed the public welfare and interest at risk because of the personal preference of City officials.
The Arbitrator concluded that the external comparables lend a modicum of weight to the City’s position. While the City did obtain the sought for language change with other City bargaining units, the Arbitrator concluded the severance pay clauses were distinguishable noting the lack of a cap for grandfathered employes. The Arbitrator also found the tentative agreement was not a major factor concluding the acceptance of such results has an inherent danger of shutting out the voices of the principals in a labor dispute in favor of bargaining teams. The Arbitrator further found that while the City did not have to show a quid pro quo for its proposed offer, the City failed to demonstrate any compelling need for uniformity amongst bargaining units nor did the City experience an urgent need to change the existing provision. In addition, the Arbitrator concluded a benefit such as termination pay, in the manner in which it had been contractually agreed to and defined by the parties, was a deferred benefit and the continuation of such a benefit would not injure the interest of the public. The Arbitrator also determined that the City’s proposed language change could be interpreted to mean the same as the original language and that the welfare and interest of the public would not be served by adopting an ambiguous proposal such as the City’s offer.
Based on the above, the Union offer was selected.
Howards Grove School District
Case 10 INT/ARB-5483 Dec. No. 26363-A (Friess, 09-25-90)
Employer offer selected.
The Arbitrator ruled that the comparable pool of school districts should consist of a mutually agreed on group of districts which had been accepted as comparable by prior arbitrators, those mutually accepted by the parties which may also be geographically proximate to the District. These comparables included the six athletic conference districts plus three nearby districts (Brillion, Reedsville and Valders). Two of these districts had no settlement data for 1989-90 or 1990-91 of record here, five had voluntary settlements for 1989-90, four were settled for 1990-91 and the remainder were in interest arbitration. The Arbitrator therefore held that it was appropriate for him to use both final offer data as well as settlement data here.
The Arbitrator held that the District’s proposal to go from paying “the full premium” to a 95% District contribution toward health insurance premiums was merely “an ordinary change” not an “important” or “substantial change” in the status quo because 1) the change would only affect economics not the level of benefits/coverage, 2) health insurance (in the Arbitrator’s view) is generally negotiated between parties to collective bargaining agreements each time the agreement is open, 3) the change proposed by the District here was (in the Arbitrator’s view) not as extreme as it could have been, and 4) in 1982 the dollar equivalent of a 100% premium payment by the District was placed in the agreement through interest arbitration and remained at that level for a time period unknown until the parties voluntarily agreed to insert “full premium” District payment language in the agreement.
The Arbitrator stated that the parties proposed overall total package compensation reflected in their offers as well as in the stipulations would be considered in weighing the reasonableness of the offers given the fact that the dispute here was essentially economic. The Arbitrator also held that internal (District) comparables on the health insurance issue would receive “substantial weight.” The Arbitrator held also that “cost of living” should be perceived as a “separate (from settlement pattern) criterion” but that since the parties herein have given it little emphasis or consideration in the past, the Arbitrator gave cost of living “a small amount of weight.”
The Arbitrator held that the District’s wage offer was to be preferred based on the cost-of-living criterion, the interests and welfare of the public criterion, both external and internal comparability criteria and based on settlement data available regarding both private and public sector (non-teaching) employe groups.
Regarding the health insurance premium payment issue, the Arbitrator found that the Employer’s offer was “somewhat more reasonable” although neither offer was preferred based on comparisons to other comparable teacher groups and based on the interest and welfare of the public criterion.
The Arbitrator found that the District’s offer was preferred based on four criteria: comparisons to private sector employe groups, the cost of living and the overall compensation criteria and the equity criterion, while the Union’s offer was preferable only based on comparisons to other public sector employe groups.
Rio Community School District
Case 10 INT/ARB-5409 Dec. No. 26328-A (Kerkman, 09-27-90)
Union offer selected.
The Arbitrator concluded that the comparables to be used are the same as those relied upon by prior arbitrators–the athletic conference and one additional district. However, since neither party included the additional district in their primary comparables, it was not considered. The Arbitrator concluded that the use of statewide data as a secondary set of comparables is dependent upon the showing of a relationship which existed prior to the time of the dispute. He concluded that statewide data will be considered as a secondary consideration if the appropriate relationships have been established and the data is either sparse or non-existent for comparables amongst the primary group.
Salary Issue: The Arbitrator first notes that the Association is proposing a change in the status quo with regard to the salary schedule. The prior agreement provided for $400 horizontal increments and 4% vertical increments, while the Association proposes that the horizontal increments be maintained at the same percentage differential which existed in the prior agreement, as opposed to the $400 horizontal increments.
With regard to a comparison of the patterns of settlement for 1988-89-90, the Arbitrator notes that the average increases per returning teacher shown by the parties differ. The difference between the average of the employer data and the Association data is $50.00 per teacher. This results from the difference between the parties’ costing of the settlements in two districts, the difference in one amounting to $151.00 per teacher and in the other a difference of $235.00 per teacher for a total of $386.00 per teacher differential. The Arbitrator concludes that this accounts for $48.25 of the difference in the averages between the parties. The Arbitrator reviews the costing methods of the two parties regarding those two districts and notes that with regard to one district the Association included the lane movement and in the other district included credit salary and credit reimbursement costs, while the employer figures in the two districts only included salary schedule increases. For that reason, the Arbitrator concluded that the District’s figures would be accepted.
The Arbitrator next notes that the range of increases in the athletic conference is from $1,398.00 (5.2%) increase per returning teacher to $1,693.00 (6.5%) increase per returning teacher, for an average increase among the comparables of $1,498.00 (5.8%) increase. From this, the Arbitrator concludes that the District’s percentage offer of 5.8% is exactly on the average and falls at approximately the mid-point between the high and low percentage increases, while the Association’s offer exceeds the average. Therefore, the District’s offer more nearly reflects the settlement patterns amongst the conference for the 1989-90 period. With regard to the dollars per returning teacher, the Arbitrator notes that the District’s offer is only $5.00 above the lowest increase in the comparables and that the Association’s offer is the second highest amongst the comparables. Because the offers of the parties gravitate to the low and high ends of the comparables, the Arbitrator concluded that neither offer is preferred with regard to this consideration. However, in considering both the percentage increases and the average dollar increases, the Arbitrator concludes that the District’s offer is “narrowly preferred” because its offer is closer to the pattern on the percentage increase consideration.
With regard to the patterns of settlement for a total package for 1989-90, the District’s offer generates $2,457.00 average per returning teacher (7.8%) compared to the Association offer of $2,714.00 (8.6%). The Arbitrator finds that the average of the increases amongst the comparables total $2,359.00, or 6.9%. Both the District and the Association offers exceed the highest percentage total package settlements in the conference and the District’s offer is third highest looking at dollars while the Association’s offer would be the highest. From this, the Arbitrator considers the District’s offer to be closer to the pattern of settlement for a total package increases per returning teacher for 1989-90.
With respect to 1990-91, the Arbitrator notes that only two of the districts in the conference have settled for that year. He rejects the Association’s argument that there is insufficient data to make judgments as to the patterns of settlement for 1990-91 in that he concludes the data cannot be ignored. The District’s offer exceeds both of the settled districts when considering salary settlements and total package settlements. Thus, the Arbitrator concludes the District’s offer is supported by that data. The Arbitrator indicates that he would consider statewide patterns of settlement for 1990-91 due to the paucity of the data in the conference, but that there is nothing in the record that provides that data for such comparisons. Thus, the Arbitrator concludes that the District’s offer is preferred when considering patterns of settlement.
The Arbitrator next considers salary comparisons. The District argued that benchmark comparisons should not be considered due to the fact that some schedules have been modified by compression and elimination of steps making comparisons invalid. The Arbitrator agreed that such modifications of schedules can result in distorted comparisons, but still concludes that comparing the BA base, i.e. the starting salary, and the top rate do constitute valid comparisons. Looking first at the BA without credits lane for 1989-90, the Arbitrator concludes that the BA base offered by either party ranks ninth amongst the comparables and ranks third at the BA max. Therefore, comparing the salary schedules at BA lane for 1989-90 amongst the comparable conference schools, the Arbitrator concludes that there is no need to depart from the patterns of settlement in order to “keep up” as argued by the Association. With regard to the MA without credits lane and MA max without credits, the Arbitrator finds that regardless of which offer is adopted, the rankings at the MA base and the MA max will result in the District ranking ninth, or last, among the comparables. However because the Association’s offer would result in being closer to the next lowest MA base and MA max in the comparables, the Association offer is preferable in this regard. With regard to schedule max for 1989-90, the Arbitrator notes that two of the districts do not have a salary maximum as they both provide for additional money for each graduate level credit beyond the MA. Looking then only at the six other districts that have a schedule max, the Arbitrator concludes that under both offers the District would rank seventh, or last, among those comparables. If the other two districts are considered, the Arbitrator notes that they would provide significantly higher maximum salaries than proposed by either party in this dispute. For those reasons, the Arbitrator concludes that the salary maximums establish a preference for the Association offer. From the foregoing, the Arbitrator concludes that the District offer is sufficient in looking at the BA lane and that the Association offer is preferred in looking at the MA minimum and maximum without credits in the schedule max, and considering altogether that the Association offer is preferred as it does more to close the gap. He further notes that that conclusion is buttressed when considering that the Association offer at the BA without credits lane would also maintain the ranking of third among the comparables as does the District offer.
With regard to 1990-91, the Arbitrator notes that only two of the districts have salary schedules established for that year. Comparing the offers in the same manner as was done for 1989-90 with regard to the schedule, the Arbitrator finds that the same results occur. For that reason, the Association offer is also preferred for 1990-91 when comparing salary at the benchpoints discussed.
Next, the Arbitrator considers the evidence provided by the Association with regard to the relationship between the benchpoints in the District and the statewide averages beginning with the year 1984-85. After reviewing the data the Arbitrator concludes that the District has lost ground with respect to its relationship to the state averages. Therefore, concluding that data supports the Association offer.
The Arbitrator then considers the total compensation comparison of benefits to benefits as opposed to the pattern of increases represented by package costs. In comparing the data on health insurance he concludes that the percent of premium participation by the employer is less in the District than any other comparable district, and that the deductibles are at least as high as the other highest deductible amongst the comparable schools. With respect to dental insurance, the data establishes that the District pays the lowest premium amongst the comparable school districts and is the only district not to provide 100% payment of premiums. With regard to life insurance benefits, the District, like four other districts in the conference, provides no life insurance coverage. From this data, the Arbitrator concludes with respect to total compensation when considering insurance benefits along with salaries that the District provides total compensation at a lower level than the comparable districts and that the cost providing the benefits is less for the District than any of the other comparable employers. Thus, the Association offer is preferred.
The Arbitrator also compares the instant offers to the private sector settlements for 1988-89 and 1990-91 and concludes that the District’s offer is higher on a percentage basis and that therefore the comparisons favor adoption of the District offer. Regarding the cost of living, since the District’s offer exceeds the cost of living for both years it must be concluded that that criterion favors the District offer. However, the weight to be placed on the criterion is diminished by reason of the “almost universal arbitral opinion” that insulation against the cost-of-living increases is most appropriately measured by the voluntary settlements which have occurred amongst the comparable school districts. With regard to the interest and welfare of the public, the Arbitrator notes the District’s evidence that the average total taxable income in the District ranked in the middle of comparable districts and that its gross and effective property tax rates were the highest amongst the comparables. On the other hand, the Association presented evidence regarding the turnover rate amongst the comparables showing that the rate was considerably higher in this District when compared to the other districts. With regard to the latter, the Arbitrator conceded that the evidence did not establish that in each and every case the terminations occurred because of salary. However, he did conclude that salary plays an important role in teacher retention and that the high turnover is at least in part due to the salary schedule in this District when compared to salary opportunities in the profession elsewhere. Based on those findings, the Arbitrator concluded that this criterion is unpersuasive in its application to the instant dispute.
Extra-Curricular Salary: The issue is whether the District’s proposal of a total increase on the extra-curricular schedule of $1,828 in 1989-90 and $1,918 in 1990-91 should be adopted or whether the terms of the predecessor agreement should be retained providing for an improvement of $2,400 total improvement for each year. The Association argues that the status quo should be maintained while the District argues that the amount of improvement is negotiable and should not be considered as status quo and that the issue is comparatively minor in relation to the primary issue of salary which ought to control the outcome. The Arbitrator agrees with the District that the salary is the primary issue and will control the outcome.
Conclusion: The Arbitrator concluded that the patterns of settlement and the cost-of-living criteria establish a preference for the District offer while the comparison of salary to comparable salaries and a comparison of total compensation favored the Association offer. Concluding that the salary comparisons and total compensation comparisons are to be given the greatest weight, the Association offer is preferred even though it departs from the format in the prior salary schedule. He concludes that that departure is essential in order to maintain or close the gap between the District and the comparables with regard to salary paid at the higher end of the salary schedule.
Manitowoc County Handicapped Children’s Education Board
Case 10 INT/ARB-5434 Dec. No. 26321-A (Nielsen, 09-23-90)
Union offer selected.
Salary and a change in the “Jury Duty” section of the prior agreement were at issue here. Both parties proposed to delete the first step (hiring step) of the salary schedule and to add a new step at the top of the schedule with staff placed at the same numbered step they had occupied in 1988-89 for the 1989-90 school year and moving staff forward one step on the 1989-90 schedule for the 1990-91 school year. The parties thus disputed the amount of increase to be placed on each “cell” after these agreed-upon structural changes were made, to arrive at their respective total package and average dollars per returning teacher. The Arbitrator found that the five “feeder” schools (from which the District gets its students) should be weighed most heavily as comparables and districts outside the feeder schools be given very little weight. While agreeing that the five “feeder” schools are the primary comparables, the Association argued that other schools should also be looked at because of the change in statute which allows state-wide comparisons. The Arbitrator held that while they can be considered, the most weight still should be given to traditional comparables.
The Arbitrator ruled that two “feeder” school voluntary settlements should be given equal weight with one feeder school financial agreement in which the last year of that three-year agreement was 1989-90.
The Arbitrator ruled that given the parties’ bargaining history demonstrating that they have pointed to Manitowoc School District as having greater weight among the comparable and three prior Arbitrators’ reliance thereon, that Manitowoc School District settlement is a “more persuasive indicator” of the likely voluntary settlement here than any of the other four feeder schools.
The Arbitrator found that despite the fact that the Union’s offer is 2.05% higher than the average of the settlements in the five “feeder” schools while the District’s offer is 0.28% higher than the average of the feeder settlements, the Arbitrator held that because the Union’s offer maintained “some level of parity” with Manitowoc School District it should be preferred over the District’s offer.
Regarding the jury duty language issue, the Arbitrator held on this issue the District’s offer is preferred because it seeks to clarify contract language and avoid future disputes on this item of minor costs to the District. The Arbitrator rejected the Union’s argument that a quid pro quo should have been offered by the District and that the District failed to prove a need for a change.
Overall, the Arbitrator found the Union’s final offer the more reasonable under the Statute.
Rice Lake Area School District
Case 49 INT/ARB-5677 Dec. No. 26503-A (Nielsen, 09-27-90)
Consent Award issued by Arbitrator Daniel Nielsen covering a 33 cents) across-the-board wage increase effective July 1, 1990, and requiring the Employer to pay 95% of the family premium and 100% for the single premium for employes listed in a “grandmother” addendum, effective October 1, 1990.
Random Lake School District
Case 17 INT/ARB-5408 Dec. No. 26390-A (Stern, 10-03-90)
Union offer selected.
Each party argued for a different set of comparables; smaller districts with the conference and small contiguous districts by the Employer and medium and larger districts in the same geographic area by the Association. The Arbitrator did not feel compelled to accept the set of comparables established by a previous arbitrator and decided to use both sets of comparables.
In the two issue dispute, Arbitrator Stern selected the final offer of the teacher’s association ($1,850 per returning teacher for 1989-90, $1,900 per returning teacher for 1990-91, status quo on health insurance, i.e. District pays full premium) over that of the School District ($1,775 per returning teacher for 1989-90, $1,800 per returning teacher for 1990-91, 95% District contributions to health insurance premium). The Arbitrator found both wage offers to be modest and to not alter benchmark rankings of the District appreciably as measured against competing sets of comparables advanced by the parties. The health insurance issue was determinative with comparables favoring the Association, no evidence of abuse, and no evidence that cost shifting a portion of the premium to the employe would dampen rising health insurance costs.
City of Chilton (Police Department)
Case 18 MIA-1472 Dec. No. 26478-A (Kerkman, 10-10-90)
Employer offer selected.
The issues at impasse included wage issues for 1990 and 1991, and the amount of clothing allowance for 1990 and 1991.
Wage and settlement data was submitted only for the year 1990. Thus, only 1990 was utilized to determine which final offer more nearly reflects appropriate wage rates among comparable communities. In considering comparables for 1990, it is clear the Employer offer more closely aligns to the pattern of settlements internally and externally. Pattern of settlement in the private sector also favors the Employer.
When considering wage rate comparisons, the Arbitrator concluded that the Union proposal would improve the ranking of patrolman by one level compared to that of the Employer. With respect to the sergeants, both offers fall considerably below the average wage paid. In making a comparison of wage rate to wage rate, the Union offer is justified. When health insurance and dental premium contributions of the Employer are considered, they are significantly superior to the most important comparable, Calumet County. Total compensation favors the Employer proposal. However, cost-of-living criteria more supports the Union offer in this matter.
With respect to the clothing allowance issue, prices have increased by 5% for the last several years. Because 3 years will have lapsed under the Employer’s offer with no increase in the clothing allowance, and under the Union’s offer there will be an 18% increase as compared to the 15% price increase, the Union’s offer in this regard is favored, especially when viewed in light of the other external comparables.
