Village of Shorewood
Case 38 MIA-1446 Dec. No. 26625-A (Kerkman, 07-12-91)
Employer offer selected.
The issues in dispute were the timing of the proposed wage increases; an employer proposal that “the parity with police clause” be rendered inoperative for the term of the Agreement; an employer proposal to modify health insurance coverage; and an employer proposal to include the words “straight time” in the Agreement provisions governing holiday pay. The parties agreed that the external comparables are Brown Deer, Fox Point, Glendale and Whitefish Bay.
Both parties’ arguments regarding the timing of the wage increases relied “on the historical parity relationship between firefighters and police officers in the Village of Shorewood.” The arbitrator analyzed these arguments as a matter of wage rate parity, earnings parity and package parity.
Noting that the wage increases under either offer were the same as those given the police unit, but that under the employer’s offer “the parity relationship is destroyed for a period of seven months”, the arbitrator concluded the Association’s offer was preferred as a matter of wage rate parity.
The same seven month difference impacted the issue of earnings parity, but the arbitrator did not find this fully persuasive support of the Union’s offer, since “earnings parity is also subject to variations based on amounts of overtime worked by individual firefighters and individual police officers.” Noting that the record established that firefighters earned significantly more holiday pay than police officers, the arbitrator concluded “the disparity in straight time earnings parity . . . is not a persuasive consideration.”
Regarding package parity, the arbitrator noted that the police unit had agreed to the co-insurance and deductible changes proposed by the employer. Those changes posed a maximum employe cost of $700 for an employe with single coverage and $1,400 for an employe with family coverage. The change agreed to by the police unit resulted in the employer paying $5,113.26 more to the firefighter that to the police unit. The employer’s delayed implementation of the wage increases resulted in wage costs $4,801.55 less than proposed by the Union. The record on package parity thus favored the employer’s offer.
To achieve the wage savings underlying the package parity consideration, the employer proposed modifying a contractual provision mandating for firefighters “the same pay structure with comparable positions in the police . . . unit.” Concluding that this modification was necessary to achieve package parity, and rejecting Union arguments that other contract provisions would be undermined, the arbitrator concluded that the employer’s wage proposal was more persuasive than the Union’s.
The health insurance changes proposed by the employer were the same as those voluntarily agreed to by the police and DPW units, and implemented for non-represented employes. Since “(a)rbitral authority has consistently held that internal comparisons with respect to fringe benefits such as health insurance should be given primary consideration”, the arbitrator concluded the employer’s offer to increase deductibles and co-insurance was persuasive. The arbitrator did note that the changes were generally supported by the external comparables. The arbitrator rejected the Union’s assertion that the employer failed to offer a quid pro quo, reasoning that any increased benefits afforded the police and DPW units had already been afforded the firefighters. Noting that the Union had advanced a prohibited practice regarding the employer’s implementation of the insurance changes during the interest arbitration process, the arbitrator rejected the Union’s contention that the employer’s offer should not be accepted since it was “unlawful”.
The arbitrator found the employer’s proposal to clarify that holiday compensation for firefighters is calculated “on a straight time basis” persuasive. This proposal had been prompted by a Union grievance alleging that the predecessor contract required this compensation to be calculated on a time and one-half basis from the point the employer afforded the benefit to the police unit. The arbitrator concluded that the merits of the grievance must be left to the grievance arbitrator. Since holiday compensation had “always been paid to firefighters on the basis of straight time”; since the prevailing practice among the external comparables was to pay such compensation on a straight time basis; and since, even with the change made for the police unit, firefighters would continue to earn more holiday pay than police officers, the arbitrator concluded the employer’s holiday pay proposal was superior to the Union’s.
City of Medford (Police Department)
Case 19 MIA-1531 Dec. No. 26674-A (Michelstetter, 07-12-91)
Employer offer selected.
While there were four issues contained in the parties’ final offers (work schedule, wages, health insurance and holidays), the arbitrator only discussed one of them, namely the hours of work, in detail. On that issue, the employer proposed changing the employes’ existing work schedule from a 6-4 schedule to a 6-3 schedule. The Association wanted to keep the existing 6-4 schedule which employes had worked since 1981. When the 6-4 schedule was instituted, the employes gave up seven paid holidays in order to obtain the 6-4 work schedule.
The employer argued that its proposed change in work schedule would provide more police coverage, was supported by the external comparables, and was justified because of the changed circumstances of half of the bargaining unit reaching a new vacation level which made staffing difficult without extensive overtime. As a buy-out for the implementation of a 6-3 work schedule, the employer’s final offer included the seven paid holidays the employes gave up in 1981 in order to get the 6-4 work schedule.
The Association argued that the City’s proposed change in work schedule was not supported by the external comparables and was not justified by changed circumstances. Additionally, the Association argued that the employer’s proposed buy-out for the work schedule change was not a sufficient quid pro quo.
The arbitrator found that the external comparables supported a 6-3 work schedule. He also found that the employer demonstrated that a 6-3 work schedule was necessary in order for it to avoid inordinate overtime costs. Finally, he found that the employer’s proposed buy-out for the work schedule change (i.e. giving the employes the seven paid holidays they gave up in 1981 when the 6-4 work schedule was implemented) was an adequate quid pro quo. He therefore found for the employer.
Sheboygan County Department of Social Services
Case 131 INT/ARB-5819 Dec. No. 26775-A (Baron, 07-13-91)
Union offer selected.
The wage increase for each year of the Agreement was the sole issue. The employer contended that the appropriate comparables should include its other represented and non-represented employes, represented and non represented employes of the City of Sheboygan, social workers employed by private agencies, and state-wide social worker wage rates. The employer contended that a comparison of its wages to comparable employers established that it paid wages competitive with public sector employers and superior to private sector employers. Beyond this, the employer argued it afforded an excellent fringe benefit package. These points were established, according to the employer, by its ability to recruit and retain social workers. Beyond this, the employer contended that it afforded the Association greater wage increases in 1989 and 1990 than it afforded its other employes. In addition, the employer contended that its offer realistically protected employes from the rising cost of living, and that any higher offer was insupportable since the employer taxed its residents at the highest rate of comparable counties.