The Arbitrator concluded that the patterns of increase in both public and private sector support the Employer offer in the wage dispute. Wage rate to wage rate comparisons among comparables support the Union’s offer as does cost-of-living criteria. The Union offer is preferred in the clothing allowance dispute.
Because wages are the primary dispute and in the Arbitrator’s view total compensation comparisons and the pattern of settlement comparisons are the paramount consideration. Accordingly, the Employer’s offer is adopted. While wage rate comparisons favor the Union offer, this is offset when considering total compensation comparisons, particularly those made between Calumet County and the City of Chilton.
Woodruff-Arbor Vitae Joint School District #1
Case 28 INT/ARB-5377 Dec. No. 26268-A (Reynolds, 10-12-90
Union offer selected.
The District made a wage offer in excess of that requested by the Union in an attempt to induce the Association to accept changes in other contract provisions, in particular a premium payment cap on health insurance.
The Association made a wage offer less than that offered by the District; it wants to retain present contract language, which provides for full payment of health and dental insurance premiums.
The Arbitrator gives no specifics with respect to the specific value of the wage and package offers made by the parties.
Other issues involve voluntary early retirement and health insurance. With respect to early retirement, the District believes its language maintains the status quo in this area subsequent to a change in the statute that occurred after the present contract went into effect. The change in the statute expanded the early retirement eligibility. The present contract provides a special benefit to teachers eligible to take early retirement, in the form of an annuity, if they wait until they have reached age 60. The District’s final offer would limit eligibility in only one respect: the teacher must have taught in the district for not less than 15 years.
The Association would change only one paragraph in the present contract, leaving the balance of the contract’s language regarding voluntary early retirement in place. The Association believes it suggested language incorporates the expired contract language and thus does no more than leave in place the purpose and intent of the expired statutory terms.
The Arbitrator gives little in the way of specifics regarding the parties’ offers on this issue. He does describe the special benefit available in the voluntary early retirement, which is affected by the parties’ offers, as follows:
The present contract provides a special benefit to teachers eligible to take early retirement if they wait until they have reached age 60. If they wait till that age, the District would provide them with an annuity which would have the effect of providing the retiree with a retirement benefit equal to that which they would have enjoyed had they waited until age 65 to retire. This benefit was not available to teachers with less than 15 years consecutive years of service in this school district, nor would it be available to persons eligible to retire who were under 60 years of age. Teachers who desired the benefit had to apply for it in a timely manner and the Board had the right to deny requests for ‘any legitimate reason.’ Payments by the District to the State Teachers Retirement Fund would be limited to three years.
With respect to health insurance, the District wants to institute a premium payment cap. The Association wants to maintain in the status quo, which provides for full payment of health and dental insurance premiums by the District. Again, the Arbitrator gives no specifics.
The Arbitrator, in deciding the case, first notes that health insurance is the primary issues in dispute between the parties. Consequently, the Arbitrator finds that “the wage offers will not decide this arbitration.” Nevertheless, the Arbitrator indicates the District’s wage offer would be preferred since it gives more money to the teachers. The Arbitrator also finds that the District’s language regarding voluntary early retirement is to be preferred since the Union’s final offer raises an “uncertainty” as to its impact or effect on employes eligible for early retirement.
The Arbitrator next turns his attention to the issue upon which his award turns — insurance premium contributions. As noted above, the District wants to institute a premium payment cap while the Union wants to retain the present contract language, which provides for full payment of health and dental insurance premiums by the District.
The Arbitrator opines over the difficulty in applying the statutory criteria to a language issue like health care as well as the problems associated with an evaluation of quid pro quo arguments. Because of same “. . . and because arbitrators have historically been reluctant to impose changes in contract language upon the parties, preferring instead that such alterations be settled at the bargaining table,” the Arbitrator chose to impose a more “objective” standard upon the party requesting the change. The Arbitrator imposed the following test:
1. Does the present contract language give rise to conditions that require change?
2. Does the proposed contract language remedy the situation?
3. Does the proposed contract language impose an unreasonable burden upon the other party?
The Arbitrator concluded, for the obvious reasons, i.e. health insurance costs rise due to forces far beyond the scope of any collective bargaining agreement that the present contract language is not responsible for the rapid increase in health insurance costs in the recent past. The Arbitrator also concluded that the proposed contract language alone did not remedy the situation-escalating health insurance costs – or effectuate cost reduction as put forward by the District. The Arbitrator concluded, however, that the proposed contract language did not impose an unreasonable burden on employes since caps are in effect elsewhere and because the District’s final offer gave back to the Union greater protection as to benefit levels than existed previously when policies were shifted between carriers.
The Arbitrator stated that it was necessary for the moving party to prevail in all three areas, and since the District only satisfied one prong of the test, the test was not satisfied. For that reason, the Arbitrator rejected the District’s language change. And, because the parties “agreed that the health insurance issue is the primary issue in dispute between them,” the Arbitrator chose the Union’s final offer.
City of Fond du Lac (Police Department)
Case 99 MIA-1466 Dec. No. 26564-A (McAlpin, 10-19-90)
At the October 19, 1990 hearing, the parties entered into a Consent Award, whose terms included the following: (1) Wage increase of 3% as of January 1, 1990, 2% as of July 1, 1990, 3% as of January 1, 1991, 2% as of July 1, 1991; (2) $400 per year clothing allowance for non-uniformed personnel and $285 per year officers assigned to perform C.P.O. duties; (3) Payment per educational credit raised to $39.92 for 1990 and to $41.94 for 1991; (4) Severance pay at retirement under W.R.S. effective January 1, 1990, $10 per day of accumulated sick leave to a maximum of 60 days and reduce 1990 salary Step 1 by $600; (5) Worker’s compensation supplement so that 95% of full salary paid.
Plymouth Joint School District
Case 40 INT/ARB-5453 Dec. No. 26487-A (Zeidler, 10-26-90)
Union offer selected.
Health Insurance: Union–Maintain status quo (100% of premium). Employer–Effective in the second year of the contract, the employes will contribute 5% of the premium. The Board and the Association will establish a joint committee to study cost containment options.
The arbitrator regarded the value of the benefits granted by the Employer in the stipulated items to be appropriately considered as part of total compensation. The parties both accepted the Eastern Wisconsin Athletic Conference as the primary comparables. The arbitrator found the statewide comparisons to have too many factors to be useful. Both salary offers had a degree of reasonableness due to their close similarity. Since the Employer’s offer would not cause it to lose rank among the comparables, would keep the District in the same competitive position, and there is not need for catch-up, the Employer does not need to make a greater financial effort to be comparable, and its offer is acceptable on that criteria. As to the comparison with the percentage increases granted the administrators, the arbitrator notes that those increases are conditioned upon performance criteria and therefore are not useful comparisons.
As regards health insurance, the Association’s offer was found to be comparable in both the dollar amount of the premium the Employer would pay and the requirement that it pay 100% of the premium. Although the arbitrator found the Association’s position on insurance the more reasonable, he explicitly rejected the Association’s argument that there must always be a quid pro quo for a change such as the Employer’s proposal on health insurance premium contributions, stating that if an item is critical enough, and needs changing, the lack of a quid pro quo would not be a bar to accepting the proposal.
In total compensation, the Association’s offer was found to be more comparable. Finding the salary offer of the Employer more preferable, but the health insurance offer and the total compensation of the Association more preferable, the arbitrator chose the Association’s final offer.
Wautoma Area School District
Case 50 INT/ARB-5575 Dec. No. 26387-A (Petrie, 10-26-90)
Employer offer selected.
The issue in dispute is the wages to be paid to teachers over a two-year contract; 1989-90 and 1990-91.
The Association proposed an average wage increase of 7.1% for 1989-90 and 6.5% for 1990-91 for each returning teachers. The District proposed a wage increase of 5.8% for 1989-90 and 5.5% for 1990-91 for each returning teacher.
The arbitrator rejected the Association’s claim that the appropriate comparable was statewide in scope, finding instead that it was the local athletic conference because there was nothing in the revised statutes to indicate any legislative intent to emphasize statewide, rather than area, athletic conference, or any other comparisons.
In response to the Association’s claim, he also found that arbitrators lack the authority to consider the relative worth of teachers versus other professionals and that they cannot make value judgments as to the relative importance of education versus other governmental functions. He thus held that while the parties are almost equidistant from the conference averages, the District’s offer was preferred because its offer was closer to the average dollar and percentage increases within the athletic conference. He also found that the cost-of-living criteria somewhat favors the District and that the other statutory criteria did not favor either side. Primarily because of the comparison criteria, he selected the District’s offer.
Trempealeau County (Courthouse)
Case 50 INT/ARB-5515 Dec. No. 26385-A (Kessler, 10-29-90)
Union offer selected.
The issue in dispute is the wages to be paid under a reopener for the second year of a two-year contract. There also was a dispute over appropriate comparables. The arbitrator selected the following five counties that are similar to Trempealeau County in both population and full value assessment: Clark, Dunn, Jackson, Juneau and Vernon.
The Union proposed a wage increase of 3.90%, effective on January 1, 1990, and the Employer proposed a wage increase of 3.05%, also effective on January 1, 1990. The arbitrator found that but for a few exceptions, the comparables established that the Employer ranks sixth out of the six counties on the question of wages and that, as a result, the wages to be paid here are in need of a greater adjustment than that proposed by the Employer. He also found for the Union on the question of cost-of-living changes in wages paid in other counties, and the interest and welfare of the public. He found for the Employer on the question of internal comparables. Since most of the criteria favored the Union, he selected its final offer.
City of Milwaukee (City Attorney’s Office)
Case 347 INT/ARB-5360 Dec. No. 26304-A (Kerkman, 11-03-90)
Union offer selected.
The primary dispute in this case concerned wages for 1989 and 1990. The arbitrator noted that at the time the hearing was closed, internal patterns of settlement indicated that the Employer’s protective service units had either settled for or had been awarded increases which provided a “lift” of 8% over 1989 and 1990, while the remaining settlements reflected a “lift” of 6% over the two years. The arbitrator rejected the Employer’s argument that it will cost the Employer 2.8342% of payroll more in pension contributions for all non-protective employe pensions, due to a change in the tax laws. In the arbitrator’s view, the Union persuasively demonstrated that the actual increase in this unit for pension costs was only .377%, lower than the Employer’s calculations which were based on an average cost for all non-protective employes. Thus, the arbitrator found that the wage settlement pattern for the general employe units should not be imposed as the pattern for this unit since this unit was more comparable to protective service units on the pension issue where no increased pension costs had been costed against those unit packages.
In concluding that the Union’s offer was to be preferred overall, the arbitrator took into consideration such facts as the Employer’s having granted wage adjustments/reclassifications on top of across-the-board increases in other units but not the attorney unit; that other comparable units of attorneys employed by Public entities received pay increases for 1989-90 similar to that final offer by the Union; that the Union’s final offer cost 7.92% over the two years, was only .46% higher than the package cost for the police settlement, .45% higher than the package cost for the firefighter settlement and .27% higher than the package cost for the police supervisor settlement; that were the arbitrator to select the Employer’s offer, employes at the minimum and at the maximum salaries would lose ground vis a vis City of Madison attorneys, in the same pay categories; that although the Employer’s proof regarding pay rates for out-of-state municipal attorneys demonstrated that the Employer’s final offer should be preferred, such data lost significance because no evidence was submitted regarding historic rankings existing prior to 1989 for comparison to this unit; the Union’s argument that turnover in the recent past had been for financial reasons, the arbitrator found unpersuasive; and that the cost-of-living criteria failed to support either party’s offer.
Sauk County (Highway Department)
Case 91 INT/ARB-5455 Dec. No. 26359-B (Vernon, 11-12-90)
Union offer selected.
Other issues raised only by the Employer: (1) family or medical leave, and (2) Leadman pay. The appropriate comparables were also in dispute. Both parties relied on a comparison with Columbia County. The Union argued for comparison of percentage wage increase while the County argued for a comparison of wage levels. The arbitrator, like the arbitration in a previous case involving the same parties, concluded that a comparison of percent of wage increase more nearly meets the criteria of comparability. This is especially true where there is no history of comparing wage levels.
This case primarily concerned a wage rate dispute for 1990 and 1991, although the Employer’s final offer also contained proposals regarding “Family or Medical Leave” and an increase for employes acting as leadmen. Thus, the arbitrator concluded that a comparison to Columbia County wage increases for 1990 and 1991 (3/2 and 3/2 splits, identical to the Union’s final offer) favored the Union. The arbitrator noted that there was no history of pattern bargaining among the Employer’s employe groups, and as such, the arbitrator found that the internal comparisons were not particularly useful and favored neither party. The arbitrator found that the increase in acting leadman pay proposed solely by the Employer made the Employer’s offer preferable on this point. Although the arbitrator found the Employer’s offer to be slightly preferred regarding the family/medical leave provision, the arbitrator was troubled by the language therein requiring employe contributions to an escrow account which the Employer did not have in place in two the three units where contract language on the subject existed at the time of the hearing herein.
In sum, despite the leadman and leave issues raised by the Employer’s offer, the arbitrator found that the Union’s offer on wages was strongly preferred and required selection of the Union’s offer here.
New Richmond School District
Case 25 INT/ARB-5530 Dec. No. 26414-A (Petrie, 11-12-90)
Employer offer selected.
The sole issue in dispute is wages for 1990-91, the second year of a two-year agreement. For 1989-90, the parties agreed to a wage freeze and to include these secretarial employes in WRS with the Employer paying the secretarial employes’ 6% share of the contribution.
The arbitrator relied primarily on external comparables. The parties could not agree on the appropriate comparables. The arbitrator used the Middle Border Athletic Conference as the primary comparable group because historically the parties relied on this group. Relying on these comparables and on how they made the conversion to WRS the arbitrator found the Employer’s offer more reasonable. The cost-of-living considerations also favored, somewhat, the Employer’s offer. None of the other statutory criteria were accorded significant weight. Thus, the Employer’s offer was selected.
Portage County (Sheriff’s Department)
Case 76 MIA-1506 Dec. No. 26512-A (Stern, 11-16-90)
Union offer selected.
Other issues: change in sick leave language in Union offer to reflect normal retirement age for protectives as provided by WRS.
The parties agreed upon the comparables in this case which had remained stable in their rankings since 1989. Thus, the Arbitrator found that if the Union’s offer were selected this unit’s ranking among these comparables would improve only slightly, while the Employer’s offer, if selected, would result in unit deputies falling farther behind those in Stevens Point. The Arbitrator found the Union’s wage offer was preferable because it was closer to the average increase of the external comparables, although the arbitrator noted that the Employer’s offer was closer to the average “lift” of the same comparables. The arbitrator found that the primary external comparable was Stevens point and that a comparison of the Union’s offer to the rates/lift granted in Stevens Point favored the Union’s offer here. The arbitrator also found that the Employer’s internal comparisons should take on less importance than the external comparisons due to the history of bargaining and variations among internal settlements. The arbitrator rejected an analysis of the parties’ wage offers based on comparisons of this unit to the externals’ total compensation because the Employer’s total compensation increases in the past few years had been driven mainly by increased health care expenses which could be due to catastrophic health care expenses of just one or two employes. The arbitrator believed that the wage issue overshadowed the Union’s proposed change in sick leave language. The arbitrator noted, specifically, however, that the Union had offered no quid pro quo and for its leave language and that the Union had failed to make a strong case for this change on the comparables. Nonetheless, the arbitrator found in favor of the Union essentially on the wage issue.
Waukesha County (Sheriff’s Department)
Case 115 MIA-1494 Dec. No. 26513-A (Krinsky, 12-05-90)
Employer offer selected.
The sole issue in dispute is wages. Using internal comparables, the arbitrator favored the Employer which had settlements with three of its other five bargaining units at 4% across the board and which had 4% across-the-board offers to its two other units which were in negotiations or mediation at the close of this record. For external comparables, the arbitrator concentrated on contiguous counties outside of Milwaukee County (which the parties agreed to) and found that settlements in these six counties favor the Employer. The arbitrator reasoned that since the Employer’s total package cost figures are lower than the Union’s, but are still in excess of the change in the cost of living, this factor also favored the Employer’s position. Regarding new steps for deputies, the arbitrator did not view the Employer’s offer as unfair just because some employes got larger increases than others since no one is being treated unfairly. No argument existed over the other factors, and, thus, the Employer’s offer was selected.
Stoughton Area School District
Case 36 INT/ARB-5570 Dec. No. 26519-A (Zeidler, 12-10-90)
Union offer selected.
Voluntary Early Retirement: (Below are noted only the aspects of the parties’ offers on this matter which were not identical, i.e. the health insurance for early retirees. Both proposals grant entitlement for five years or until the retiree is 65, which ever comes first.)
Employer: The District will pay 90% of the cost of single insurance not to exceed $120.90 per month. The teacher may maintain coverage for dependents if allowed by coverage provider, and the District will pay up to $314.69 per month. If the retirement statute is no longer in effect as it existed March 15, 1990, or is found to violate any discrimination laws, the parties will renegotiate this section.
Union: The District will pay 90% of cost of single or family insurance, not to exceed $258.05 per month. If provision is found to violate any discrimination laws, the parties will renegotiate this section.
The arbitrator rejected the Employer’s argument that the electorate’s rejection of a tax levy limited the arbitrator’s legal authority to award anything but the Employer’s final offer. The primary comparable pool was the Badger Athletic Conference. The arbitrator rejected the use of the inclusion of the much larger Madison School District. The arbitrator found the use of benchmarks more appropriate than average salary increase for determining comparability. On that basis, the arbitrator found that catch-up was needed and that with the Employer proposal, the salaries would still be below the average at all benchmarks. The arbitrator found it difficult to make meaningful comparisons with other municipal employes in Stoughton due to the variation of work hours between teachers and the other employes. Based on limited evidence, it appeared that the increases offered by the Employer are higher percentages than those offered private sector employers in the area. Also, the Employer’s offer exceeded the percentage increase in the cost of living and the Employer’s offer was more nearly comparable with other conference school districts when total compensation was considered. Overall, however, the arbitrator found the Association’s offer more reasonable when the comparability of base salaries was considered the weightiest matter.
As to the health insurance for early retirees, the arbitrator found the provisions for possible termination in the plan to be unique to Stoughton and therefore not comparable. Given the immediacy of the end of the contract term, the provision for conditioning the coverage on provider acceptance was considered unnecessary, and overall the Association’s offer on this issue was preferred.
Stockbridge School District
Case 8 INT/ARB-5563 Dec. No. 26502-A (Yaffe, 12-10-90)
Union offer selected.
Health Insurance: Employer–Cap premium contribution at 95%, and change the contractual guarantee of “substantially” the same coverage to a guarantee of “reasonably” same coverage. Union–Continue 100% contribution and current language.
Extra Curricular Schedule: Employer–Continue to use an amount $550 less than BA Base for the base used to calculate extra curricular schedule. Union–Use BA Base for base of extra curricular schedule.
Structure of Salary Schedule: Employer–Maintain prior salary schedule structure. Union–Add $50 to each schedule step in 1989-90; $35 to each step in 1990-91.
The arbitrator finds the record clearly supports the Employer’s effort to change the regarding insurance, based on staggering premium increases and a trend developing among the comparables. However, the Employer’s position is not held to be the more reasonable of the two offers because the Employer’s total package lags those of the comparable employers; because the Employer is not unable to afford a comparable total package; because the Employer’s aims would be better effected through a co-payment rather than a premium sharing proposal; and because the proposed language change would significantly alter the rights of employes and is unsupported by comparables or by a “quid pro quo” for the change.
Neither party’s salary proposal was found by the arbitrator to be appreciably more reasonable in terms of overall economic impact. However, the Union’s offer is found to be clearly the more reasonable based on the manner in which it distributes dollars among affected employes. After an analysis of salary schedule benchmarks (BA Base; BA 7th Step; BA Max; MA Minimum; MA 10th Step; MA Max; and Schedule Max), the arbitrator concludes that the Union’s offer, which uses total dollar parameters reasonably close to the Employer’s, serves to afford an inducement for teachers to remain in the district. This inducement is more consistent with the Employer’s long range interest than the Employer’s concentration on raising the BA Base. The arbitrator concludes that the Union has demonstrated a need to change the status quo regarding the salary schedule structure.
Crawford County (Sheriff’s Department)
Case 54 MIA-1520 Dec. No. 26522-A (McAlpin, 12-12-90)
Union offer selected.
The issues in dispute are wages, the Employer’s contribution for health insurance premiums, the availability of health insurance for employes working less than an average of 20 hours per week, and the Employer’s contribution for health insurance for employes who are off work for six continuous months due to illness. The Union proposed wage increases of 4% on January 1, 1990, and 4.5% on January 1, 1991. The Employer proposed wage increases of 4.5% on January 1, 1990, and 4.5% on January 1, 1991. The arbitrator found that neither wage proposal would make substantial changes in the employes’ comparability rankings and were not the persuasive factor. The Employer proposed changes in the insurance but failed either to prove a need for the changes or to offer an adequate quid pro quo. The Employer’s monetary proposal was not sufficient in view of its potential savings. The Employer’s proposal was a cost saving, rather than a cost reduction, proposal. The arbitrator recommended that the parties meet outside the collective bargaining process to discuss the health insurance issue.
Trempealeau County (Department of Social Services)
Case 51 INT/ARB-5516 Dec. No. 26389-A (Slavney, 12-13-90)
Union offer selected.
The sole issue was the wage increase for calendar year 1990. The Union proposed an across-the-board increase of 3.9%. The County proposed an across-the-board increase of 3.05%. As comparables, the arbitrator rejected the groups of counties proposed by both parties and selected for external comparables five counties similar to Trempealeau County in population and full value assessments. The arbitrator found the Union’s offer favored by both the external comparables and the internal comparisons (when comparing “white collar” with “white collar”) with other bargaining units. The arbitrator further concluded that the evidence produced with respect to private employer comparisons was insufficient and therefore unsupportive of either offer. He also concluded that the cost-of-living factor favored the Union’s offer.
Based on the above, the Union’s offer was selected.
Clark County (Sheriff’s Department)
Case 55 MIA-1479 Dec. No. 26517-A (Yaffe, 12-12-90)
Employer offer selected.
Wages are the sole issue in dispute. The parties had agreed that Jackson, Lincoln, Monroe, Pierce, Polk and Taylor counties were comparable, but disputed whether Chippewa and Wood Counties should also be considered comparable.
The arbitrator concluded that the six agreed-upon counties would be considered comparable for this case and rejected the Union’s proposed inclusion of Chippewa and Wood counties due to differences in size and economic base. The arbitrator did, however, note that the latter two counties might be comparable under other circumstances. The arbitrator concluded a pattern of settlement had emerged among the six external comparables for 1990, but not for 1991.
The distinguishing point between the two offers, however the offers were cost, was the lift generated by the split increases. The arbitrator concluded that, with one exception, the record did not support the lift proposed by the Union. The sole exception was the minimum rate paid for the Radio Operator/Jailer classification. The arbitrator noted that there was a wide range of wages paid in the comparables, and that although some of the Employer’s law enforcement employes were paid less than employes performing similar duties among the comparables, some of the Employer’s law enforcement employes were paid more than similarly situated employes among the comparables. The arbitrator concluded that it followed that no persuasive need for catch-up pay increases had been proven. Beyond this, the arbitrator rejected the Union’s contention that inequities existed between the pay of law enforcement and other units of the Employer’s employes, noting he could find “no objective basis for ascertaining what the relationship should be between the wages of law enforcement and other County employees.”
Kewaskum School District
Case 20 INT/ARB-5463 Dec. No. 26484-A (Johnson, 12-31-90)
Union offer selected.
Health Insurance: Employer–In 1990-1991, the District will contribute up to ____ for a family plan and up to ____ per month for a single plan. (The District will insert the appropriate dollar amounts in the blanks that reflect 96.5% of the 1990-91 actual health insurance premium). Union–Maintain status quo which provides that Employer pays the full cost of health insurance.
Grievance Procedure: Employer–Maintain status quo which provides that the Association cannot file a grievance. Union–Add “Association” to the definition of “grievant.”
Vacation: Employer–Maintain status quo. Union–Use the date of hire as in the past for crediting employes with vacation time accrual (the Employer had unilaterally changed that policy so as to credit the accrual on July 1 of each year); add a fourth week of vacation for regular full-time employes after 15 years of employment.
Holiday: Employer–Maintain status quo. Union–Add one (1) additional paid holiday for full- and part-time school year employes in 1989-90. Add one (1) additional paid holiday for full- and part-time school year employes in 1990-91.
There was also a dispute over appropriate comparables. The Arbitrator used all of the comparables offered by both parties.
The parties agreed that the initiation of an employe contribution to the cost of health insurance is the principal issue in this case. The other most important issue, besides the question of whether full-time employes should contribute 3.5% of the cost of health insurance, is each party’s proposal for wage rate increases. The parties devoted most of their attention to internal comparisons with other employes of the Board and external comparisons with other employes performing similar services in other school districts (clerical, custodial and kitchen employes). The Arbitrator indicated factor d. under the Municipal Employment Relations Act, Section 111.70(4)(cm)7 was the most important factor for him to consider. The Employer proposed an extra $10 per hour the second year as a quid pro quo for the employes picking up 3.5% of the insurance premiums. The Arbitrator had reservations about the quid pro quo because most of the full-time employes would not benefit by the extra $10 per hour, but the part timers (who there are more of) would. Based on this factor, the Arbitrator indicated the decision on which party’s proposal to accept was a toss-up as it relates to the health insurance and wage issues.
The Arbitrator concluded that since the evidence was fairly even in support of the different proposals of the parties on the main issues, the evidence on the other issues became more persuasive. On those issues the Arbitrator found that, using a combination of the comparable districts proposed by the Employer and the Union, there was strong support in the employment practices prevailing in those districts for the Union’s proposals on vacations, dates when eligibility for vacation accrual begins, holidays, and the Union’s right to file grievances. Therefore, the Arbitrator found for the Association.
Elkhart Lake-Glenbeulah School District
Case 19 INT/ARB-5465 Dec. No. 26491-A (Vernon, 12-24-90)
Union offer selected.
The Arbitrator first looked to the school districts in the Central Lakeshore Athletic Conference as primary comparables. Next, he looked to the following group of secondary comparables: Campbellsport, Chilton, Valders, Reedsville, Mishicot, Brillion and Hilbert.
The Arbitrator focused primary attention on the health insurance issue. The Employer proposed that effective July 1, 1990, employes pay $30 per month for family coverage and $10 per month for single coverage. The Union proposed to maintain status quo which provides that the Employer pays the full cost of health insurance. After doing so, he found that the idea of cost sharing on health insurance costs was supported by the statutory criteria, but questioned whether the Employer’s proposal here addressed this need. In short, he found that the District’s proposal on health insurance required a greater employe contribution than other comparable districts. Consequently, he found that the District did not offer a sufficient enough quid pro quo, if any or all, for the change it was seeking on health insurance. Had the District made an insurance proposal that was expressed like other Districts in the conference (with 5% seeming to be the most prevalent), it would have been a more modest proposal and would have been easier for the Arbitrator to accept.
The Arbitrator noted that the Association’s failure to address the health insurance contribution issue distracted from their offer and put it on the high side. Nevertheless, in spite of these shortcomings, he found the Association’s offer to be marginally more reasonable than the District’s.
LaCrosse County (Sheriff’s Department)
Case 110 MIA-1374 Dec. No. 26493-A (Bilder, 12-27-90)
Employer offer selected.
In addition to wages and pension, these parties are in dispute over the appropriate comparables. The Union only proposed contiguous counties, while the Employer also included counties with similar size and other characteristics. The Arbitrator agreed with the County.
The Union offer in effect proposed a more modest wage increase for some members of the bargaining unit, in particular the jailers, in exchange for granting the jailers the same protective service status for retirement purposes currently employed by the deputies and investigators (changing their status from “general service” employes to “protective service schedule” employes). At the time, the County was contributing 11.7% in addition to salary towards retirement for its “general service status” employes (i.e. the jailers) and 19% in addition to salary towards retirement of its “protective service status” employes (i.e. the deputies and investigators), a differential of 7.3%. Thus, the conversion of the jailers (about half of the bargaining unit) from general to protective status would obviously involve significant increased costs for the County.
The Arbitrator found that the County’s proposal was the more reasonable with respect to both the issues of wages and the jailers’ retirement contribution. He found that the jailers were not routinely involved in active law enforcement. As a result, he did not see an inherent inequity in treating jailers differently from deputies with respect to their classifications as protective service employes for retirement purposes. He further found that most of the comparable counties do not consider jailers as entitled to protective service status for retirement purposes. Consequently, he concluded that the Association failed to present a compelling case to mandate the change in retirement status. He therefore found that the County’s final offer was, on balance, the more reasonable.
Village of Butler (Department of Public Works)
Case 18 INT/ARB-5609 Dec. No. 26501-A (Slavney, 12-28-90)
Union offer selected.
The issues were wages and health insurance. The Arbitrator found that the Village had the lawful authority to enter into the agreement, that the interests and welfare of the public did not appear notably better served by either offer compared to the other, and that the Village had the ability to meet the costs of either offer. The parties disputed the list of external comparable bargaining units, and the Arbitrator found both lists inappropriate. He stated that the Village’s grouping “would include communities of quite disparate size and location,” and that the Union’s were all located in Waukesha County (unlike Butler) and also showed “considerable disparity in their populations.” The Arbitrator opted to consider as comparable all communities in Waukesha and Milwaukee counties which have a population under 10,000. On analyzing the wages of this list of comparables, the Arbitrator concluded that while the Union’s offer exceeded the average settlement in percentage terms, the Village’s hourly rates fell far short of the average and that the comparables “strongly favor” the Union’s offer.
As to health insurance, the Arbitrator rejected a Union argument that its offer should prevail because the Village had unilaterally changed insurance coverage, noting that this was an argument appropriate for a legal proceeding and not within the Arbitrator’s jurisdiction. Prior to April 1, 1989, the Village had paid 100% of the family premium, but after that such employes were required to pay from 10% to 11.5% of the cost. The Arbitrator analyzed the differences between the Union’s offer of a %5 employe first-year contribution, rising in the second year to $10, and the Village’s straight 10%, in terms of the average cost to employers in the comparable group whether or not such cost reflected the full premium. The Union’s offer was found closer to the average. Internal comparisons were found to favor the Village’s position on wages, but this was found tempered by a better offer on health insurance to the non-represented employes and the fact that the police unit had no access to interest arbitration under MERA because of the Village’s small size. The Arbitrator found that the cost-of-living criterion slightly favored the Village’s offer. In all the Arbitrator found that the external comparables outweighed the internal comparables and cost-of-living criteria, particularly because the Village’s offer would require these employees to absorb twice the health insurance costs of non-represented employes.
LaCrosse County (Highway Department)
Case 118 INT/ARB-5526 Dec. No. 26578-A (Oestreicher, 01-03-91)
Employer offer selected.
The issues in dispute are health insurance coverage and employe contributions, the Employer’s contributions for dental insurance, use of vacation, the amount and timing of wage increases, and a reclassification of the Security Janitor.
There was also a dispute over appropriate comparables. The Arbitrator selected the Union’s proposed list of comparables because it “is more reasonable than the less comprehensive list suggested by the County.”
The Arbitrator found the health and dental premium payments to be the critical issues. The Employer’s wage offer was preferred, even though it was less than 1% (.0078) higher than the Union’s offer. The Employer’s offer on insurance was preferred because it recognized health and dental costs are an economic issue, did not change the status quo (based on the contractual language), provided a reasonable alternative for employes who do not want to contribute toward the payment of insurance premiums, and was supported by internal and external comparables. The Union’s offer, while reasonable in terms of cost during the term of this Agreement, failed because it does nothing to address longer term economic issues.
Based on the above, the Employer’s final offer was selected.
Northeast Wisconsin Vocational, Technical & Adult Education District
Case 71 INT/ARB-5573 Dec. No. 26365-A (Rice, 01-09-91)
Employer offer selected.
Longevity: Employer–Longevity payments remain status quo of $17.50 per month for duration of the agreement. Union–Increase current longevity payments from $17.50 a month to $18.00 per month for 1989-90 and $18.50 per month for 1990-91.
Premium Rate: Employer–Premium rate remain at the status quo – 25 cents. Union–Increase premium rate paid for certain listed positions from 25 cents per hour to 30 cents per hour for the duration of the agreement.
Personal Day: Employer–No change in existing language. Union–Change the language governing the existing one personal business day so that it becomes one personal day.
Open Insurance Enrollment: Employer–No open insurance enrollment. Union–A one time open insurance enrollment.
Enrollment Rights of Employes Moving From Part-Time to Full-Time: Employer–status quo that allows enrollment in the group health plan subject to underwriting when an employe changes to full-time employment, but does not allow enrollment in the group dental plan upon the change. Union–Bargaining unit employes who move from part-time to full-time allowed to enroll in all insurance coverage within 30 days of full-time employment. Both parties have proposed adding a provision to the agreement stating that the 18-month bidding limits in the contract are mutually exclusive and giving the Employer the right to bypass the 19-month bidding restriction in cases of reassignment or layoff. The Union’s proposal contains a specific sentence stating that the 18-month bidding restriction does not apply in cases of reassignment or layoff.
Implementation of the Arthur Young Job Classification Study: Employer–Proposes the implementation of the Arthur Young Job Classification Study that would result in a change in pay category for 34 of the 90 employes. Provides that all future classification requests be submitted to a third party to determine the position’s classification for pay purposes. Sets the effective date of any future reclassifications as retroactive to the date of the employes’ annual review date. Provides also that jobs having substantially changed under the reorganization occurring during the summer of 1989 shall be resubmitted to Arthur Young for review and shall be retroactively reclassified as warranted. Union–Retains the status quo classification of positions for pay purposes and provides that decisions to move existing positions into a different pay category would be made jointly by the parties with the parties continuing to determine the effective date of such changes.
Appropriate comparables were also in dispute. The Arbitrator found the most appropriate comparables to consist of VTAEs actually bordering the Employer and the clerical staffs of public employers located in the cities, counties and school districts in which the Employer’s three campuses are located.
On an overall basis, the Arbitrator found the District’s offer “reasonable” with respect to the auxiliary personnel. First, the Arbitrator found the District’s proposal of two 4.4% increases on July 1st of each contract year reasonable. When fringe benefits were added to the wages of the District’s employes, the Arbitrator found the total compensation well above comparables. The Arbitrator also found the District’s wage proposal maintained the employes’ relative standing among comparable employe groups performing the same tasks.
Likewise, the Arbitrator found the District’s proposal to implement the job reclassification study a reasonable solution to a longstanding problem of both parties. The Arbitrator noted that the Union produced no evidence and made no argument that the study produced a classification system that was unfair or inequitable. The Arbitrator notes the Union’s proposal for an open enrollment has some justification. However, it is the type of issue that should be resolved in bargaining with tradeoffs, according to the Arbitrator. The Arbitrator points out that the Union had an opportunity to gain an open enrollment in this manner and rejected it. “Under the circumstances there is no basis for the Arbitrator to give the Union what may be a very expensive improvement in the collective bargaining agreement.” The Arbitrator further notes the Union’s proposals to delete emergency leave language, limitations, increase longevity and increase the premium pay for selected employes were not supported by the comparabilities, and there was no evidence of any existing need for the changes. The Arbitrator adds the Employer’s overall compensation package is a substantial one that has a cost in excess of the increase of the cost of living and outstrips increases given to external, internal and private sector comparisons.