The Union contended that there are three relevant sets of comparables: contiguous counties; all Wisconsin counties with populations within 20% of the employer; and any other county noted in a prior arbitration award. The Union contended that the employer paid the lowest wage rate of any comparable county at entry and at advance salary steps. The Union highlighted the contrast with Manitowoc County. Beyond this, the Union argued that a comparison with other employes of the employer ignored the differences between those employes and social workers, and, where social workers were compared, attempted to equate management to non-management positions. The Union also argued that the employer’s use of private sector comparables was incomplete. Contending that it has enjoyed real (inflation adjusted) wage increases for a period of years, the Union concluded that this pattern should continue, and that its offer was not unreasonable in light of future inflation. The Union also argued that the employer was able to fund the cost of the Union’s final offer.
The arbitrator selected the following counties as the appropriate comparables: Calumet, Eau Claire, Fond du Lac, Kenosha, La Crosse, Manitowoc, Marathon, Outagamie, Ozaukee, Washington and Winnebago. The arbitrator placed particular emphasis on Manitowoc County, and specifically discounted comparisons with other internal bargaining units of the employer, City of Sheboygan employes, and private sector employes. Specifically rejected the “wage plus longevity” approach of the employer, and the “Dual Career Gross Earnings Index” of the Union, which “follows a junior social worker starting at entry level and observes his earnings over a 60 month period”, the arbitrator viewed the data underlying each approach and concluded the employer paid an unduly low wage rate. The arbitrator placed no significant weight on the employer’s fringe benefit package, concluding “the very low rank it has in wages tends to negate the overall compensation received by the social workers.” The arbitrator found the Union’s offer slightly preferable in light of cost of living increases. That the employer can attract and retain social workers militated for the employer’s offer, but the arbitrator found this consideration less weighty than the public interest served by moving the wages of Union represented social workers closer to that of their peers. That the employer wished to grant consistent wage increases to each of its bargaining units was afforded “no determinative weight” by the arbitrator.
Slinger School District
Case 27 INT/ARB-5705 Dec. No. 26757-A (Rice, 07-16-91)
Employer offer selected.
This was a compensation reopener for the 1990-91 school year. The sole substantive issue in dispute was wages. There was also a disagreement over what constituted the appropriate set of comparables.
The arbitrator determined that the appropriate comparables were those used in a 1986 arbitration between the parties and again used in the 1989-90 negotiations. He indicated that a change in the statute allowing consideration of broader comparables did not mandate establishment of a new comparable grouping. The factors underlying determinations of comparability — equalized value, range of enrollment, FTE’s, mill rates, levy rates, and income levels — remained the same before and after the statutory change. Absent compelling reasons for revising the comparables, the arbitrator ruled that the parties should continue to rely for guidance on their historical comparable group.
The arbitrator found that the cell percentage increase of the historical comparable grouping was the same as that offered by the District, and that the Association offer, while not outrageous, was not supported by the comparables. Acknowledging that the District’s teachers were below the average at several benchmarks, the arbitrator noted that those disparities were the result of collective bargaining: “When certain teachers achieve rankings above the average or below the average because of voluntary agreements, they do exactly what free collective bargaining was intended to do. Some bargaining units fall below the average with respect to salaries as a result of trade-offs they may make on insurance or other issues that are important to them and may or may not make an economic impact.” He concluded for these reasons that a disparity in salaries was not the same as an inequity in salaries.
In selecting the District’s offer, the arbitrator cautioned that he was not endorsing a system of simply using averages from the comparables for determining salaries in the future, and stated that individual problems within the schedule should be addressed individually.
New Lisbon School District
Case 21 INT/ARB-5510 Dec. No. 26733-A (Imes, 07-19-91)
Union offer selected.
The issues in dispute were wages and fair share language. The employer and the Union presented the same health insurance proposal. Noting that teaching staff comparables often vary from support staff comparables, the arbitrator found the employer to have persuasively argued that a labor market approach should be used in determining comparables. Relying upon size, proximity to the employer, and the job market area as defined by DILHR, the arbitrator found the appropriate comparables to be Cashton, Elroy-Kendall-Wilton, Hillsboro, Mauston, Necedah, Norwalk, Sparta, Tomah and Wonewoc. The arbitrator concluded that the comparables supported the Union’s wage offer in that it was closer to the rate increases which were agreed to in voluntary settlements among the comparables, private sector wage increases, and more closely maintained a competitive wage rate within the area defined as comparable.
The arbitrator rejected the employer’s argument that a lower wage rate was justified on the basis that the cost of health insurance had increased by thirty per cent. In reaching this conclusion, the arbitrator relied upon the evidence which demonstrated that at least four of the nine comparables had absorbed such an increase and had granted wage increases which were higher than those granted by the employer. The arbitrator found that total package information was not sufficient to determine which offer was favored by total package comparisons. Noting that the employer’s teaching staff had fair share, the arbitrator found no persuasive reason to deny the non-teaching staff fair share.
Case 175 INT/ARB-5790 Dec. No. 26687-A (Vernon, 07-20-91)
Employer offer selected.
Issues in dispute with wages, wage schedule and mileage reimbursement. Wages were the major and determinative issue.
Union believes external comparables should include employers from Minnesota and municipalities around the date.
Employer would use external comparables from prior arbitrations and argues that both those comparables and the internal comparables support its offer.
Arbitrator found the employer’s list of adequate and in keeping with prior awards.
The arbitrator concluded that internal patterns should be given great weight unless there is reason not to do so. Here there is an internal pattern and it forms the city. The arbitrator found no valid reasons for departing from the internal comparables.
Fall Creek School District
Case 9 INT/ARB-5727 Dec. No. 26756-A (Vernon, 07-23-91)
Union offer selected.
In addition to wages, the contribution to the health insurance premium, subcontracting and contribution to the Wisconsin Retirement System were in dispute. The comparable districts were Altoona, Augusta, Eleva-Strum and Osseo-Fairchild.
Both parties argued their proposal on health insurance represented the status quo. The arbitrator found the Union’s proposal that the District’s proposal that the same dollar figure of the District’s contribution in the previous contract (representing all but $5 of the then-current premium rate) be continued in the successor contract. Additionally, neither the actual rates nor the amount of increase over the previous year’s rates were unusual when compared with the other districts, so the arbitrator found no reason to disturb the status quo.
As to subcontracting, the previous contract had been accompanied by a side letter that expired with the contract and prohibited sub-contracting during the life of that previous contract. The arbitrator found the Union’s proposal to continue the side letter, changing only the effective dates, was a change of the status quo since the side letter, by its own terms, was not designed to be continued. The District’s proposal, to let the letter expire by its own terms, was found to be more reasonable.
The arbitrator called the District’s unreasonable health insurance proposal and the Union’s unreasonable subcontracting proposal “off-setting penalties,” and decided the award on the basis of the wage and retirement proposals. The wage proposals were close to each other, and neither was found to be unreasonable, however the Union’s 4% increase was found to be closer to the pattern among the comparables than the District’s 3%.
The District proposed to maintain its 4% contribution to the employe’s required 6% contribution to the Wisconsin Retirement System. The compelling pattern of 6% or full employe share contribution among the comparables was found by the arbitrator to lessen the Union’s burden to offer a quid pro quo for the change in the status quo. The Union’s offer was also made more attractive by the phase-in of the increase over two years. Overall, the Union’s package was found to be more reasonable despite the cost impact of the increased contribution to WRS. Since the less-than-full contribution of the employe’s share of WRS put the parties in a catch-up position, the cost of the WRS increase was considered less significant.
Waukesha School District
Case 61 INT/ARB-5371 Dec. No. 26415-A (Johnson, 07-25-91)
Union offer selected.
There were two issues in dispute: wages and an extra paid holiday. The District proposed 4.5% each year and the Union proposed 5% each year as well as an extra paid holiday – Memorial Day.
The parties each offered a different set of comparables indicating these sex provided ample, useful data.
The arbitrator found that starting rate for employes was fourth (4th) out of the seven and the top rates were lowest, 7th out of the seven and that neither proposal would change that ranking.
Also, the District had settled for 5% each year in the Clerical unit and 4.8% in the Custodial unit, so the internal comparisons supported the Union’s offer. The arbitrator determined that the Union’s wage offer was preferable because the top rates were low in the comparisons and the Union’s proposed increases were more in line with the increase at the six comparable Districts.
With respect to adding Memorial Day as a paid holiday, the arbitrator found that the Union did not provide convincing support for it.
The arbitrator found the Union’s wage proposal more convincing, particularly where the employer’s proposal excluded noon-hour supervision from its wage increase on the basis this could be performed by non-union individuals. The arbitrator found that this duty was performed by a significant number of bargaining unit employes such that this difference tilted the award in favor of the Union’s offer. Award for the Union.
Deerfield Community School District
Case 26 INT/ARB-5664 (Kerkman, 08-05-91)
Employer offer selected.
The four issues on which offers differed (Union vs. Employer) were: WRS (6.0% vs 6.1%); part-time teacher dental insurance (maintain fully-paid vs reduce to prorate; grievability of layoff/recall decisions (remove limitations vs retain same); and salary both years. Arbitrator deems non-salary issues secondary and of no consequence to the offer selection.
Regarding the salary issue, Union argues: for catchup to permit it to “creep from the cellar of rank” and to recoup slippage relative to athletic conference comparables over last 5 years; for costing based on actual rather than cast forward method, so that Union offer falls within the 8% budgeted for salaries; and that overall compensation also supports Union offer. Employer argues for use of cast forward costing as the industry standard used in majority of athletic conference comparables. Employer asserts that its total compensation increase exceeds the comparables’ in both years; and that its offer improves or maintains rank and relationship to comparables average at most benchmarks.
Arbitrator focuses primarily on Athletic Conference to establish patterns of settlement, but also looks at how the offers would affect relationships to state-wide averages. Arbitrator rejects actual cost in favor of cast-forward costing method. He finds Employer offer conforms to 90-91 pattern of comparables settlements and Union’s “significantly exceeds those patterns.” Evidence about 91-92 pattern is insufficient to support valid conclusions. Employer offer will therefore control unless overcome by Union’s catchup argument. Upon review of the benchmark comparisons with athletic conference districts, those for 1990-91 with longevity included in computations, at minimums and maximums for BA and MA, arbitrator finds Union failed to make persuasive case for catchup “because the rankings are maintained or improved by the employer offer as they had existed in the year 1989-90.” Arbitrator finds Union reliance on total compensation is misplaced because, Employer’s comparatively lower total compensation costs is attributable to comparatively low health insurance premiums, and the Employer’s 1990-91 percentage increase in total package is adequate.
Kenosha Unified School
Case 129 INT/ARB-5744 Dec. No. 26768-A (Stern, 08-06-91)
Employer offer selected.
The sole substantive issue in dispute was the employer’s demand for a cap on premium contributions at the level of 120% of the rate in effect during the 1990-91 school year. There was also a disagreement over whether internal comparables or external comparables were more relevant to the dispute.
The arbitrator determined that the appropriate comparables were the other bargaining units in the school district.
On reviewing the internal comparables, the arbitrator found that all units negotiating during the 1990-92 contact cycle had agreed to some form of cap on premiums, or to an employee contribution. He concluded that there was a clear pattern towards some form of employee responsibility towards health insurance premiums.
The arbitrator commented that, if there were some form of quid pro quo offered to other employee groups (giving the example of retiree health insurance), that benefit should also be offered to the Union in the next round of negotiations.
Stanley-Boyd School District
Case 49 INT/ARB-5929 Dec. No. 26887-A (Baron, 08-14-91)
Employer offer selected.
The sole issue which of the parties’ respective final offers relating to a change to an eight-period day was the more reasonable. The District proposed a maximum of seven pupil/teacher contact periods, of which no more than six could be teaching periods, and overload pay at the teacher’s hourly base wage for more than seven contact periods. The Association’s final offer was that the 1989-1991 agreement not be modified, and an eight-period day not implemented.
The District argued that an eight-period day was consistent with statutory and administrative code mandates, and supported by the comparables; that its overload pay was above-average; and that its proposal was consistent with good educational policy without being unduly burdensome to the teachers. The Association argued that the District had not show sufficient compelling need to change the status quo, that the District had not offered a quid pro quo for the increased workload, and that the increased workload would impose an unfair and inequitable burden on the bargaining unit.