Hustisford School District
Case 22 INT/ARB-5602 Dec. No. 26565-A (Petrie, 01-09-91)
Union offer selected.
Health Insurance: Employer–Modification of Article 12 to provide that the Employer will pay certain specified maximums for health and dental insurance premiums during the life of the agreement. Union–Retention of the previous language of Article 12 which obligates the Board to pay 100% of health and dental insurance premiums, with the language updated to insert the specific premium amounts for 1989-90 and for 1990-91.
There was also a dispute over appropriate comparables. The Arbitrator found it unnecessary to select a specific comparison because the same conclusion is reached by using either the District’s or the Association’s comparables.
The Arbitrator reached the following summarized, principle preliminary conclusions: (1) The considerations principally emphasized by the parties include the comparison criterion, cost-of-living considerations, the interests and welfare of the public, the overall level of wages and benefits within the bargaining unit, and the negotiations history of the parties. (2) The bargaining history of the parties should be considered and applied in connection with arbitral consideration of various other criteria, and it also is extremely helpful in attempting to place the parties into the same position they would have reached but for their inability to reach a complete settlement across the bargaining table. (3) In carrying out the above-described responsibilities, interest Arbitrators will not disturb the negotiated status quo, unless a very persuasive case has been made by the proponent of change. (4) The comparison criterion is normally the most persuasive of the various arbitral criteria, and so-called intra-industry comparisons are normally the most persuasive comparisons. Arbitral consideration of the comparison criterion in the dispute at hand favors (both the District’s and the Association’s proposed comparables) the selection of the final salary offer of the Association. (5) Cost-of-living considerations do not definitively favor the selection of the final offer of either party. (6) Consideration of the overall level of wages and benefits criterion does not definitively favor the selection of the final offer of either party. (7) Consideration of the interest and welfare of the public criterion does not definitively favor the selection of the final offer of either party.
The Arbitrator ultimately concluded that the District failed to make a persuasive case for a change in the (teachers) group insurance language, and that the final salary offer of the Association was the more appropriate of the two offers. The Arbitrator acknowledged the District’s desire to exercise some control over the burgeoning costs of health and dental insurance; recognized the value of the longstanding 100% premium payment language to employes; and concluded the District failed to establish a persuasive case as to why the Union should have accepted a change in the insurance language. The Arbitrator noted that while the Employer emphasized total package cost, the figures do not indicate a major disparity between the overall levels of wages and benefits negotiated in Hustisford versus comparable districts. Principally based upon arbitral consideration of the comparison and the negotiations history criteria, the Arbitrator selected the Association’s offer.
Beecher-Dunbar-Pembine School District
Case 23 INT/ARB-5309 Dec. No. 26421-A (Malamud, 01-15-91)
Employer offer selected.
The issues at impasse are wages and insurance. There was also a dispute over appropriate comparables, but the Employer argues for too few comparables and the Union offers no basis for selecting its proposed comparables. Therefore, the Arbitrator did not identify a comparable pool. The Arbitrator did make comparisons to the Goodman-Armstrong District. Five out of 14 employes in the bargaining unit are bus drivers, and the parties both agree that bus drivers are to be included in and covered by health and dental insurance provisions, with the District contributing 50% for family and single coverage. The Union proposes 4% increases each year, including a 4% increase to the bus driver’s daily rate for the first year only, with no increase in the daily rate for the second year. The District proposes 3.5% increases each year, with no increases in bus driver daily rates in either year, inserting dollar caps limits for insurance premiums, and the unilateral authority to change carriers, as the quid pro quo for extending health and dental benefits to bus drivers.
The Arbitrator found the Union position to be unreasonable. Although the District’s proposal provides for a double change (caps resulting in cost shift during the term of the agreement and at the end of the agreement), the Union’s lack of a proposal to give the District the flexibility to switch carriers weighs heavily against the Union’s offer. The teachers, the more dominant unit, have already given the District the latitude to change carriers.
Moreover, the District’s offer is preferred because it is closer to the cost-of-living when using total package costs including increased costs of insurance premiums. The Union’s offer is preferred where it addresses the problem of the level of wages paid to bus drivers, and the District’s offer to refrain from any wage increase may cause wage levels to remain inordinately low.
The Arbitrator found that the central question to this dispute is the fair price for the change in fringe benefits. The Arbitrator concluded that while the District demands too high a price, the Union offers much too little for the substantial increase in cost generated by providing insurance to bus drivers. The Union’s offer contains an $1,100 offset for a $12,000 benefit. The Union was at least in a position to offer the District language identical to the teacher agreement to change carriers. The Arbitrator selected the District’s final offer.
Kiel Area School District
Case 8 INT/ARB-5557 Dec. No. 26549-A (Vernon, 01-14-91)
Employer offer selected.
Issues in dispute include wages and insurance, with the District asking a 5% employe contribution on insurance premiums in the second year and the Association maintaining the status quo, which was fully paid health insurance. The BA base for 1989-90 under the Association’s offer is $20,300, and the schedule maximum is $34,916, and for 1990-91, the BA base is $21,300 and the schedule maximum is $36.636. The Association’s offer is for $1,735 or 5.94% per teacher the first year, and $1,745 or 5.64% the second year. The District’s first year salary schedule has a BA base of $20,938 and a schedule maximum of $34,538, and the second year, the BA base is $22,065 and the schedule maximum is $36,407. The District’s offer yields a salary increase of $1,750 or 6.05% the first year, and $1,843 or 6.04% the second year.
The Arbitrator declared both offers to be unreasonable, but accepted the District’s final offer. The District’s offer yields better than average teacher increase over the two-year period, is structured in a way which improves the schedule as a whole better than the structure of the Association’s offer, and attempts to address the problem of the rising cost of health insurance. The Arbitrator accepted the need for the District to curtail its insurance cost which increased 76% in two years and 222% since 1985.
While the Arbitrator agreed with the Association that the quid pro quo offered by the District was inadequate, he rejected the notion that there must be a dollar-for-dollar or better quid pro quo. The Association’s offer does not address the insurance problem, and the record shows that the Association has historically taken the stance that the District should shoulder the entire burden of health insurance. Given the history of the Association’s resistance, a ruling in its favor would leave the parties with much work to do in the future while also weakening the benchmarks in the salary schedule. A ruling in favor of the District begins to address the insurance problem, and leaves the typical employe with family coverage with $33 less than they would receive if the Association’s offer were chosen. Thus, an award for the District leaves the teachers with a better schedule for the future, only $33 less money for someone paying the family premium, and breaks the historical standoff on insurance cost sharing.
Fort Atkinson School District
Case 25 INT/ARB-5433 Dec. No. 26489-A (Nielsen, 01-26-91)
Union offer selected.
The issues in dispute were wages for both years of the contract, and health insurance for teachers electing voluntary early retirement. The Board proposed a phasing down of the health insurance benefits. The District proposed to grandfather 13 employes eligible for the benefit in the 1989-90 school year. Twelve teachers between the ages of 55 and 62 would be eligible for 90% premium contributions between the ages of 55 and 65. Nineteen teachers between the ages of 50 and 54 would be eligible for 90% contributions between the ages of 55 and 65, but for a maximum of seven years. All teachers under the age of 50 would be eligible for a maximum of four years’ benefit. The Association proposed to reduce the window period for receiving benefits from 55 to 70 in the existing contract to 55 to 65. They also proposed a minor change in the stipend payable to early retirees. The Association asked for consideration of comparables other than the athletic conference schools established by two prior arbitrators.
The Arbitrator ruled that comparisons beyond those historically employed by the parties would not be considered, since changing the pool of comparables would undermine the stability of the parties’ relationship.
There was relatively little difference between the parties on wages ($119 per returning teacher over two years). The Arbitrator found that the Association’s claim for catch-up increases was unjustified, since the weakness of the schedule at the maximums was the result of voluntary agreements and the disparity was not so large as to call for extraordinary consideration in an arbitration proceeding. The District offer was preferred on salary because it more closely tracked the settlement pattern, while closing the gap somewhat at the maximums.
The major issue in dispute was the District’s proposed modification of the voluntary early retirement benefit. While the District correctly argues that the benefit was at odds with the pattern of VER benefits in other districts, the Arbitrator concluded that this, like the weakness in the salary schedule, was the result of voluntary collective bargaining. Further, much of the excessive cost of the program alleged by the District was theoretical, since experience showed that teachers did not use the benefit until they were nearly 60 years old. This, combined with the Association’s agreement to reduce the maximum age to 65 from 70 limited the financial exposure of the District. The Association offer was preferred on the issue of VER.
The Arbitrator selected the Association’s final offer because it was more reasonable on the issue of VER, which was conceded by both parties to be the major issue in the case.
City of Beaver Dam (Police Department)
Case 55 MIA-1496 Dec. No. 26548-A (Oestreicher, 01-28-91)
Employer offer selected.
The issues in dispute include a wage increase for the second year of the contract and payment of health insurance premiums. The appropriate comparables were in dispute by the parties. The Employer uses Oconomowoc, Fort Atkinson, Sun Prairie, Monona, Portage and Whitewater, and the Union suggests adding Dodge County to the list with Mayville and Horicon as secondary comparables. The Arbitrator finds that Mayville, Horicon and Dodge County will be considered but not given equal weight.
Health insurance is the primary issue. The Union is asking that the City pay for the cost of either a single or family premium beyond amounts specified in the contract, and the Employer is asking the Union to contribute 5% toward the premium cost, as did two other bargaining units. The Arbitrator concluded that the City’s proposal was more in line with the practice in comparable communities and other Dodge County municipalities than the Union’s proposal, and it reflected the trend toward sharing the increasing cost of health care. The City’s offer is a well-balanced package offer of a 4.8% increase in wages and benefits. The fact that the City has adhered to a strict pattern of settlement offers for all its employes, and that its offers have been implemented for all City employes, except for the police and firefighter unions, favors the City’s offer. While the City has not offered a quid pro quo for employe contribution for health insurance, its offer contains substantially the same benefits provided to other City employes, and the bargaining history shows that the City’s offer on health insurance is not a take back for which a quid pro quo should be required. The Arbitrator selected the City’s final offer as more reasonable.
Village of Ashwaubenon (Public Safety Department)
Case 20 MIA-1532 Dec. No. 26500-B (Baron, 01-31-91)
Employer offer selected.
There are four issues in dispute: wages, vacation, conversion of sick time and family sick leave.
With respect to wages, both parties agree that the wage formula shall continue at 110% of the blended average of the comparable but disagree as to the appropriate comparable. The Union proposes improvement on vacation, sick leave conversion and family sick leave. The Village’s final offer in these areas reflect the status quo. On the issue of comparability, the arbitrator reasoned that the 14 bargaining unit comparables relied upon by the Village were more appropriate than the 6 cited by the Union because these 14 had been utilized by the parties in settling one-year contracts for the past four years. The arbitrator concluded that the Village’s proposed wage increase of 4.094% is more reasonable than the 11.24% proposed by the Union. On the vacation and sick leave conversion issues the Village’s final offer was found to be more reasonable. On the use of sick leave for family illness the Union’s offer was preferred. The arbitrator held that, in summary, the criteria favoring the Village’s final offer outweighed the Union’s final offer.
Crawford County (Highway Department)
Case 52 INT/ARB-5624 Dec. No. 26529-A (R.U. Miller, 01-26-91)
Union offer selected.
The underlying dispute between the parties centers on the payment of health insurance for family coverage. Wages, health insurance and payment for a required commercial driver’s license are the issues in dispute.
The arbitrator adopted as primary comparables those counties proposed by the Union. The County desired to modify the current health insurance language to (1) require that the County pay only 95% of the family premium in 1990; (2) that the County not be required to pay monthly family premiums in excess of $329 in 1991; (3) that health insurance would not be provided for part-time employes scheduled to work less than twenty hours per week; and (4) that the County not be required to pay its share of the premiums for employes continuously absent due to illness for six months. Health insurance has increased 86% from 1985 to 1990. The arbitrator did not find the County to be doing worse than sister counties with respect to impact of health insurance; in comparison to Crawford’s 14.2% increase in 1990, every other comparable county except Lafayette had a greater premium cost increase ranging from 16.3 to 25%. Finding that the County has not met its burden in establishing the necessity for changing the status quo on health insurance, the arbitrator did not conclude the County was experiencing a worsening economic condition. Nor did he find the cost shifting proposals such as reduction of premium pick-up and a cap for 1991 to hold down health care costs. Concluding that the County’s wage proposal was insufficient to constitute a buy-out for its health insurance proposals, the arbitrator noted the “real” amount of the wage proposal was 3.4% given the co-payment and cap proposals in health care. He found the Union’s proposal on health care to be more reasonable and the issue of wages to be inextricably bound up with the proposals on health care and selected the Union’s final offer inasmuch as the County failed to sustain its burden to justify change of this magnitude in the contractual status quo.
Webster School District
Case 27 INT/ARB-5729 Dec. No. 26617-A (Stern, 02-05-91)
Union offer selected.
Main issues in dispute: wages, health insurance co-pay of premium and subcontracting. There was also a dispute over appropriate comparables. The arbitrator did not select either party’s pool, but selected as the proper pool of comparables for the arbitration the ten districts which were included in both the District’s and Union’s list of comparables.
The arbitrator found that insofar as economic impact is concerned the health insurance proposals are the key issue. The arbitrator concluded that although either wage offer was fair and could have been selected the wage offer of the Union was slightly preferable because it placed the unit employes more in line with the comparable than the District offer. With respect to subcontracting, the arbitrator decided that given the even split among the comparables and the fact that no evidence was presented to show that there was a problem, the arbitrator would not select the Union offer on this issue if it was standing alone. With respect to health insurance, the arbitrator rejected the District’s offer on this issue because he did not believe it included a quid pro quo in wages commensurate with the 6% reduction in the portion of the family health insurance premium that it was seeking. He notes that this reduction of the District’s share in the premium will actually reduce the income of some part-time employes by an amount greater than the wage increase. Rejecting the District’s claim that the fiscal condition of the District makes it necessary for employes to contribute, the arbitrator declined to apply internal comparables because wage packages and benefits were not comparable. He found the Union health care position preferable. He, therefore, selected the Union’s final offer.
Omro School District
Case 25 INT/ARB-5414 Dec. No. 26550-A (Kerkman, 02-07-91)
Employer offer selected.
Pay for Unused Sick Leave: Employer–Add a sentence to existing language to provide that teachers whose FTE status changes in last 5 years of employment shall receive a per diem rate based on average per diem rate for final 5 years of employment. Union–No changes.
Proration of Fringe Benefits for Part-Time Employes: –Employer-Regular part-time teachers will be eligible for fringe benefits, prorated by percentage of FTE (current FTE employes grandfathered; new part-time employes prorated for 1990-91). Union–No change (Employer pays same amount toward insurance coverages for part-time as for full-time employes).
There are three issues at impasse: salary for 1989-90 and 1990-91, pay for unused sick leave, and proration of fringe benefits for part-time employes. The parties also differ in some respects on what is appropriate comparable data.
Both parties use the East Central Athletic Conference, but differ on whether Hortonville, which is in the third year of a three-year agreement, should be included. The District argues for inclusion and the Association argues that Hortonville “front-loaded” its three-year agreement in the first two years and that its third year is not representative of settlement trends for that reason. The Association cites the award of another arbitrator involving a conference school that found the Hortonville settlement should be given lesser weight because it was frontloaded the first two years and was negotiated in different economic times. The arbitrator agreed that the Hortonville settlement was frontloaded, but disagreed that the economic environment had changed significantly. For those reasons, the arbitrator concluded that Hortonville should be excluded in considering the comparison of patterns of settlement, but included in considering comparisons of salary to salary at appropriate points on the salary schedule.
In making the salary comparisons the arbitrator looked at the comparative ranking of the District in the conference at the BA minimum and maximum, MA minimum and Maximum and the salary schedule maximum. In making the comparisons, the arbitrator rejected the Association’s argument that historic rankings going back to 1983-84 ought to be considered, and concluded instead that the last year of the predecessor agreements should be compared with the offers. Comparing the District’s historic ranking with its rankings under each offer, the arbitrator concludes that it results in no preference for either party’s offer. While the District’s offer was closer to the historic rankings, it maintained its last place ranking in two areas and lost rank in two other areas. The Association’s offer improved ranking at the BA minimum and maximum.
In comparing actual salaries at the schedule points, the arbitrator excluded the District in computing the conference average and the median for each point. The arbitrator concluded the comparison at the BA base resulted in no preference, that the District’s offer is preferred at the BA maximum because it improves the relative differential, and that the Association offer is preferred at the MA minimum and maximum and schedule maximum because it more nearly maintains the relative position to both the conference average and median. The Association offer is therefore preferred when comparing the wages generated by the offers to conference average and median salaries paid.
With regard to patterns of settlement, Hortonville was not considered in comparing percentage increases for salary only, average salary only per returning teacher, percentage total compensation and average dollar total compensation per returning teacher for 1989-90 and 1990-91. In reviewing the salary only per returning teacher and total compensation for 1989-90, the Association found that the District’s offer is further below the conference average in those areas than is the Association’s offer above the average and the Association’s offer is preferred. For 1990-91 the arbitrator found that the Association’s offer is closer to the conference average in considering salary only. The District’s offer is almost right on the average for total compensation per returning teachers, while the Association’s offer in that regard exceeds the average by $315 (+.7%) and, hence, the District’s offer is preferred. The arbitrator concluded that total compensation per returning teacher should control and that the District’s offer was, therefore, preferred for 1990-91. To resolve the problem, the arbitrator compared the total of the average dollars of the pattern of settlement for two years with the total of the two years of the offers. The arbitrator found that the Association’s offer is closer to the total average salary only dollars per returning teacher for the two years, while the District’s offer is closer to the average total compensation dollars for the two years. Since the arbitrator concluded total compensation controls, the District’s offer is preferred for the two years based on patterns of settlement.