Using the schools of the Cloverbelt Athletic Conference as the appropriate comparables, the arbitrator found that “the overwhelming proportion of them, twelve of fifteen, have adopted the eight period day.” and that under the statutory criterion comparing wages, hours and conditions of employment, the offer of the District was preferable to that of the Association. Noting that the District had been required to increase teacher/pupil contact time, and to increase the number of courses offered, the arbitrator said she was “not persuaded by the Association’s argument that the District has failed to demonstrate a need for a change in contract language. The arbitrator expressly found that the District had shown “that a legitimate problem existed that required contractual attention and the proposal was reasonably designed to effectively address that problem.” The arbitrator also found that a memorandum of agreement barring layoffs directly and solely caused by the new scheduled constituted a sufficient quid pro quo.
Washington County (Department of Social Services)
Case 85 INT/ARB-5543 Dec. No. 26764-A (Slavney, 08-20-91)
Employer offer selected.
Two issues were in dispute: wages and health insurance.
The Union argued that its wage offer was justified because the employer – following a special outside study gave such raises to its non-represented employees and because certain employes were entitled to special wage adjustments. The employer argued that non-represented employes do no represent a proper comparable and that its offer was justified because it matched what the employer had given to four of its represented bargaining units.
The arbitrator agreed with the employer’s position, finding that “the more appropriate internal comparables are employes in the County’s four represented bargaining units, rather than the unrepresented employes of the County.” He also found that the five county external pool of comparables previously used by the same parties in prior negotiations favored the employer and that there is no merit to the Union’s claim that other comparables should be used. He therefore selected the employer’s wage offer.
The issue is whether employes under a single health insurance plan should pay part of the insurance premium if it exceeded $100 in 1990 and $110 in 1991.
The Union maintained that the status quo should be maintained under which employes did not pay for any part of the single premium.
The employer maintained that such a shared contribution is justified under both internal and external comparables.
The arbitrator found of the employer on this issue stating that the Union’s status quo argument, “standing alone” does not support its proposal; that “it is patently clear that the internal comparisons support the offer of the County”; and that a majority of other external comparables establish that employees pay for part of the single health insurance premium.
Based on the above, the employer’s offer was selected.
City of Marshfield (Electric & Water Department)
Case 86 INT/ARB-5592 Dec. No. 26752-A (Krinsky, 08-26-91)
Employer offer selected.
Two issues were in dispute: wages and health insurance. The Union sought 2.5% each year in wages plus 100% employer premium contribution for health insurance.
The City offered 2% on January 1 and 2% on July 1 each year with the 2% for clerical in a lump sum, non-cumulative payment. In 1991, the City would reduce its payment to 90% of the premium for both single and family health insurance.
The parties disagreed on comparables and the arbitrator selected three municipal utilities: Kaukauna, Menasha and Wisconsin Rapids as being relevant as others were geographically too distant or insufficient information was provided to make them relevant.
The arbitrator found both wage offers reasonable in terms of overall cost and Union’s offer, though lower, would widen the wage gap with the comparables, so the City’s wage offer was preferred.
With respect to health insurance premium, the external comparisons favored the Union whereas the internal comparisons strongly supported the City’s position as all other City units had paid a portion of health insurance premiums since 1988. The arbitrator found that the City had been trying for 10 years, without success to persuade this unit to contribute to health insurance premiums. The arbitrator noted that there was no quid pro quo for the City’s proposal of reduced employe health insurance premium contribution and this favored the Union’s position; however, this was offset by the fact that there was no justification for only this unit of employes in the City to continue to have fully-paid health insurance when all other units made employe contributions. In selecting the city’s final offer, the arbitrator reasoned as follows.
The arbitrator has decided that the employer’s offer should be implemented. He is persuaded that there is not adequate justification for continuing fully-paid health insurance benefits for this bargaining unit where all six City units have employe contributions. This fact, when coupled with the fact that the unit’s wage rates will continue to be competitive with the rates paid in the other City units, persuades the arbitrator to support the employer’s final offer despite the absence of a quid pro quo for the change in health insurance arrangements. The arbitrator is also persuaded that greater weight should be given to the rates paid in the other City offer despite the absence of a quid pro quo for the change in health insurance arrangements. The arbitrator is also persuaded that greater weight should be given to the internal comparison data in this case than to external data, which also favors the employer’s final offer more than the Union’s.
City of South Milwaukee
Case 65 INT/ARB-5706 (Petrie, 09-11-91)
Union offer selected.
The issues in dispute include wages, whether the cost of living escalator provision should be eliminated, whether 66 cents or 72 cents of previous cost of living escalator (COLA) should be folded into the base rates, and the amount of deferred wages (generated by COLA adjustments) that should be applied during the contract term.
The Union argued that the City’s proposal to eliminate the COLA, which had been part of the agreements since it was first bargained in 1971, was a major change in the status quo which was not justified either by a need for change or an offer of a quid pro quo. Furthermore, internal comparables do not justify the change since the City’s on-going agreement with the police contains the COLA, as does the City’s proposal to the firefighters.
The City pointed out the Union’s COLA provision is uncapped, unlike the capped COLA provision proposed by the City to the firefighters. It asserted the COLA proposal is unnecessary because the City’s wage proposal is comparable with those of the comparable communities, and moreover that it is harmful because it introduces a major uncertainty into the budgeting process. Finally, it argued the statute does not require that provisions be bought-out by the offer of a quid pro quo.
The arbitrator ruled that the proponent of change, here the City, must establish a persuasive case and it had not done so. In reviewing the negotiations history, the arbitrator determined that in the two decades that the COLA has been part of the agreements, the parties have relied heavily on internal comparisons with the police and firefighter units in negotiating the COLA agreements, and the external comparisons argued by the City are less significant in this case. The arbitrator rejected the City’s argument that the COLA was incompatible with the statutorily-required bargaining process, adding that such an argument amounted to a contention that a COLA provision is, or should be, a non-mandatory proposal and such an argument should be addressed either to the Wisconsin Employment Relations Commission or the Legislature.
City of Oak Creek
Case 77 INT/ARB-5715 Dec. No. 26852-A (Anderson, 09-12-91)
Employer offer selected.
Two major issues: subcontracting language and health insurance.