The salary comparisons having favored the Association’s offer, and the patterns of settlement having favored the District’s offer, the arbitrator reviewed the scattergram and concluded there are more teachers in the BA Lane than any other lane. As the District’s offer was preferred at the BA maximum in considering the salary comparisons, the total compensation comparisons favoring adoption of the District’s offer should control.
In considering comparisons with other public employes in the same or comparable communities, the arbitrator concluded he would consider the District’s settlements with its custodial and secretarial units, but not the settlement with state employes or settlements with state and local employes across the country. There was no showing that those latter groups were in the same or comparable communities. Since the District’s total settlements with its other two units were less than its offer here, this would support the District’s offer. The arbitrator concluded that due to the differences in how packages are costed in non-teacher units with the manner of costing teacher settlements (costing of increments), this criterion should be given only limited weight.
The arbitrator found the District’s evidence as to private sector employe settlements unpersuasive, since there was no showing those settlements were in the same or comparable communities.
In considering the cost-of-living criterion, the arbitrator concluded the District’s offer is favored, as it exceeds the CPI increase in both years in terms of total compensation.
With regard to the interest and welfare of the public, the arbitrator noted the evidence as to declining milk prices and concluded that since the District is comprised of 73.8% rural properties, the District’s offer is preferred in this regard.
Based on the foregoing, the arbitrator concluded that the District’s offer is favored on the salary issue.
With regard to the pay for unused sick leave issue, the arbitrator agreed that there is a three-part test the proponent of change must satisfy in order to prevail. There was agreement that the first part of the test was met since there was a pending grievance on the manner in which the current language was being interpreted as to a teacher who had been reduced from full-time to 4/7 status and wanted to retire at the end of the year. Thus, there is an ambiguity in the present language which could create an ongoing problem for the term of the agreement. The arbitrator concluded that the District’s proposal to average the teacher’s last five years of employment to determine the pay-out ratio could reasonably be expected to remedy the ambiguity meeting the second part of the test. The arbitrator also concluded that it was better for the employes to have the District’s offer than to run the risk of losing in rights arbitration and have this pay-out prorated based on their last year of employment, as the District interpreted the existing language of the provision. The District having met all three parts of the test, its proposed language should be adopted.
As to the proration of benefits for part-time employes, the arbitrator disagreed any quid pro quo was required because current employes are grandfathered and would lose nothing under the District’s proposal. The arbitrator held that as the proponent of change, the District must show that the present language is inequitable, since it is clearly workable. In determining that the District met its burden, the arbitrator looked at the prevailing practice in the conference as to the payment of fringe benefits for part-time employes and found it supported the District’s proposal.
Having found that the District’s offer is preferable on the salary issue and that its proposed language changes are acceptable, the arbitrator selected the District’s final offer.
D. C. Everest Area School District
Case 37 INT/ARB-5254 Dec. No. 26174-A (Gundermann, 02-14-91)
Employer offer selected.
The controlling issue was one of wages, with the Union seeking increases of 80 cents per hour in both 1989-90 and 1990-91, and the District offering increases of 4.57% and 5.12%, respectively. The Union’s justification was primarily the results of a job evaluation study which it commissioned to compare positions within this paraprofessional unit with those in the custodial unit; the District’s justification was primarily the increases granted to other similar units, and the District’s relative standing, in the athletic conference.
Neither offer was entirely appropriate, the arbitrator indicated. “(The evidence . . . suggests that an increase in excess of that offered by the District would be appropriate in this case,” he said, adding that he was “equally persuaded that an increase of the magnitude being sought by the Union . . . is not warranted based on the primary comparables.”
There was considerable controversy over the methodology and validity of the job evaluation study, in which the employer and the union representing the custodial workers declined to participate. While stating that “where an employer refuses to participate the employer cannot subsequently argue persuasively that the study was flawed as a result of the employer’s lack of participation,” the arbitrator found that such conditions “materially affected the results of the study, at least as to the comparability” of custodial and para-professional positions.
The arbitrator found “really no evidence” to support the Employer’s contention that the study was a “comparable worth” study rather than a job evaluation study.
Even though the study indicated that some of the positions might not have been assigned to the proper classification, the Union did not propose adjustments based on the study. Rather, the Union sought to tie the rates of the paraprofessional unit to the custodial unit based on the job evaluation study, and use the higher custodial rates as justification for its proposed wage increase.
“There are a number of factors which would militate against this approach,” the arbitrator commented; namely, the two units are each represented by a different union; that the custodial unit has been recognized about a decade longer than the paraprofessionals; that the custodial unit has never been considered a comparable except when considering internal considerations, and then that unit’s percentage increase, not its actual wage rates, were the basis of the comparison; and, a fact “particularly significant,” that the parties have failed to reach voluntary agreements in most cases, and have “been compelled to use the statutorily provided impasse procedures.”
The parties also differed on the appropriate comparables, the District proposing the districts within the Wisconsin Valley Athletic Conference plus Mosinee and Wittenberg-Birnamwood, the Union proposing the districts of Wausau and Mosinee, the City of Wausau, the Village of Rothschild and Marathon County. Noting that the Union’s list was different from that it proposed in prior arbitration cases involving these parties, and that the District’s list was that used by Arbitrator Malamud in a recent decision, the arbitrator held that the primary comparables “must be drawn from those employers whose employes are performing similar, if not identical, work and the most obvious employers would be other school districts.”
Even with the District’s comparables, the arbitrator found that the District was “among the lower paying districts” in the conference, and that under its final offer it would retain that relative position. Rejecting the District’s contention on the relative weight to be given the relative percentage increases, the arbitrator again found the District to be “falling behind the average.”
As he had found with the primary comparables, the arbitrator found that the secondary comparables supported an increase in excess of that being offered by the District, but not an increase of the magnitude being sought by the Union.
The parties also differed on the methodology of factoring in the cost-of-living criterion. The Union proposed comparing the increase in the CPI to the minimums and maximums in the wage classifications; the District proposed comparing the percentage increase in wages received annually over the period being compared. Finding “some validity” in both positions, the arbitrator held that both offers exceeded the CPI for the relevant period.
Although “not the controlling factor in this case,” the arbitrator also found that “it is doubtful the Union’s final offer could be financed without some discomfort to the District.”
In summary, the arbitrator found that, over the past decade, the wages for this unit had declined relative to those of the custodial unit; that this decline was partly caused by the costing procedure which included the cost of step increases; that the two units are distinct and different, with distinct and different bargaining histories; that the custodial unit is an internal comparable; that the job evaluation study set the need to study the internal relationships of these classifications; that under all comparables, the increase being sought by the Union is excessive compared to increases received by comparables; that the District is falling behind the average of the primary comparables.
Finding the Union’s final offer “excessive,” and finding that an increase in excess of offered by the District “is warranted,” the arbitrator concluded that, “after giving due consideration to the evidence and the statutory criteria, . . . the District’s final offer is to be preferred over that of the Union.”
Ladysmith-Hawkins School District
Case 23 INT/ARB-5660 Dec. No. 26709-A (Krinsky, 02-20-91)
This is a Consent Award and does not reveal the parties’ proposals. Among its terms, however, are a 95% Board contribution to family health insurance coverage for two years, a new early retirement provisions granting $200 per month supplemental earnings and a portion of health insurance costs to a limited number of early retirees per year; all retirees seeking such benefits have to meet certain length of service and age criteria. Teachers hired before February 13, 1991, under another term of the Consent Award, are eligible for 100% family health insurance coverage if married to another District employe who is eligible for health insurance. The 1990-91 and 1991-92 calendars, and other fringe benefits, were also part of the Award, but salaries had been settled voluntarily earlier.
Village of Menomonee Falls
Case 39 INT/ARB-5604 Dec. No. 26581-A (Kerkman, 02-26-91)
Employer offer selected.
The one issue in dispute is payment by the Employer of single coverage health insurance for retired employes. The parties also disagreed over what the appropriate comparables are. The Employer argues that the comparables established by a previous arbitrator should be maintained, while the Union argues that a broader pool which includes municipalities, as well as counties, should be used. The arbitrator agreed that once comparables are established they should not be disturbed without good and sufficient reason. The arbitrator found good and sufficient reason to change because the comparables established were in police arbitration, and this case involves AFSCME and because the primary comparables carry less weight here because the Employer, when surveying salaries to establish salaries for its non-represented department heads, considered data which included municipalities in surrounding counties. Thus the arbitrator considered communities within the Tri-County area.
The arbitrator, in selecting the Employer’s final offer, concluded as follows:
The undersigned has concluded that the internal comparables and the five Zeidler primary comparables support the Employer position in this dispute. The undersigned has further concluded that the comparables in the same community, private and public sector (Menomonee School District and Briggs and Stratton) support the Union offer in this dispute. The undersigned has further concluded that the evidence submitted by the Union for the tri-county comparables is unpersuasive, because it falls short of the Union’s required burden of proof because they submitted only selective data for municipalities in the tri-county area rather than data from all of those municipalities. From the foregoing it was concluded that the comparables support the Employer offer in this dispute. Furthermore, the undersigned concludes that the entire retirement package for Menomonee Falls retirees; the fringe benefits provided for Menomonee Falls employees; and the wage structure for Menomonee Falls employees, when compared to comparable municipalities support the adoption of the Employer offer in this dispute. Finally, the undersigned has concluded that the existence of a tentative agreement which was rejected by a subcommittee of the Employer’s Board of Trustees supports the reasonableness of the Union proposal here. While the undersigned is persuaded that the tentative agreement should carry significant weight, that conclusion is offset by the other conclusions reached by the Arbitrator which lead to the opposite result. The undersigned now finds those other conclusions which support the Employer offer carry the greater weight. It follows therefrom that the Employer’s offer is selected.
LaCrosse County (Human Services Department)
Case 116 INT/ARB-5524 Dec. No. 26629-A (Zeidler, 02-16-91)
Employer offer selected.
Dental insurance, holiday pay and contracting out were also in issue.
In 1989, 15 human services employes were accreted to this bargaining unit which had previously been composed of social workers. Upon being accreted, the human services employes sought wage parity with the higher-paid social workers. Agreement on wages was not reached in negotiations, so the Employer unilaterally set their wages and gave them increases ranging from 4 to 8%. The primary issue here was that the Union proposed that these accreted employes be placed on the social worker pay scale (i.e. reclassified) and that they also receive a lump sum payment ranging from $400 to $1,547, with most receiving $960. As to the matter of the lump sum payments for the accreted employes, the Arbitrator found that the data furnished was too sparse to indicate that a catch-up situation existed in LaCrosse County as compared to the comparable counties for him to make a judgment. With respect to the proposed reclassifications, the Arbitrator found that the Union’s proposal lacked comparability both externally and internally even though the County offer was deficient in not raising certain employes (namely, the Developmental Disabilities Field Worker and the Chronically Mentally Ill Field Worker) to pay parity with the Social Worker I positions. Next, with regard to wages, the Arbitrator found that the County offer in actual dollars paid for wages was reasonably comparable despite the low percentage increase. With regard to the non-wage proposals, the Arbitrator found in favor of the County on the dental insurance proposal and in favor of the Union on the holiday pay and contracting out proposals. Weighing all the issues together, he found that the County’s final offer was, on balance, the more reasonable.
Twin Lakes School District
Case 11 INT/ARB-5487 Dec. No. 26592-A (Petrie, 03-02-91)
Union offer selected.
Two issues, salary schedule base increase and health insurance. Association proposes to retain single and family dollar caps that represent 100% of the respective premiums in each year of the agreement. District proposes single and family dollar caps amounting to 95.1% of first year premiums and to 90.3% of the single and family second year premiums.
With regard to a dispute as to comparables, Arbitrator states that “there is no appropriate basis in law or logic to indicate that K-8 and K-12 school districts should be mutually exclusive of one another in comprising the primary intraindustry comparison groups . . . nor should high schools be arbitrarily excluded from comparison with elementary schools and vice versa.” Arbitrator finds it unnecessary to specifically determine which particular schools belong in the comparable pool for the instant relationship.
Board’s insurance proposal constitutes significant change in the status quo because it reduces District contributions below the historical standard of equivalence to 100% of premiums and, because, by the second year of the agreement, it would for the first time in years reduce the District’s premium costs below the average paid in comparable districts. Taking salary and insurance proposals together compared with the comparables, the District has not offered or claimed to have offered a quid pro quo in exchange for this change in the status quo. District’s proposed cost sharing is simply an economic proposal, rather than a proposal pointing toward cost control or more efficient and effective utilization of insurance benefits by employes. Insurance issue therefore strongly favors Association offer, and overcomes cost-of-living consideration which somewhat favors Employer’s proposal.
Madison Metropolitan School District
Case 194 INT/ARB-5527 Dec. No. 26392-A (Zeidler, 03-09-91)
Union offer selected.
On March 9, 1991, Arbitrator Frank P. Zeidler awarded inclusion of the Madison Teachers Inc. (MTI) final offer into the 1990-91 collective bargaining agreement. The parties arbitrated a reopener specifically limited to the extra duty compensation schedule. The Arbitrator determined the most weighty issues were revised compensation for Heat Coaches (MTI: increase rates by 1% versus District: status quo), the adding of three (3) Assistant Coach positions (MTI: golf, tennis and cross country versus District: status quo), the adding of winter and spring athletic trainer positions (MTI: create positions versus District: status quo), and release time for athletic directors (MTI: athletic directors to be assigned two rather than three teaching periods per day versus District: status quo). The District argued that the final offer of MTI exceeded the terms of the reopener agreement by adding five (5) new positions and changing the teaching load of athletic directors and was a permissive subject of bargaining. The Arbitrator concluded that the District had not objected to the final offer of MTI during bargaining or in an appeal to the Commission and therefore he was confronted with considering MTI’s final offer without any modification. On the issue of head coaches the Arbitrator found the comparable data for such positions where they existed in other districts favored MTI’s position. On the issue of additional assistant coaches and athletic trainer positions the Arbitrator found that if the positions are needed and if the District fills the positions the comparables favored the MTI position. On the issue of athletic directors the Arbitrator noted the need for additional time was not supported by comparison to Districts where athletic directors also were in the bargaining unit and that compensation was already comparable. The Arbitrator also noted that MTI’s argument for the need for additional time was offset by the fact that athletic directors were currently finding the time to take on other coaching duties. The Arbitrator concluded that of the four weighty matters the first three (3) accrue to the MTI position and taken together are more weighty than the athletic director position and directed the MTI final offer be included in the 1990-91 collective bargaining agreement.
Waupaca County (Sheriff’s Department)
Case 65 MIA-1525 Dec. No. 26526-B ( Petrie, 03-11-91)
Employer offer selected.
Three issues were in dispute: wages, health insurance and reclassification.
The Arbitrator concludes as follows:
(1) The wage study and recommendations favor the Union’s offer, and they are entitled to some weight in the final offer selection, but they cannot be assigned greater weight in pricing the structure and in paying the various classifications, than the normal statutory criteria. The merits of the Union’s final offer must be evaluated by the undersigned on the basis of the total aggregate wage increases proposed by it, including the equity adjustments purportedly based upon the contents of Appendix C of the study.
(2) Arbitral consideration of the cost of living criterion favors the selection of the final offer of the Employer.
(3) Arbitral consideration of the internal comparison criterion favors the selection of the final offer of the Employer.
(4) Arbitral consideration of the intraindustry comparison criterion favors the selection of the final offer of the Employer.
(5) Arbitral consideration of various other considerations cited by Union cannot be assigned determinative weight in these proceedings.
(6) Arbitral consideration of the insurance language impasse cannot be assigned determinative weight in these proceedings.
Based on the above, the City’s final offer was found more appropriate and was therefore selected.
Augusta School District
Case 33 INT/ARB-5679 Dec. No. 26616-A (Stern, 03-13-91)
Union offer selected.
The parties disputed the set of comparables to be used. In 1990, the District left the Dairyland Conference and joined the Cloverbelt Conference. The District argued that the Dairyland Conference should remain the primary comparable, with the five contiguous districts in the Cloverbelt Conference and the Dairyland Conference together comprising of a secondary set of comparables. The Association argued the Cloverbelt Conference is the proper comparable. The Arbitrator selected the five contiguous districts that are in the Cloverbelt Conference, since they are the only comparables listed by both parties, they are contiguous and in the same athletic conference and are settled for 1990-91.
Salary Schedule: The Arbitrator compared the average dollar increase, including longevity, as well as the dollar and percent increases in the benchmarks. Under the average dollar increase criterion the District’s offer was closer to the average of the comparables and therefore was preferable. With regard to the benchmarks, the Arbitrator noted that only two of the five comparables were settled for 1991-92 and concluded that since the difference in the parties’ offers for 1991-92 was about the same as for 1990-91, he could rely on the 1990-91 data to determine the preferable salary offer for both years. Both parties’ offers were less than the average increase in the benchmarks for the comparables, with the District’s offer being closer to that average on the whole. The Arbitrator noted that under the Association’s offer the percentage increase generated more for the teachers near the top of the schedule (where more than half the unit is concentrated), while the District’s flat dollar increase generated more for the teachers at the lower end of the schedule. As the District was far below the average of the comparables at the lower benchmarks and somewhat above the average at the higher benchmarks, the District’s salary offer is more preferable.
Health Insurance: The Board proposed to pay $275 plus 50% of the family premium above that amount for 1990-91 ($322.61), and $325 plus 50% of the family premium above that amount for 1991-92. The Association proposed that the Districts pay the dollar equivalent of the full family premium for 1990-91 ($370.22) and 50% of the increase in the family premium for 1991-92. Both parties assumed a 15% increase in the family premium for 1991-92. The Arbitrator noted that while in 1989-90 three out of the five comparables paid 100% of the premium for an average of 93% employer payment, in 1990-91 only one district out of the five continued to pay 100%, but the average employer payment rose to 95%. The family premium for Augusta was $15 above the average of the comparables for 1990-91. For 1990-91, under the District’s offer it would pay about $15 less per month than the average of the comparables, while under the Association’s offer the District would pay about $32 per month above the average. Assuming a 15% increase in premiums for 1991-92, under the District’s offer the District would pay about $47 per month under the average, and would pay about $10 per month above the average under the Association’s offer. Comparing the percentage of premium paid by the Employer, the Arbitrator concluded that the Association’s offer was slightly preferable as it put the percentage paid by the District closer to the average of the comparables and over the two years is also closer to the pattern.
Dental Insurance: The parties took similar positions on this issue as taken on the health insurance. The Arbitrator concluded there was actually only a slight difference in the amount paid by the District under either offer. While the District’s offer was closer to the average of the comparables on a percentage of premium paid basis, the Association’s offer was closer to the average in terms of dollars paid. The Arbitrator concluded that because either offer was acceptable and only differed slightly, this issue would be disregarded in selecting the preferable final offer.
Child Rearing Leave: The Arbitrator notes his disagreement with the Association’s claim that its proposal that teachers be granted a semester of unpaid leave for child rearing is the same as the former policy of the Board. Reviewing the former policy, the Arbitrator concludes it was limited to females and the Association’s proposal expands the right to male teachers to take unpaid leave. On the other hand, the Board’s new policy reflecting the new Wisconsin statute allowing both males and females six weeks of unpaid leave, reduced the leave from a semester to six weeks and is a greater deviation from the past practice. In the absence of a demand by male teachers for child rearing leave and the likelihood that such leave will for the most part still be sought by females, the Arbitrator concluded that the Association offer is preferable.
The Arbitrator also considered other factors raised by the parties. The Arbitrator rejected the District’s contention that its offer is preferable when considering the cost-of-living factor. Rather than use the small metro area index as the District suggested, the Arbitrator looked at the CPI(u), as the index most often used in comparisons, and concluded that under the District’s flat dollar per cell increase the majority of the unit would receive less than the 4.5% rise in CPI(u). Both parties argued that status quo supported their respective positions on family health insurance–the District asserting the dollar amount it paid in 1989-90 was the status quo, the Association asserting that the District paying the full premium in the first year of the contract and 50% of the increase in the premium in the second year was the status quo. The Arbitrator agreed with the Association’s assertion in that regard, but considered whether the position was justified by the patterns and trends and the ability of the Employer to meet the costs to be more important. The Arbitrator also noted that the District was paying the full premium for its non-bargaining unit personnel.
The Arbitrator concluded that the two major issues are salary and health insurance and that they will determine the outcome. Reviewing his findings on the two issues, he noted that while District’s salary proposal is slightly preferable, the Association’s proposal is not out of line with the comparables. That is not the case with health insurance, where the Association’s offer is preferable and the District’s proposal is “clearly out of line.” The Arbitrator then concluded that the Association’s final offer is slightly preferable.
Albany School District
Case 22 INT/ARB-5572 Dec. No. 26551-A (Wagner, 03-22-91)
Union offer selected.
The following issues were in dispute: (a) dues deduction language; (b) continuation of previously granted salary advancements for SEC hours; (c) rates of pay for Girls’ Head and Assistant Head High School Volleyball Coaches; (d) rate of pay for the position of Football Cheerleaders/Pep Club/Advisor; (e) elimination of overload pay for special education teachers; (f) the 1990-91 school calendar; (g) salary schedules for each year of 1989-91 agreement; and (h) health and dental insurance payments by the District for the 1990-91 year of the agreement. The Arbitrator limited the “comparables” to the State Line Athletic Conference.
The Arbitrator favored the Association’s proposal for the inclusion of dues deduction language in the agreement as more desirable for stability and predictability in the bargaining relationship.
The Association wished to continue payment for previously granted salary advancements for the School Evaluation Consortium (SEC) tasks. The District did not have a proposal on the issue. The Arbitrator found the Association’s proposal to be meritorious.
With respect to special assignment pay for the Head and Assistant Head Girls’ Volleyball Coaches, they are currently receiving 5% and 3% of the BA base salary for the special assignments. The Association proposes to raise them to 6% and 4%. Board argues salary is adequate. The Arbitrator, utilizing the Board’s comparables found that seven of the other districts have higher salary payments than those provided by the Board and if the Association’s proposal were granted, five would still be higher or the same.
With respect to the 2% overload payment for special education teachers who prepare 10 or more exceptional education needs each day, the Arbitrator concluded that the District had not made a persuasive case for eliminating the overload pay practice which had existed for at least several years.
The Arbitrator rejected the Association’s argument that the calendar implemented by the District, which added a voluntary new teacher in-service day, was a substantial change or imposed an additional burden.
On salary schedule, the Association proposed that horizontal lane change dollar increments of $300 and $350 be changed to 2% per land while the District’s proposal continued the previously established dollar increments. Neither proposal was found to significantly change the relative position of the salary schedule vis-a-vis the “comparables.” The Arbitrator did not find either proposal to be more clearly reasonable, but did conclude that the Association had not made a clearly compelling case for departing from the status quo.
On the health and dental insurance contributions, the Association proposed that the Board pay dollar amounts that are equal to the premiums quoted for the 1990-91 school year. The Board proposed to pay a lesser amount, to remove the name of the insurance carrier from the agreement and to place the insurance payment in a premium reduction plan covered by Section 125 of the Internal Revenue Code. The Arbitrator found the health insurance payments question to be the main issue in the case. Concluding that the Board had not established that the payments for insurance were out of line with those made by comparables, were otherwise excessive, or that the Board was not able to pay the premiums, the Arbitrator concluded that the record did not provide compelling evidence to support a departure from a long-established practice. Since the Board failed to provide a compelling reason for the Arbitrator to adopt its health and dental insurance proposals and since the Arbitrator found that to be the most important item in dispute, the Arbitrator selected the Association’s offer.
Wausaukee School District
Case 30 INT/ARB-5443 Dec. No. 26600-A (Yaffe, 04-02-91)
Employer offer selected.
The sole issue in dispute was wages. There was also a dispute over appropriate comparables with the Association arguing for a broader and more diverse set of comparables. The Arbitrator concluded that arbitral precedent is clear that if there is a discernible settlement pattern within an athletic conference then those are generally utilized as primary comparables. The Arbitrator found such a local settlement pattern, and thus applied same in this case.
Based on the comparables, the Arbitrator concluded as follows in selecting the Board’s final offer:
The foregoing indicates that when the distribution of proposed increases across the salary schedule is considered, the Association’s proposal is the more comparable of the two in that the Association’s proposal is more comparable at seven benchmarks, the Board’s proposal is more comparable at four, and there is no difference between the parties’ proposals at three benchmarks.
The above comparisons indicate that although the Association’s distribution of proposed increases is more comparable than the Board’s, the overall dollar value of the Board’s proposed salary increases and total package is more comparable than the Association’s. Since the record indicates that with a few exceptions (the M.A. Minimum in 1989-90 and Schedule Maximum in 1990-91) the Board’s proposed salaries are clustered near or above the conference benchmark averages, the undersigned concludes that there is no demonstrable need for overall salary catch-up in the District, nor is there justification, based upon comparability, for the Association’s proposed salary schedule, which, in terms of its overall dollar value, is clearly less comparable than the Board’s proposal.
Thus, based upon the comparability criterion, the undersigned concludes that the Board’s proposal is preferable. The reasonableness of this conclusion is supported by consideration of other statutory criteria, including cost of living considerations, settlements among other groups of public and private sector employees, and the understandable desire by the Board to moderate spending where possible to protect the economic interests of the taxpaying citizens in the District.
Based upon all of the above considerations, the undersigned concludes that the Board’s final offer is more supportable than the Association’s . . .
Barron Area School District
Case 31 INT/ARB-5676 Dec. No. 26651-A (Krinsky, 04-05-91)
Union offer selected.
The only issue in dispute was health insurance in the second year of the agreement. The Union proposed that the Employer continue to pay the full dollar amount for family and single health insurance. The District proposed to contribute 95% of the cost of the monthly premium for all regular full-time teachers who participate in the plan. The Arbitrator utilized the Heart O’North Athletic Conference plus Bloomer and Rice Lake as comparables. The Arbitrator felt that greater weight should be given to the comparable school districts as to health insurance available rather than to counties or other municipal employers in which the school districts are located. Noting that while the District’s health insurance rates have increased over the past three years, the District’s increases for that period have totaled less than the median increase figure for the comparables. The increase in the rate experienced by the District from 1989-90 to 1990-91 was, however, significantly higher than that experienced by the comparables which illustrates the need to address the problem of health insurance increases.
While noting that there is clear movement within the comparables away from the 100% employer contribution which supports the District’s position, the comparables support the Association position that 95% is too little a contribution on the Employer’s part as five out of the seven pay more than 95%. When looking at total compensation, the Arbitrator considered the four districts in the comparables with settlements each year and found the District’s package to be more reasonable but with four out of the eight not yet settled for 1991-92, he did not place too much weight on how the two year total package would compare.
The Union urges that the Arbitrator should consider a tentative agreement which contained a District offer of less than 100% Employer contribution but also significant additional economic benefits not included in the District’s final offer. Arbitrator gives no weight to the fact that there was a tentative agreement. The Union also argues that the District’s final offer changes the status quo which existed since 1973 without offering a meaningful quid pro quo. Finding that from a teacher’s viewpoint, the quid pro quo offered by the District is worth $42 more than the amount that the teacher would have to give up for the increased health insurance cost, the Arbitrator did not find that the District offered an adequate quid pro quo for the change.
This case involves a situation where both parties recognize a need to address rising health insurance costs, but which the Union does not address, and the District’s final offer seeks to achieve greater cost sharing than is in place in most of the comparison districts without an adequate quid pro quo for changing the status quo.
Arbitrator believes cost sharing will eventually result, but unpersuaded on this record to order the change at this time. He reasoned that (a) most of the comparables have an employer contribution greater than 95%; (b) District has not shown compelling reasons for ordering the change; and (c) District has not offered a meaningful quid pro quo. Arbitrator selects Union’s final offer even though (a) District has demonstrated trend toward cost sharing among comparables; (b) District has incurred large increases recently; (c) there is logic to the argument that cost sharing would provide incentive to address the cost problem; and (d) the total package costs offered by the District over two years appear to be above the median percentage increase paid by comparable districts.
Union offer selected.
City of Monona (Fire Department)
Case 31 MIA-1513 Dec. No. 26562-A (Vernon, 04-08-91)
Union offer selected.
The Arbitrator found these employes, who are not paid to fight fires but rather to drive the fire engine and ambulance and provide basic emergency services, are not truly comparable to any other employes within the proximate geographical area. Consequently, these employes are not entitled to wage rates as high as those of firefighters in the City of Madison and the Town of Madison, whose positions involve greater responsibility and skills than those required of the Monona firefighters. However, the Arbitrator found the Union offer supported by a comparison with the wage rates of Stoughton employes who perform similar duties but do not have the EMT training the Monona employes have. The Arbitrator rejected the City’s appeal to the internal comparables, finding that there was no consistent internal settlement pattern, and no history of internally consistent settlement rates. At the same time, the great disparity between the compensation for the City’s police and its firefighters was unjustified and also weighed against the City’s offer. The City’s asserted inability-to-pay argument was rejected. The Union’s split increases was favored because it phased in the cost to the City of the necessary catch-up in wage rates.
Green County (Sheriff’s Department)
Case 100 MIA-1441 Dec. No. 26605-A (Kerkman, 04-12-91)
Employer offer selected.
In addition to the percentage wage increase, the only issue in dispute was health insurance contributions and deductibles. The Association proposed that the County contribution for single coverage be reduced from 100% to 90%, the percentage employes contributed for family coverage. The County proposed converting its health insurance plan to the “Care Share” plan which would institute a $150 deductible for single and three (3) $150 deductibles for family, and which would increase the cost per prescription from $2 to $5. The question for the Arbitrator was whether the higher wage offer of the County was sufficient so as to warrant the introduction of the deductibles in the health insurance plan.
The Arbitrator stated that the County, as the seeker of change, must establish a need for its proposed change and secondly, whether its proposal to meet said change is justifiable.
The Arbitrator concluded that the record supported a need for cost containment in health insurance and that the proposal of the County would result in achieving that purpose. The Arbitrator further concluded that when comparing the differences between the offers of the parties, the County’s superior wage offer offset the proposed deductibles for some but not all employes in the unit. The Arbitrator also concluded that when comparing the patterns of settlement to the County offer, the County offer exceeded those patterns by a percentage sufficient to offset the deductibles which it had proposed. In addition, the Arbitrator concluded that the external comparables supported the County’s offer with respect to the health insurance deductibles while the internal comparables did not. Finally, the Arbitrator concluded that the cost of living supported the Association proposal when considering the next percentage increase proposed by the Employer and the percentage increase proposed by the Union over the two-year term of the contract. Therefore, the Arbitrator was persuaded that the cost containment proposed by the Employer provided adequate compensation because, while the cost of living supported the Union proposal, the differential between the Union proposal of 9% and the Employer’s net proposed increase of 8.42% (percentage wage increase minus increase in deductibles) was not so great as to require the adoption of the Union offer.
Case 117 INT/ARB-5525 Dec. No. 26627-A (Kerkman, 04-19-91)
Employer offer selected.
With regard to wages, the parties were virtually in agreement for the amount of the general pay increase for the first year of the contract. With regard to the second year of the contract, there was a 3/4 of 1% difference between the parties’ offers as it relates to the general increase. The Arbitrator found that the difference between the parties’ offers on the general wage increase for the second year was not so significant so as to override the primacy of the equity adjustments which the Union proposed. The Arbitrator found that the equity adjustment issue (i.e. reclassifications) was the primary issue in this matter and that all the remaining issues were not sufficiently significant so as to determine the outcome of this proceeding. The Arbitrator found that the Union had the burden of establishing that the adjustments it proposed were supported by clear and convincing evidence. The reclassifications proposed by the Union resulted in adjustments ranging from 3.2% to 11.5% over the general increase which the Union proposed. After reviewing the proposed adjustments and the remaining positions in the wage structure with the relative positions of the same jobs in comparable communities, the Arbitrator concluded that the evidence failed to support the Union’s proposed reclassifications. In so finding, he noted however that there were certain classifications which appeared to warrant reclassification, notably the deputy treasurer and the lead building maintenance worker, but he indicated he was without authority to select individual positions for reclassification. Having earlier found that the primary issue in this case was the reclassifications, and having held that the Union had failed to establish that the reclassifications which it sought were supported by the evidence, the Arbitrator rejected the Union’s offer and awarded the Employer’s offer.
Racine Unified School District
Case 120 INT/ARB-5393 Dec. No. 26509-A (Malamud, 04-21-91)
Employer offer selected.
The issues include wages, dental insurance, a prescription drug plan, eligibility levels for fringe benefits, the recognition clause, inservice time, and assignment and transfer language.
The Association proposed as comparable employers the four other largest districts in Wisconsin; the District, the nine largest. The Arbitrator adopted the District’s proposed list of comparables, on the ground that the Association had not shown sufficient reason to distinguish this unit from the comparability conclusions reached by another arbitrator in the teachers’ unit. As to cost of living, the District’s proposal was deemed more appropriate. Comparison of overall compensation to other districts’ similar employes favored the Association’s proposal; internal comparables as to percentage raises favored the District’s. The Arbitrator found with respect to wages overall, however, that while the senior aides would benefit disproportionately under the Association’s offer, that offer was still marginally preferable to the District’s because the majority of aides were well below the comparables and could justify a slightly larger increase. On health insurance the Association was proposing a change from the prior 85% single or family premium cost paid by the District, to a fixed $10 single employee/$20 family out-of-pocket monthly cost. The Arbitrator found that both internal and external comparables strongly supported the Association’s proposal. As to prescription drugs, a new benefit for this unit but already enjoyed by all other District employes, the Arbitrator found the Association’s proposal preferable. A new dental benefit was proposed by both parties, but at different levels; the Arbitrator found the District’s preferable. The Arbitrator preferred the District’s status quo position on fringe benefit eligibility, in the absence of substantial evidence of a need for the change proposed by the Association. Considering all fringe benefit issues together, the Arbitrator “slightly preferred” the Association proposal. The District proposed a change in the recognition clause, and the Association proposed allowing mid-term bargaining on inservice training; both proposals were found unsubstantiated. On assignment and transfer, both parties proposed new language, which would, however, treat mid-year openings differently. In a lengthy analysis, the Arbitrator found the Association’s proposal closer to the typical language in comparable agreements, but that the Association had failed to demonstrate the kind of numbers of mid-year openings which would warrant imposition of a burdensome provision. The potential domino effect of mid-year transfers created by the structure of the Association’s proposal also weighed in causing the Arbitrator to prefer the District’s proposal “by the narrowest of margins.” In all, the Arbitrator found that the Association offer redressed some deficiencies in fringe benefits, but went too far in attempting to equate these employes’ benefits to teachers’ in a single two-year agreement, and that this, combined with an excessive wage proposal and a practical problem in the way the Association’s transfer language would work, made the District’s overall offer slightly preferable. The District’s offer was selected.
Elroy-Kendall-Wilton School District
Case 16 INT/ARB-5700 Dec. No. 26673-A (Krinsky, 05-01-91)
Union offer selected.