The City argued a compelling need to change subcontracting language because of its need to comply with state mandated recycling and three conflicting arbitration awards regarding the City’s right to subcontract. The City offered a quid pro quo of an addition 0.75% hourly wage increase, the equivalent of about 6 cents per hour, effective 7/1/91. The City argued that it desires to limit the health insurance options available to employes because it is unable to obtain reasonable bids and that its three other units have accepted the City’s health modifications.
The Union argued that the City failed to meet its burden in seeking to change the status quo, that the City has not demonstrated a sufficient need for the subcontracting change and that, while the Union has agreed to certain changes with respect to health insurance, the City has not offered any quid pro quo for a right to discontinue most of the HMOs.
With respect to subcontracting, the arbitrator concluded the City made a persuasive case for change, citing the three conflicting arbitration awards, the City’s attempt to negotiate a change without success, and the comparables, none of which had a similarly restrictive subcontracting clause. As for the 0.75% hourly wage increase, the arbitrator noted there is no way to show whether the amount is adequate to compensate employes who will lose overtime, but he found it was more than that offered to the City’s other Unions and to employes of comparable communities. He concluded that the wage offer was very fair.
As to health insurance, the arbitrator concluded the City made a persuasive case, citing the fact that the City’s three other units accepted the City’s offer, that the City currently pays the highest standard plan among the comparable communities, and that the City currently pays the entire employe premium for the HMOs. As for the Union’s claim that there was no quid pro quo for the City’s offer, the arbitrator concluded that the City’s proposal was generous and did not require such separate consideration.
City of Hartford
Case 33 INT/ARB-5797 Dec. No. 26759-A (Kerkman, 09-18-91)
Employer offer selected.
The sole disputed issues were whether upward reclassifications proposed by the Union should be implemented. Union sought reclassifications of Cashier from Range IV to V; Receptionist from III to IV; Taxi Driver/Mechanic: from I to II. Arbitrator concluded that Union requests were not supported by record evidence.
Arbitrator agreed with Union that because dispute involved reclassification, internal relationships were controlling and Employer’s reliance on direct comparisons with allegedly comparable employers’ rates for similar jobs were meaningless. While comparisons of how other employers’ paid similar jobs relative to other jobs in that employer’s operation would be worthy of consideration, Employer’s evidence did not go beyond rates paid for the similar jobs themselves. Accordingly, no ruling was made regarding the parties’ dispute concerning the appropriate comparables pool.
Union, as proponent of changes bears burden “to establish proof by a sufficiency of the evidence that its proposed changes should be adopted.”
“The common denominator for determining whether a position is properly slotted in the range in which it is place, or whether it should be reclassified to a higher range, requires a showing that the components of the job for which reclassification is being sought are more complex than the components of other positions in the same range as the proposed job is presently classified.” Union must show ” that proposed reclassification has the same degree of complexity for its components as the jobs in the range to which the proposed position is advocated.” Proper considerations for job evaluation are “1) knowledge, education and skill to accomplish duties of the position; 2) degree of supervisory control or employee exercise of independent initiative; 3) the degree of specificity of guidelines to be followed; 4) the scope and effect of the position in question; 5) the complexity of work assignments; 6) with whom and at what level in the organizational structure does the incumbent in the position have personal contact and the degree to which the incumbent in the position has contact with the public; 7) the purpose and importance of these contacts; 8) physical demands on the job; 9) the work environment of the position.”
Upon review of the evidence and application of those principles and standards, arbitrator concluded Union had failed to sustain its burden as to any of the three reclassifications sought, such that the employer’s offer was selected.
Village of Fox Point (Police Department)
Case 21 MIA-1557 Dec. No. 26869-A (Anderson, 10-04-91)
Union offer selected.
Sole Issue: Wages
The Association stressed that its willingness to lower the starting pay of a new patrol officer by $3,452 should be considered a quid pro quo for its offer, and argued that the wage rates proposed are more comparable with the North Shore communities of Bayside, Brown Deer, Glendale, River Falls, Shorewood and Whitefish Bay. While the Department of Public Works and the Fire Department employees accepted 3.8% increases, the firefighters’ settlement also provided for an increase in the accumulation of sick days and an increase in the number of days they can take when they retire, and no improvement in benefits was granted to police officers. The Association further noted that its vacation schedule was below the average of the North Shore communities, and there is no dental insurance or health insurance for retirees.
The Village argued that it offered identical wage increase to two other bargaining units which voluntarily agreed to accept 3.8% in each year, and that it has granted almost identical wage increases to all three units as far back as 1986. The Village stressed the importance of maintaining parity between police officers and firefighters. The Village rejected the notion that external comparables should be determinative, because the average patrolmen’s salaries have ranked either 5th, 6th or 7th among the seven North Shore communities noted above with the addition of Mequon. Under the Association’s offer, the officers would rank 4th, something they have not done in nine years.
The arbitrator concluded that the Association offer of 5.1% for each year, was more appropriate based on the external comparables, as it was closer to the average of comparable communities than that of the Village. The overall compensation of Village police officers is not at the average or better than average. The uniform allowance is less than the average, and all other North Shore communities except Bayside provide health insurance for retirees. Three other communities provide dental insurance, and Fox Point officers have a less desirable work schedule. The arbitrator gave serious consideration to the Village’s concern about internal comparables, and noted that the 3.8% cost of the firefighters settlement was not the actual cost when adding fringe benefits in sick leave and retirement which were not provided to police officers. The issue of police-fire parity can be addressed in future bargaining.
Tomah Area School District
Case 51 INT/ARB-5486 Dec. No. 26799-A (Krinsky, 10-14-91)
Employer offer selected.
The arbitrator initially concluded that the District was correct that the old athletic conference from which the District had recently moved should continue to be one of the comparables.
As to the parties’ family health insurance premium dispute, the arbitrator concluded that the Union had failed to establish a sufficient justification to alter the existing status quo payment level (80% or a bargained dollar amount, whichever is higher) to 90%.
As to the parties’ wage dispute, the arbitrator concluded that the additional 1% wage increase offer by the District was not a sufficient quid pro quo for the District’s two-tiered wage proposal based on date of hire.