The 1990-91 and 1991-92 salary schedules were the sole issues. The parties agreed that the Scenic Bluffs and Ridge and Valley Athletic Conferences comprised the comparables. Each of those 15 schools had an agreement for 1990-91, and four had an agreement for 1991-92.
The arbitrator initially noted that (a) and (b) of the “decision making factors” of Sec. 111.70(4)(cm)7, Stats., were not in dispute.
The arbitrator viewed Employer’s claimed inability to pay as “an unwillingness to pay,” which the arbitrator addressed under “the interests and welfare of the public” of factor (c). The arbitrator noted that national and local economic changes suggested a need to control costs, and that the Employer had made a reasonable offer. Factor (c), the arbitrator concluded, favored the Employer’s offer. The arbitrator noted that national and state-wide statistics were of limited benefit under factor (d), given the presence of strong local comparative data.
The arbitrator used a seven benchmark analysis to evaluate the local comparative data under factor (e). That analysis established that “(b)oth offers result in deterioration in relationship to the medians of the comparables, but the Association’s final offer results in less deterioration than does the District’s” for 1990-91. While only four districts had 1991-92 settlements, the arbitrator noted that these four, like the Employer, ranked in the bottom half of the comparables on the benchmarks. The arbitrator concluded that “there has been deterioration in comparison to the 4-district median at all benchmarks since 1989-90, although much less so under the Association’s offer.” The arbitrator also noted that “each offer was below the 4-district median percentage increase for 1991-92 at all benchmarks” in percentage terms, but that the Union’s offer was “closer to the median in all cases.” Although noting that the Employer had a longevity plan which favorably altered these comparisons, the arbitrator concluded that “by almost every measure, the Association’s final offer on salary compares more favorably to the increases given in the comparison districts.”
While noting that the Employer had submitted data on “average Wisconsin manufacturing pay rates and national major collective bargaining settlements,” the arbitrator concluded that the local comparative data was more significant and that factor (f) should not be afforded as much significance as factor (e).
Noting that each offer exceeded the relevant changes in the cost of living, the arbitrator found that factor (g) favored the Employer.
In discussing factor (h), the arbitrator noted that the Employer’s offer was closer than the Union’s to the median overall compensation increase from 1989-90 to 1990-91 of the comparable pool, thus showing that the Employer had paid significant benefit costs. Similar comparison of 1990-91 to 1991-92 was unreliable, according to the arbitrator, due to the absence of “adequately supported and/or jointly shared” estimates of future cost increases. The arbitrator dismissed the Employer’s “heavy emphasis on the health insurance issue” by noting that the parties had agreed to continue fully paid health insurance, and that no “quid pro quo” could be imposed by the arbitrator since such an imposition could not be squared with the parties’ bargaining history.
Factor (i) subsumed a number of disputes, including the significance of a cost control proposal made by the Governor’s office on the day following the arbitration hearing. The arbitrator declined to speculate on the cost control issue, but determined that a recent settlement in a comparable school district favored the Employer’s offer under this factor.
The arbitrator declined to apply factor (j) to support the Union’s position that its offer should be preferred for ameliorating the effects of “the fact that the District’s lower-cost final offers have been selected by prior arbitrators, in 1986 and in 1989.” Coupling this conclusion with his earlier rejection of the Employer’s emphasis on the cost of health insurance, the arbitrator concluded the application of factor (j) favored neither offer.
Characterizing the case as “particularly difficult,” the arbitrator concluded that the record favored the Union’s offer because the District’s offer would cause further deterioration of “an already relatively very low salary schedule.” This factor overcame the fact that the Employer’s offer was favored on the basis of factors (g), (c) and (i). The arbitrator concluded that while the implementation of the Union’s final offer might cause “an increase in the tax levy rate,” there had been “no showing that this will place an undue burden on the District’s taxpayers.
Marshfield School District
Case 22 INT/ARB-5402 Dec. No. 26632-A (Vernon, 04-26-91)
Employer offer selected.
Four disputed issues: salary schedules in each of two years; class overload pay; whether consultation time should be considered preparation time; and the amount of pay and conditions under which a teacher should be paid for room transfers. Arbitrator finds overload pay issue alone determinative because differences on salary positions are insignificant and other issues are undisputedly non-major.
Conversion to modular schedule two contracts ago extended the school day, shortened the lunch hour and introduced ODL (open door lab) time, which is less demanding than instructional time, but more demanding than study hall or other supervisory assignments. Equity considerations suggest increased compensation was in order, but the unique nature of the workload increase means that a traditional overload provision is not necessarily the correct response. Prior arbitration award rejecting Association offer including overload pay at 20% premium level is not controlling either way as regards Association proposal herein which reduces that premium to 8%. Workloads and overload provisions in comparable districts show some comparable teachers work longer without overload pay and some comparable contracts contain overload provisions. However, Association’s proposal differs dramatically from each of those other districts’ overload provisions, either in scope of application or in the level of instructional time per day after which compensation is payable.
Fatal flaw in Association proposal is absence of any means for District to escape from the financial mechanism, e.g., by relieving the teacher involved of a supervisory assignment. Association practically forces the District to abandon the eight period day, an education policy decision reserved by law to the District. The Association’s position goes way beyond providing some equitable system of distributing the sixth class period and protecting preparation periods from being usurped by extra instructional assignments. It would require overload pay in every case of a sixth assignment even if a preparation period was not lost and did not allow any escape mechanism so as to unreasonably infringe on management’s rights. While the District’s proposal had shortcomings in that it gave no consideration to the increased workload under an eight hour day, no protection against seven instructional assignments, and no compensation if a teacher were deprived of his/her formal preparation period, it is nonetheless less problematic than the Association’s.
City of Watertown (Department of Public Works)
Case 39 INT/ARB-5571 Dec. No. 26659-A (Krinsky, 05-02-91)
Employer offer selected.
In addition to the percentage wage increase, the Union proposed two language changes: first, that the normal workday and lunch time be specified in the agreement; and, second, that part-time employes be added to those employes who cannot work unless all available regular employes are working. The City proposed no language changes. The parties disagreed as to comparables. The arbitrator decided to focus on five comparables, based on geographic proximity and size: one which was on both lists, one from the Union’s and three from the City’s.
With respect to the issue of wages, the arbitrator concluded that the analysis of external comparables favored the City with respect to the percentage increase offered, but favored the Union insofar as the gap between the City and the median of the comparables was reduced further under the Union’s proposal. For 1990, the City’s offer was closer to what other units received than was the Union’s average offer, even before taking into account the lift generated by the split. The arbitrator rejected the Union’s argument that the split was meant to enforce a verbal “me too” agreement under the previous contract, asserting such a claim should have been pursued in another forum. Thus, the City’s offer was preferable based upon the external and internal comparables. Comparing wages alone, the Union’s proposal was closer to the cost of living, but when the increased cost of health insurance is added the City’s offer compares more favorably with the cost of living.
With respect to the language issues, the arbitrator did not find a compelling need to impose the changes, although the “regular hours” proposal was supported by the comparables. The language pertaining to “part-time” employes was not supported by the comparables. In addition, the Union’s intent was not adequately reflected in the proposed change, possibly causing repercussions on departmental staffing which the Union did not intend. Thus, the arbitrator’s preference was clearly for the City’s final offer on the second language issue. On balance, the arbitrator decided there was more reason to support the City’s final offer than the Union’s.
Lake Holcombe School District
Case 45 INT/ARB-5805 Dec. No. 26751-A (Malamud, 05-08-91)
Health Insurance: The terms of the Consent Award are that under Health Insurance the contract will state for both years the dollar amount equal to full coverage for full-time school year employes. Employes working less than full time will receive insurance on a pro-rata basis.
Mileage Rate for bus drivers for 1991-92 will be 10 cents per mile and the extra trip rate shall increase 25 cents per hour.
Retirement: The District shall increase its contribution effective January 1, 1991 to 6.1%.
Subcontracting: The language shall be changed to reflect a two-year contract July 1, 1990 to June 30, 1992.
Lincoln County (Sheriff’s Department)
Case 105 MIA-1505 Dec. No. 26701-A (McAlpin, 05-09-91)
Employer offer selected.
The sole issue is wages. The arbitrator found the offers to be “extremely close” for 1990 and 1991, though the Association proposed a three-year contract to the County’s two. The Association argued, in this respect, that if the County’s offer was accepted bargaining would have to recommence almost immediately upon issuance of the award. The Association proposed as primary comparables five county sheriff’s departments which were contiguous to Lincoln County, plus the City of Merrill police unit. The County sought to distinguish Marathon County on grounds of size and prosperity as well as promotion structure, and did not use the City of Merrill. The County argued primarily, however, for the use of internal comparables, arguing that all other Lincoln County units had settled on two-year packages at costs which approximated the County’s offer. The arbitrator found that the case turned on comparables, and that the external comparables slightly favored the Association’s position while the internal comparables favored the County’s. If only the first two years of each proposal are compared, the arbitrator, by a slight margin, would have selected the Union’s offer. However, the arbitrator found the fact that the Association’s three-year proposal deviated from the norm was of controlling significance. Stating that that proposal “significantly alters the bargaining relationship,” the arbitrator stated that such a change imposes an extra burden of proof, and that the Association had not demonstrated “strong reasons and a proven need” for that length of contract. The County’s offer was therefore adopted.
City of Cedarburg (Police Department)
Case 22 MIA-1473 Dec. No. 26420-A (Nielsen, 05-11-91)
Employer offer selected.
Other issues in dispute were health insurance and seniority with respect to the assignment of shifts. The parties also disagreed over the appropriate comparables. The arbitrator did not adjust either party’s set of comparables, but he did add the Village of Germantown to the list of undisputed comparables.
With respect to health insurance, the Employer proposed a two track self-insurance plan with a PPO option and non-PPO option replacing the current self-insurance system. Employes using the PPO option would be subject to a 90/10 co-payment of the first $2,000 per individual and $6,000 per family ($200 and $600 maximum). Employes using the non-PPO option would pay an up-front deductible ($100 individual and $300 family) and an 80/20 co-payment of the next $2,000 per individual and $6,000 per family ($400 and $1,200 maximum).
Additionally, the City proposes a payment of $40 per month through a Section 125 cafeteria plan. This amount may be applied to the $40 portion of the monthly insurance premium for which employes are liable under the City offer, or may be taken as additional compensation, at the employe’s option.
The Union proposed that effective upon signing a successor agreement to the 1988-89 contract, the deductible shall be increased to one hundred dollars ($100.00) per person per year, and three hundred dollars ($300.00) per family per year. Additionally, the drug prescription card shall be increased to five dollars ($5.00) per prescription.
Status quo on plan benefits and on premium payment. As a quid pro quo for retaining the current insurance plan in the face of rising costs, the Association proposed a structured wage increase yielding the same 8.16% lift on the end rates as the Employer’s offer, but costing 7.12% over the life of the contract. The savings on wage cost of $21,780 is the Association’s quid pro quo.
As to the seniority issue, the Employer proposed that the status quo be maintained. The Union proposed that the assignment of shifts shall be made on the basis of seniority, according to time in grade for each job classification, except that in the event an employee takes or suffers a demotion in grade for any reason, his seniority in a higher grade shall count as time in grade in the lesser grade. The intended effect of the Association proposal is to require that seniority within the two existing ranks of sergeant and patrol officer also be followed in making temporary transfers from one shift to another. (Police officers already have the right to exercise seniority in selecting their primary shift.) Employes reserve the right to file a grievance if seniority is not allowed, and request make whole monies.
The arbitrator finds both offers flawed. The Association’s proposal on shift selection needlessly interferes with the operational requirements of the Department. The records does not show an abuse of discretion by the Employer in making temporary shift transfers, and thus the need for a change is not clearly established. The Employer’s offer on health insurance, although reasonable in concept, overreaches in establishing out-of-pocket costs for the non-PPO users in excess of the amounts needed to provide a reasonable disincentive, and costs for the PPO users that will likely be an increase for most employes over the old plan. Wages are a minor issue in this case. Each party has proposed an 8% lift over the life of the contract, well within the range of settlements for law enforcement personnel in the area.
The arbitrator concluded that of the two unreasonable offers the Employer’s “is most amenable to correction in subsequent bargains.” Since the Employer’s offer imposes an undue economic burden, “any hardship suffered by employees can be measured and offset by adjustments in insurance, wages, or other economic benefits in the next round of bargaining.” The final offer of the Employer was selected.
City of St. Francis (Police Department)
Case 66 MIA-1516 Dec. No. 26577-A (Krinsky, 05-16-91)
Employer offer selected.
Three issues were in dispute: health insurance, disability insurance and residency. The parties also disagreed about comparables. The parties agreed on eight comparables, but the Association asserted the relevance of nine others. Relying on a previous arbitration award between the parties which limited the comparables generally to those agreed upon, the arbitrator decided to generally limit the comparables to those agreed upon.
On health insurance, the Association proposed changing the City’s contribution from a dollar cap to “full” while the City proposed changing from a dollar cap to a percentage above the highest HMO cost. The internal comparables favored the City since the most recent agreements with other units contain language specifying dollar caps. The external comparables favored the Association since five paid the full premium, one paid full for senior employes and two had caps. On disability insurance, the Association proposed reversing the percentages paid by the parties, changing from the City paying 75% of the premium to the employes paying 75%. The City proposed the status quo. The external comparables were inconclusive as most did not have this benefit while in two cases the Employer pay 100%. The internal comparables favored the City. The arbitrator had no particular basis for favoring either offer since the Association viewed the cost savings its proposal generated as part of a quid pro quo made to change the residency requirement. On residency, the Association proposes that the residency boundaries be expanded from the City limits to include the southern half of Milwaukee County. The Employer proposed the status quo. Three of the eight comparables required residency within their corporate limits, three others had radius requirement, one had specific boundaries as proposed by the Association and one had a county-wide requirement. The arbitrator found that while a minority of jurisdictions required residence within the corporate limits, this did not provide a compelling reason for imposing such a change through arbitration. The Association’s concerns about the residency requirement regarding limited housing and home building opportunities, personal inconvenience, potential hardships and uncertainty were, in the opinion of the arbitrator, outweighed by the City’s concern relating to potential problems with response time. On balance, the arbitrator decided that it was preferable to assure controlled health costs and adequate response time, rather than assuring greater housing opportunities and improved morale for the employes, and, thus, the arbitrator selected the City’s offer, even though a consequence of that decision was that a majority of the bargaining unit either must drop its traditional health insurance coverage and switch to an HMO or pay a substantial amount to maintain it.
City of Prairie du Chien
Case 47 INT/ARB-5623 Dec. No. 26628-A (Malamud, 05-22-91)
Union offer selected.
Other issues in dispute were health insurance and disability insurance.
With respect to health insurance, the Employer proposes that any increase in premium levels above those in effect in 1989 for single and family coverage be picked up on the basis of 80% of the increase paid by the Employer and 20% paid by the employe, effective July 1, 1990. Under the Employer proposal employes would make the following contributions under the Employer offer:
1990 – $2.96 monthly for single coverage
$7.76 monthly for family coverage
1991 – $4.52 monthly for single coverage
$11.85 monthly for family coverage
Employes who participate in the HMO plan would not pay any amount towards premium under the City’s proposal.
The Union proposes to retain the status quo on the matter of employee contribution towards premium which is governed by Article 21.01 of the expired agreement, as follows:
21.01 The Employer shall continue to provide hospital and medical insurance as per the WPS Health Maintenance Program, with the Employer paying one hundred percent (100%) of the total premium cost.
As to disability insurance, the City proposes the maintenance of the status quo on this issue.
The Union notes that Article 21.02 of the expired Agreement provides for an accident insurance program with an 80/20% split of premium between Employer and employe, respectively. There was a 30 day waiting period which the carrier paid if the injury lasted beyond 30 days. This retroactive feature of the plan was unilaterally eliminated by the insurance carrier without the prior knowledge or consent of either the City or the Union. The Union proposes that a policy with a 7 day waiting period be purchased. The premium for such a policy is approximately $66.00 per year per employe. The premium for the policy under the expired agreement was $30.00 per year per employe.
The arbitrator reasoned that for calendar year 1990, the Employer’s offer exceeds the Union offer by $141.00. The Union’s wage demand results in a lift of 4%, 1 1/2% above the Employer offer, but at a cost of 3%; 1 1/2% below the Employer offer. Under the Employer offer, the employe picks up 20% of the increase in insurance premium only for the last six months of 1990, i.e. July through December, 1990.
For calendar year 1991, the dollar difference between the parties’ offers is more significant. The Union offer exceeds that of the City by $14,283 in the agreement’s second year. Total salary and benefit costs for this unit in 1989 was $696,682. The difference between the parties’ offers over the two year successor agreement is 2% of the salary and benefit costs in the base year, 1989.
The arbitrator noted that two criteria were argued by the parties on the matter of wages, comparability and cost of living. The arbitrator found the comparability criterion provides equal support to both positions, while the cost-of-living criterion supports the selection of the Employer’s final offer for inclusion in a successor agreement.
With respect to health insurance, the arbitrator found that the comparability criterion “tends to” support the Employer’s offer. However, the arbitrator found, under “j. such other factors . . .” criterion, the Employer failed to provide a quid pro quo for the change it proposed in arbitration towards health insurance. The arbitrator concluded that this factor provides strong support for the selection of the Union’s offer for inclusion in a successor agreement.
In selecting a final offer, the arbitrator found the Employer’s wage offer preferable. However, the arbitrator noted that both parties agreed in their briefs that the health insurance issue is the primary issue in dispute. With respect to that issue, the arbitrator found the criterion, such other factors . . . strongly supports selection of the Union’s final offer. Accordingly, the arbitrator concluded that the Union’s final offer is to be preferred over that of the Employer for inclusion in a successor agreement.