The arbitrator reasoned that both parties have provided inadequate justification for their significant proposed changes of the status quo. His preference, therefore, would be to not implement either of the changes. That is not an option, however, because the statute requires the arbitrator to select one final offer in its entirety.
In the arbitrator’s judgment, there is more reason for him to maintain the health insurance arrangements and change the wage schedule, even with its controversial “back to start” provision, then there is to maintain the existing form of the wage schedule and change the existing health insurance language. In thus supporting the District’s position, the arbitrator also necessarily implements the additional one percent in wages to employees, the District’s quid pro quo, which softens the potentially adverse impact on employees of the District’s proposal.”
Plum City School District
Case 18 INT/ARB-5778 Dec. No. 26824-A (Kerkman, 10-17-91)
Union offer selected.
Three issues were in dispute: a limited subcontracting clause, wages and health insurance contributions in 1991-92.
The arbitrator concluded that the wage and health insurance contribution issues were so narrow that they did not determine the outcome of the dispute. The crucial issue was language proposed by the employer with respect to a modified subcontracting provision to be added to the Management Rights clause. Although the parties disagreed on the comparables, the arbitrator used the same comparables as in a prior arbitration Award in 1985 between the parties, noting that the right to subcontract had universal application to Districts outside the athletic conference.
The arbitrator rejected the Union’s argument that status quo could not be changed without a quid pro quo in favor of the principle that status quo could be changed if the proponent of the change establishes a compelling need for the change which it proposes.
The arbitrator found that the employer had customarily entered into subcontracting arrangements for certain services such as speech therapy, special education, TMR and educational services through a 66-30 agreement with other districts, psychological services and gifted/talented services. These practices conformed to the District’s proposal and the Association had no opposed these types of subcontracting. The District was seeking language for satellite/distance learning programs, i.e., two-way interactive television. The arbitrator found that this type of subcontracting fell into the same category as the other services already subcontracted by the employer. The arbitrator noted that the Association had no objection to the satellite/distance learning programs provided there would be no full or partial layoffs which position squared with the practice of the parties as it related to other subcontracting. The arbitrator concluded that the employer’s proposal failed to codify the practice insofar as protection from full or partial layoff as a result of the contracting out was not included in the proposal and this was a fatal flaw in the employer’s proposal. The arbitrator selected the Association’s final offer because it maintained the status quo and the status quo allowed the employer to subcontract out as it had done in the past and to establish the satellite/distance learning programs so long as it did not result in the full or partial layoff of members of the bargaining unit.
City of Rice Lake (Police Department)
Case 42 MIA-1544 Dec. No. 26836-A (Gundermann, 10-24-91)
Employer offer selected.
Initially the arbitrator rejected the City’s effort to expand the external comparables beyond those used in previous interest arbitration proceedings. He reasoned that absent compelling reasons, the parties are entitled to a degree of predictability in the arbitration process.
The two issues in dispute were wages and health insurance, with the parties agreeing that the insurance dispute was the most significant.
As to wages, the arbitrator concluded the internal comparables favored the City’s offer while the Union’s position was supported by the external comparable. The arbitrator decided to give greater weight to the internal comparables, particularly because the City offer did not diminish the employes’ wage standing vis-a-vis employes in comparable communities.
As to insurance, the existing contract specified a dollar employer contribution (which had been sufficient to cover the cost of the basic health plan and the least expensive HMO) and allowed the City to change carriers so long as substantially equivalent coverage was maintained. The arbitrator rejected the Union’s attempt to: (1) delete the dollar figure and substitute a requirement that the City pay the cost of the base health plan or the least expensive HMO, whichever is greater, and (2) limit the City’s ability to change carriers through a requirement that coverage and benefits not be reduced. In reaching this result, the arbitrator relied on internal comparables and bargaining history.
Given the foregoing, the City’s offer was selected.
Sauk County (Sheriff’s Department)
Case 93 MIA-1504 Dec. No. 26793-A (Kerkman, 10-31-91)
Union offer selected.
In addition to wages, the employer proposed a change in floater vacation selection to allow non float positions to use vacation even when floater was scheduled for vacation. The Union proposed to maintain the status quo.
The arbitrator found that internal comparable of wage increases to non represented employes in the Sheriff’s Department favored the Union’s offer and that other settlements in the County were inconclusive. On external comparable the arbitrator noted the parties did not dispute that Columbia County was the primary external comparable and that the wage rates there favored the employer’s offer, however, the arbitrator gave this a lesser weight because a change in work schedule gave law enforcement employes an additional 13 days off. The arbitrator concluded that on balance the Union offer was more preferred on wages. The arbitrator also found that the Columbia County comparable favored the Union position on wages for telecommunicators and that the employer position on Acting Shift Commander was reasonable on its face and therefore preferred. The arbitrator also found that the Union’s position was reasonable on the issue of vacation selection concluding that the wages, telecommunicator’s rate, and vacation issues the most significant, favored the Union and awarded the Union’s final offer in its entirety.
City of Rice Lake
Case 44 INT/ARB-5934 Dec. No. 26888-A (Krinsky, 11-04-91)
Employer offer selected.
This reopener is limited to the amount of the employers health insurance contribution.
The City seeks to have employes contribute $10.05 per month for family coverage and $3.00 per month for single coverage. The City argues that it has been striving for some years to obtain uniformity of health insurance arrangements with its bargaining units, that it has been largely successful in that three of the four other units have agreed to the City’s position here, and that internal comparables, as wall as comparisons with other public and private employers, supports its position.
The Union seeks to continue the status quo in which the City paid the full premium. It argues that a letter of agreement protects it from paying a contribution unless all other units pay, that what other City employes are paid is not relevant to this bargain, that when the City changed carriers in 1990, employes had to pay for some benefits which were previously covered, and that the City’s final offer penalizes the Union a second time because now employes will have to pay a part of the premiums.
The arbitrator found that in all 14 comparables, the premiums paid by the employers were greater that the amounts which the City proposed to pay for family coverage, and only one employer was paying a lower premium for single coverage. As the City was not in a disadvantaged position relevant to other municipal utilities with respect to health insurance payments, the arbitrator found that these comparables clearly favored the Union’s final offer to maintain full payment of premiums by the City.
The arbitrator also noted that three of the City’s four other bargaining units agreed to the City’s insurance contribution proposal, that the fourth unit was in arbitration over the issue, and that, therefore, the internal comparisons clearly favored the City’s final offer. The arbitrator found that comparisons with other units of government and private employment in the same and comparable communities also supported the City’s final offer.
The arbitrator determined the letter of agreement argues by the Union had no relevance to the dispute as its terms were for 1988 and 1989. The arbitrator opined that although arbitrators “normally will no disturb a consistent and long-standing pattern of bargaining unless there is compelling reason to do so, “this unit was a small one, that it was not the pattern-setter in past negotiations, that the City has largely succeeded in achieving uniformity of payment of health insurance contributions from its bargaining units and that “there is no compelling reason shown by the union which would justify there being a greater health insurance payment given to this bargaining unit than to the others which have reached voluntary settlement accepting what the City has offered.”
It was the arbitrator’s conclusion that the internal comparisons which favor the City and the City’s continuing efforts to establish and maintain a uniform approach to health insurance payments in its bargaining units which have been accepted by three of four units are entitled to greater weight that the external comparison with other municipal utilizes which clearly favor the Union’s final offer.
St. Croix Falls School District
Case 24 INT/ARB-5410 Dec. No. 26811-A (Flagler, 11-04-91)
Union offer selected.
This was an initial contract covering wages, wage adjustments, health insurance, and language items relating to employe discipline, vacancies and transfers, fair share, subcontracting, leaves of absence, and holidays. Other issues involved employe rights, the recognition clause, work schedules, vacation scheduling, personal business, and red-circling of dental insurance for a few employes. The arbitrator did not resolve these other issues, ruling that he could not find and “substantial differences between the parties…” on such matters. Hence, they are not further discussed herein.
The Union mainly argued “catch up”, and claimed that the support staff employes were underpaid when compared to other comparable school districts and that certain classifications deserved an additional wage increase. The employer maintained that its 15% wage offer was adequate given the area’s relatively poor economy and when compared to other comparables involving the private and other municipal sectors, as well as other school districts.
The arbitrator accepted other school districts for the proper comparables and rejected the employer’s difficulty to pay claim. He found that both wage offers had their “merits and flaws” and ultimately ruled that “the positions represent a highly mixed bag where the District scores well on the bases wage schedule format and progression, while the Union has the better of the case on almost every special pay adjustment issue.” He therefore did not select one wage offer over the other.
Both parties agreed that the employer should pay for the full monthly family and single insurance premiums before July 1, 1990, for all full-time employes working 12 months, and that the employer thereafter would pay 95 percent for family coverage and 100 percent for single coverage for said employes.
The parties differed on the question of prorated benefits for employes working more than 20 hours. The Union wanted to use 1350 hours as the base figure upon which they were to be computed, while the employer wanted them based upon 2080 hours.
The arbitrator found for the Union because its proposal was supported by comparable school districts.
The Union proposed a standard just cause provision covering all forms of discipline and any reduction in rank.
The District’s just cause language was limited to discharge and suspension.
The arbitrator found for the Union because its language followed “the more common features of disciplinary courses found among comparables school districts.”
Vacancies and Transfers:
The Union proposed that qualified substitute bus drivers automatically become full-time employes with full transfer rights if any openings occur after six months.
The District proposed that substitute bus drivers not be given automatic regular status after six months’ employment.
The arbitrator found for the District’s position because it provided “reasonable flexibility to accommodate indeterminate circumstances.”
The Union wanted it; the District opposed it.
The arbitrator found for the Union reasoning that “all beneficiaries of the fruits of the bargain must contribute to the costs of achieving the labor contract.”
The Union’s subcontracting proposal permitted it provided that it did not cause the layoff of any current bargaining unit employes.
The employer’s subcontracting proposal only protected against layoff those employes who might be able to claim such action was based on anti-union considerations.
The arbitrator found for the employer even though “Neither position has any great appeal…”
Leaves of Absence:
The Union wanted emergency, funeral, family, and business leave, along with extended medical leave, just like the employer’s other personal teaching personnel.
The District opposed medical leave because the teacher’s contract “has caused administrative problems” and opposed other forms of leave on the ground that the support staff should try to get it in successive contracts.
The arbitrator found for the Union on all points.
The Union proposed that employes be given Good Friday as a holiday.
The District proposed that Memorial Day instead be a holiday, per past practice.
The arbitrator found for the District because the support staff’s holidays should be the same as the teachers’.
Based on the above the arbitrator selected the Union’s final offer.
Monroe School District
Case 14 INT/ARB-5799 Dec. No. 26896-A (Stern, 11-12-91)
Union offer selected.
In this initial contract the parties disputed fair share, vacation, health and dental benefits and contract continuation. Wages were only marginally disputed, and the arbitrator decided the difference between the wage offers was inconsequential.
The District argued for a list of comparables hinging on contiguous districts; the arbitrator rejected these as too small compared to Monroe, adopting the Association’s argument in favor of the athletic conference. The wage offers of both parties were determined to place the educational assistants close to the median of that group by the third year.
The District proposed fair share with a referendum; the Association, without a referendum but excluding current employes working less than 600 hours per year. The arbitrator preferred the Union’s proposal on both points of difference, saying that the Association’s proposal amounted to a modified form of grandfathers, while ordering a referendum might “contribute to unrest”.
On the duration clause the arbitrator preferred the Association’s “contract continues till a new one is signed” proposal, since it was similar to language already in effect in the teacher unit.
The arbitrator found that the overriding issue was health insurance, and specifically the fact that the District proposed to reduce its health insurance contribution substantially for current part-time employes. 24 of the 58 part-time employes, under the District’s proposal, would see their annual out-of-pocket family insurance cost jump from $411.96 to $1719.43. 34 others would incur lesser increases. The difference in health proposal was costed at $32,308 compared to $6,177 for all other items put together, and the arbitrator concluded that despite the District’s showing that its proposal was more similar to comparables’ practices, this was a “take back” that was acceptable only if it grandfathers current employes. The District’s failure to include grandfathers of this reduction in benefits thus resulted in an award in the Association’s favor.
Lake Geneva Joint School District No. 1
Case 15 INT/ARB-5735 Dec. No. 26825-A (Stern, 11-13-91)
Union offer selected.