Douglas County (Highway Department)
Case 171 INT/ARB-5658 Dec. No. 26686-A (Malamud, 05-24-91)
Employer offer selected.
The arbitrator selected the County’s offer on wages for two reasons. First, the cost of living as measured by the CPI supported the Employer’s wage offer. The arbitrator also noted in his discussion of cost of living that there was a pattern of settlement in Northwest Wisconsin including the City of Superior that closely approximated the 3.5% wage increase being offered by the County. The arbitrator found the strongest support for the County’s offer in the internal comparables of Douglas County. He found that the record evidence established that there was a solid and consistent pattern of settlement within Douglas County in other bargaining units supporting the 3.5% which the County was offering in this unit. He cited with concurrence, Arbitrator Vernon’s award in Sauk County for the proposition that strong evidence exists for following an established internal pattern and that in this instance there was no evidence to warrant adoption of the Union’s final offer which would be a “pattern buster.”
Nekoosa School District
Case 38 INT/ARB-5684 Dec. No. 26636-A (Rice, 05-28-91)
Union offer selected.
This arbitration adopts the offer of the Nekoosa Educational Support Personnel Association, a newly established bargaining unit consisting of secretaries, aides, cooks, cleaners and custodians. The Award, by Arbitrator Zel Rice, covers the period 1988-89 and 1990-91.
There were six issues brought to arbitration — wages, sick leave, health insurance, retirement, holiday pay, and selection of grievance arbitrators. The arbitrator found the Association’s offer more reasonable and acceptable on each disputed area except the last two, wherein he declined to state a preference. The offers and arbitrator’s analysis were as follows:
Wages: The Employer offered a 3% increase in each of the first two years, and a 2% – 2% split in 1990-91. The Association offered a 4% increase each year, except that in 1988-89, cleaners, special education aides and food service employes would receive no raise, and regular education would receive a nickel per hour increase, a proposal the Association explained as helping to phase in the added cost of its new retirement proposal. While finding that the Association’s proposal did “have the undesirable feature of providing no increase for the lowest paid classification” during the first year, the arbitrator concluded that it was “far better than the Employer’s proposal . . . which would result in an inequity for all classifications during the first two years of the agreement.”
Sick Leave: The Association proposed providing cleaners and aides with nine (9) days sick leave per year each year, with the Employer not being liable for retroactive payment for any time missed during 1988-89 and 1989-90 school years; sick leave for those years would accumulate and become part of the employes’ sick leave bank, which the Association proposed be fifty (50) days. The Association also proposed to continue the sick leave benefits for secretaries, custodians and food service personnel at their existing levels. The Employer offered no sick leave for the aides and cleaners the first two years of the agreement, and ten (10) days for the 1990-91 school year. The Employer offered accumulation of fifty (50) days sick leave for secretaries, custodians and food service, and ten (10) days for aides and cleaners. Finding that the Employer had produced no comparables to support its position, and believing that “uniformity of fringe benefits among all of an Employer’s employees is desirable,” the arbitrator concluded that the Association’s was “more reasonable and acceptable” than that of the Employer.
Retirement: The Employer proposed maintaining the status quo, with secretaries and custodians receiving a six (6) percent contribution by it towards retirement. The Association proposed that all employes, whether full or part time, school or full year, receive the six (6) percent contribution. The arbitrator agreed with the Employer that the Association’s proposal “is very expensive,” but found that the Association’s offer matched the internal comparables exactly, was justified in terms of catch-up, and was partially paid for by a reduced wage offer by the Association, while the Employer’s offer would continue the three non-covered classifications “in the second class status” that required the lowest paid employes to pay their own contribution, without any proposed phase-in during the life of this agreement.
Holiday Pay: Prior to certification, the food service personnel received one holiday, cleaners received five, custodial employes ten, secretaries eleven, and aides none. The Employer proposed to give the aides one holiday during the final year of the agreement, 1990-91. The Association proposed a phased increase of holidays for the cleaners, cooks and aides. The arbitrator, finding that the Association’s proposal would place the cooks and aides “well above the average” of the comparables, while the Employer’s proposal lagged “well behind the average,” found neither proposal more acceptable. This issue therefore did not materially affect the Award.
Selection of Arbitrators: The Employer proposed that grievance arbitration be handled by an independent arbitrator rather than a member of the WERC staff, as proposed by the Association. Finding that nine grievances over two years did not constitute an abuse of the process, but believing that “his colleagues on the panel would hang him from the nearest tree if he should endorse the concept of an arbitrator appointed from the Commission’s staff over the selection of a paid arbitrator from a panel,” the arbitrator found “neither proposal to be more reasonable.” This issue therefore did not materially affect the award.
Health Insurance: In 1987-88, the Employer contributed toward the health insurance and dental insurance premiums for the secretaries, custodians and cleaners; other unit personnel received no coverage. Secretaries alone received vision coverage. Under the Employer’s proposal, the employes would pay the total increase in cost for the insurance for both 1988-89 and 1989-90; the Employer would not increase its contribution until 1990-91, and then only to less than 80% of actual cost. Under the Association’s proposal, the employes would pay twenty (20) percent of the health insurance premium, expressed in dollars. Finding it “difficult to justify such a decline in three years of the percentage of the health insurance premium paid by the Employer when there has been an increase in the cost of the insurance,” the arbitrator found the Association’s proposal “more acceptable” and “more consistent” with the external comparables.
Discussion: “The Employer argues that the Union’s proposal asks for ‘too much too soon.’ The arbitrator can only say that the Employer has paid too little for too long and allowed the wages and fringe benefits of the members of the bargaining unit except the secretaries and custodians to fall well behind the levels in the comparable groups. Internal inequities have developed among the Employer’s own employees that should not stand and must be addressed.”
The arbitrator notes that the issues of holidays and retirement are the only issues that result in substantial cost differences between the Employer’s and Union’s proposal. But there the Union was given back some of that cost by waiving what might have been expected to be a normal wage increase for certain classifications during the first year of the agreement and that saves the Employer more than $8,000 of the $50,000 cost.
Nekoosa School District
Case 37 INT/ARB-5683 Dec. No. 26611-A (Malamud, 06-04-01)
Employer offer selected.
The expired agreement was the product of an interest arbitration award. The previous arbitrator expressed dissatisfaction with strict adherence to the Athletic Conference as the primary comparable, noting that Nekoosa was unique in that it was the only conference district that is heavily reliant on manufacturing and that it has the smallest agricultural component. The previous arbitrator, however, found no other substitute for the Athletic Conference.
Relying on the previous arbitrator’s dissatisfaction with the Athletic Conference, the Association argued that the District was more comparable to other “company” towns such as Kohler and paper mill towns in the Fox River Valley. Concluding that Kohler, Kaukauna and Kimberly were located in another part of the State and subject to different economic forces, the arbitrator rejected the Association’s argument that these districts were comparable. The arbitrator concluded that Mosinee was comparable in that it was a one company town, that it was tied to the paper industry, was similar in size in terms of teacher FTE, student population and amount of land dedicated to manufacturing and was not located in a different region of the State with different economic forces. Concluding that Tomahawk was not a one industry town to the same extent and in the same manner as Nekoosa, that Tomahawk was subject to the economic influences of the recreational and tourist industry, and that Tomahawk was too far north to be within the same labor market, the arbitrator rejected the District’s argument that Tomahawk was a comparable. The arbitrator concluded that the Athletic Conference and mosinee were the primary comparables.
The arbitrator applied two separate analyses to the salary proposals, a benchmark analysis and the percentage and dollar increases provided by each final offer. With respect to the benchmark analysis, the arbitrator concluded that the Association position was supported by the BA and MA minimum benchmarks and that the District position was supported by the MA and schedule maximum benchmarks. Based upon the actual placement of the teaching staff, he discounted the BA 7th Step and MA 10th Step. The fact that nearly one-half of the staff was located at the top steps of the three MA lanes caused the arbitrator to accord greater weight to the maximum benchmarks and to conclude that the benchmark analysis
supported the District’s offer.
When evaluating the year-to-year salary increase, the arbitrator found that the Association’s offer was 1.5% above the conference average and that the District’s offer was 1.93% below the average. The arbitrator, noting that the inclusion of Mosinee had little effect on the conference averages, found that the salary-only increases favored the Association’s offer. The arbitrator found that the District’s offer brought salary levels closer to the statewide average at both MA maximum and schedule maximum benchmarks.
Concluding that most of the teachers were at the top step of the three MA lanes, the arbitrator afforded greatest weight to the MA maximum and schedule maximum benchmarks. The arbitrator found the District’s offer to generate salary levels closer to the statewide average and the average paid by the comparable districts and concluded that teacher-to-teacher comparability criteria favored the District’s offer, as did teacher comparability with other public employes, and the increase in the CPI.
The arbitrator rejected the Association argument that the stipulations of the parties should not influence the ultimate decision as to the final offer selected and concluded that the record evidence did not support the negative view of the Nekoosa economy portrayed by the District. The arbitrator held that any disparity between the prior arbitration award and settlements achieved in the comparable may be adjusted only to the extent that the prior award resulted in salary levels which are demonstrably below the average paid by the comparables. The arbitrator found that the District’s offer placed the BA minimum well below the average and outside the range of settlement. The arbitrator concluded that the District’s offer had a destructive effect on its ability to recruit teachers and, thus, was not supported by the criterion of public interest. Had any of the benchmark maximums been well below average, the arbitrator would have found catch-up appropriate and selected the Association offer.
The arbitrator found both offers to be unreasonable and far from the average. Noting that he had the responsibility to select the offer which was closest to the average, the arbitrator selected the District’s offer. The factors which favored the District’s offer were non-weighted statewide comparability data, teacher-to-teacher comparability, cost-of-living criterion, and comparability with other public and private sector employes.
Ozaukee County (Lasata Nursing Home)
Case 29 INT/ARB-5485 Dec. No. 26670-A (Oestreicher, 06-05-91)
Union offer selected.
Two issues remained in dispute: the Union’s proposal to remove the historical cents per hour cap on overrate employes’ wage increases, and the Union’s proposal to add 2% to the top step of Grades 2 and 3 on July 1 of 1990 and 1991. The County’s offer was for no further change beyond the agreed-upon increases noted above. One of both of the Union’s proposals would benefit approximately 42 of the 152 unit employes and would cost something less than $44,947, benefiting individuals by amounts that could range as high as $1,543 for overrate employes at Grade 3.
Arbitrator rejects as extreme Union arguments based on employe retention problems and County arguments based on a need to maintain the status quo. Views the case instead as one in which the Union seeks larger increases for longer term employes than County considers justified. Existence of 7 pay grades does not prevent either party from negotiating different increases for some of the employes than for others.
Arbitrator finds Union’s overrates proposal does not upset the status quo because it is inconsistent with the provisions in only one of the County’s three other labor contracts, and that one other contract does not establish a persuasive pattern. Arbitrator rejects the County’s claimed need to reduce the extent to which overrate employes exceed their pay grade maximums on the grounds that the County has been paying for significant numbers of contract employes at rates substantially in excess of rates paid to overrate employes, in order to maintain a full complement of direct patient care personnel and in order to operate its facility at capacity during 1990. Because it appears that the County’s contracted personnel were receiving well in excess of the rates received by the overrate employes, and because the more experienced County employes who would benefit from the Union offer were relatively low paid when compared to similar employes at all other comparable county nursing homes except one, and because the Union’s proposal appeared to have been designed to limit its cost impact while providing increased wages to more senior employes most of whom are involved in direct patient care, the arbitrator concluded that the Union’s offer was the more reasonable.
City of Onalaska
Case 26 INT/ARB-5687 Dec. No. 26652-A (Kessler, 05-05-91)
Union offer selected.
There were three issues in dispute: wages, health insurance and overtime. There was also a dispute over comparables, but the differences between the two were slight. The City offered more money in wages than the Union has proposed as a “buy out” for the current health insurance. The major changes proposed by the City cover both benefits and premium contribution.
The Arbitrator concluded that clearly the insurance issues were the most significant on that issue. The Arbitrator found for the Union on the basis that (1) such an important change should be voluntarily arrived at and not imposed involuntarily through arbitration. This would be something better for the parties to work out and would be better for their relationship and (2) fairness favors the Union because the employes involved here are lower paid employes and asking them to pick up premium increases beyond a certain amount would have a disparately larger impact on said employes.
Based on the above, the Union’s final offer was selected.
City of Eau Claire (Police Department)
Case 194 MIA-1541 Dec. No. 26710-A (Stern, 06-14-91)
On June 14, 1991, Arbitrator James L. Stern issued a Consent Award covering wages (3.75% effective July 1, 1990; 4% effective July 1, 1991) and implementation of a trial period for selection of permanent shifts by patrol officers in the employ of the City. The trial period was to be implemented as soon as possible and consisted of selecting three (3) blocks of one hundred twelve (112) days each. This trial period could be extended by mutual agreement, absent which, the parties would return to the shift scheduling procedure currently being used by the Police Department. During the trial period Chief of Police could change the shift selection of any officer in order to achieve a relatively even balance of seniority (one-third most senior, one-third middle senior and one-third least senior) among the three shifts.
City of Milwaukee
Case 357 INT/ARB-5682 Dec. No. 26610-A (Rice, 06-27-91)
Employer offer selected.
There were two issues in dispute: salary and health insurance. The parties’ position with respect to health insurance was as follows:
The Union’s position on health insurance is that the benefits embodied in the 1987-88 collective bargaining agreement between the parties be continued through 1989 and 1990 except that the deductibles for the single and family major medical plans be increased by 50 percent effective the first day of the month following the execution of the new collective bargaining agreement. The Employer proposes to increase the major medical deductible to $100.00 per person with a $300.00 per family maximum effective January 1, 1990. It would add medically necessary human to human heart transplants effective January 1, 1990. It would maintain the present benefit level for the calendar year 1989, but revise the language to reflect the changes in the 1987-88 collective bargaining agreement that became effective October 1, 1989. Beginning in 1990 employees enrolled in the basic plan would contribute $7.50 per month for single enrollment and $15.00 per month for family enrollment. In calendar year 1990 the Employer would contribute up to 105 percent of the premium costs of the lowest HMO offered by the Employer for single and family enrollment. In 1990, the Employer would increase its dental contribution from $8.50 per month to $10.00 per month for single enrollment and from $26.60 to $30.00 per month for family enrollment.
In selecting the Employer’s final offer, the Arbitrator reasoned as follows:
The statutory criteria emphasized by the parties were cost of living and comparables. Cost of living supports the Union’s final offer whereas the internal comparables support the Employer’s final offer. The most immediate external comparables of Milwaukee County and the State of Wisconsin support the Employer’s offer and the increases proposed by the Employer approximates its internal increases as well as the most immediate external increases. The evidence establishes that the Employer has not experienced difficulty in recruiting which suggests that it is competitive with other private and public employers.
Whatever deficiencies exist in the Employer’s salary offer when compared to the salaries paid to other bargaining units are more than compensated when the cost factor of the pension enhancement for members of this bargaining unit is considered. The actual cost of the pension enhancement for this bargaining unit was well above the average cost per employee of the Employer, indicating that particular benefit was even more valuable to the employees of this bargaining unit than to the other employees of the Employer who received pension enhancement. That cost more than compensates for the difference in the lift given to the protective service employees and justifies the somewhat lower actual salary increase that the bargaining unit received. The overall compensation received by the employees including pension benefits is an important factor to be considered in making a determination of which proposal should be selected by the arbitrator.
Internal patterns of settlement carry significant weight in determining which final offer should be adopted. The wage proposal of the Employer in this dispute conforms to its other settlements except for the protective service units. When the costs of the pension enhancements proposed by the Employer is considered along with its wage proposal, the overall compensation is very similar to the settlements that the Employer has made with its protective service employees and District Council 48. Under the circumstances the arbitrator finds the Employer’s salary proposal to be more reasonable than that of the Union. The appropriateness of the Employer’s health insurance proposal when compared to that of the Union is a somewhat closer question. Because of an arbitration award to District Council 48 and a “me too” agreement on health insurance between the Employer and Public Employers Union Local 61 a large number of the Employer’s employees have an insurance program that is closer to the proposal of the Union than it is to that of the Employers. However the majority of the settlements with the various bargaining units involved health insurance provisions that were exactly the same as the Employer has proposed for the Union.
After full consideration of all of the factors involved herein, the arbitrator finds the proposal of the Employer to be more appropriate than the proposal of the Union.
Case 180 INT/ARB-5587 Dec. No. 26494-A (Vernon, 06-21-91)
Employer offer selected.
The parties submitted a four-issue dispute to arbitration following negotiations for an initial contract. Those issues included a Union proposal to pay time and one-half on Memorial Day, Independence Day and Labor Day. The Employer had no holiday premium pay proposal. The Union proposed a vacation schedule of 20 hours pay after 1 season, 40 hours pay after 2 seasons and 60 hours pay after 7 seasons. The Employer proposed a side letter which would grandfather and freeze existing vacation entitlements. The Union proposed a sick leave payment of 50% of up to 90 days accumulated sick leave upon retirement, which the Employer opposed. The major issue of dispute was over payment of health insurance premiums, where the Employer offered to pay 105% of the premium of the lowest priced plan offered by the Employer for 6 months of the year. Union sought premium pay was for 12 months of the year.
The arbitrator found for the Employer. He found the Employer’s vacation proposal to be “intrinsically unreasonable,” and out of step with external comparables and some internal comparables. The same analysis was applied to the sick leave payout issue. The holiday issue was given minimal weight when compared to the other three issues. However, the arbitrator found that the Union’s health insurance proposal was not supported by the internal comparables. In the arbitrator’s view, health insurance was, given the seasonal nature of employment, too great a concession to be delivered by an arbitrator.