Parties were in agreement about first year wages of custodians and 10 cents apart in second year. While the parties were 15 cents and 20 cents per hour apart in each year for cleaning persons, the Arbitrator made no finding on the wage issue because it was clear that the major issue was the question of prorating the employer health insurance contribution for part-time employees.
The District argued that internal comparisons should take precedence over external comparisons and claimed that there is a pattern of pro-rating the Board contribution of health insurance for part-time employees.
The arbitrator noted that neither the teachers nor the aides and secretaries agreed to prorate health insurance benefits for part-timers, and, excluding administrators, only the cooks — few in number and not organized — have a pro-rated insurance benefit. A grievance arbitrator recently found that pro-rating was not a past practice for teachers and that teachers working more than 50% less than full time should receive full contribution. Secretaries and aides were seeking their first contract and were currently in arbitration, and if the Association prevailed in that case, part-time employees will receive full benefits.
While the external comparables tend to favor the District’s position, the arbitrator based his decision on the internal comparables, and concluded that since none of the District’s employees agreed in negotiations to pro-rating benefits, the Association’s offer was preferred. The arbitrator noted that if and when the teachers agree to pro-rated insurance contributions for part-time teachers, it would be appropriate to apply the same standard to the employer’s smaller units.
Ladysmith-Hawkins School District
Case 24 INT/ARB-5856 Dec. No. 26897-A (Yaffe, 11-15-91)
Union offer selected.
Numerous items in dispute: Wages, as noted above; health insurance (Union proposed continuation of status quo 100% employer payment, while District proposed 5% employe premium sharing); inclement weather days (District proposed reduction from five to two); health coverage (District proposed allowing it to change carriers, providing provision of substantially equivalent or better benefits); various changes affecting assignments, vacancies and transfers; and layoffs (District proposed layoffs by classification rather than department, change in June 1 notification deadline to thirty days, change in unlimited recall to one year recall rights, change in seniority from date of hire to date of appointment in classification).
“The undersigned is persuaded that the record demonstrates that based upon the District’s legitimate desire to achieve a uniform policy in this regard, there is a demonstrated need for the type of cost sharing that it has proposed. Furthermore, though the undersigned is not persuaded that cost sharing of premiums is necessarily best way to go to achieve meaningful savings in this area, it cannot be said that such an approach does not reasonable address the District’s needs in this regard. Thirdly, it would appear that there is a relatively clear trend among the District’s comparables supporting the District’s cost sharing efforts on this issue.”
The determination that the District’s proposal was meritorious on its face was subject, however, to consideration of whether the District offered a reasonable quid pro quo. The arbitrator found that while the cooks were offered such a proposal, the rest of the bargaining unit was not, in as much as the District’s unit of teachers was offered the quid pro quo of an early retirement benefit, which this unit was not. The arbitrator also found that the District had failed to commit itself to implementing a Section 125 plan, and had proposed significantly reducing job security. “The undersigned is of the opinion that the District has not offered a reasonable quid pro quo for the otherwise meritorious changes it is seeking, and therefore, the undersigned is of the opinion that the Association’s position on these issues is more reasonable than the District’s.”
The arbitrator, noting that the District did not have the right to change carriers under the teacher’s contract, and finding that the District had not demonstrated need for such a change, found the Association’s offer in this regard more reasonable.
Although he found that the District’s inclement weather proposal was “not supported by demonstrated need,” the arbitrator found that it did “represent a reasonable approach to being the District into line with the practice in comparable districts,” and that it had made “what appears to be a fair and reasonable quid pro quo in the form of premium pay for work performed on such days.”
The District’s proposal to determine employe transfer, promotion and layoff by classification rather than department addressed a legitimate concern, the arbitrator felt, but if fell short because it failed to provide priority consideration to qualified current employes. “This problem is particularly evident… since current employes have such rights, and the District has offered nothing reflecting any willingness to continue giving current employes priority consideration,” the arbitrator observed. “While it is understandable that the District may wish to select the most qualified individual to fill a vacancy, it cannot reasonable expect to take away rights employes currently have in this regard without offering a meaningful and relevant quid pro quo in exchange.” On the other hand, the Association failed to five adequate recognition of the District’s legitimate need to fill positions with qualified individuals, instead requiring that employes be given a 30-day trial period in positions for which they may not be qualified. Even though the Association was proposing continuation of the status quo, the arbitrator found the Association’s position “simply no reasonable.” Determining that “neither party’s position … is particularly reasonable,” the arbitrator therefore concluded that this item should not receive significant weight in deciding this case.
The arbitrator also found, as regards the issue of whether layoffs should be by classification or department, that “again, neither party has taken the conventional and reasonable approach.” Again, the arbitrator declined to give this issue significant weight.
Accordingly, “even though the Association’s position on several issues, particularly with respect to layoff, transfer and promotion are not particularly meritorious or reasonable,” the arbitrator ordered the incorporation of the Association’s final offer into the parties’ 1990-1992 collective bargaining agreement.
Plymouth School District
Case 41 INT/ARB-5766 Dec. No. 26838-A (Weisberger, 11-22-91)
Union offer selected.
There were three issues in dispute: wages, health insurance and the employer’s contribution to WRS. With regard to wages, each side proposed a 4.5 general increase in wages, while the employer also proposed an extra .10 cents per hour over and above the general increase. With regard to health insurance, the employer proposed that employes pay 5% of the health insurance premium, while the Union proposed that the employer pay all (100%) of the employe’s health insurance premium. Prior to the instant arbitration, the status quo was that the employer paid all (100%) of the employe’s health insurance premium. With regard to the WRS contribution issue, the Union proposed that the Employer pay the full employe contribution of 6.1%, while the employer proposed that it continue to pay the previous contractual rate of 6.0%. Of these issues, the primary ones were health insurance and wages, with the WRS contribution rate being secondary.
The employer argued that its position on insurance requiring a 5% employe contribution was appropriate as a cost containment strategy and was also supported by the external comparables. As a buy-out for the proposed insurance change, the employer offered an additional .10 cents per hour increase over and above its 4.5% wage offer.
The Union argued that there was no proof supporting the employer’s cost containment argument, that the external and internal comparables supported the Union’s position and that the employer’s offer did not contain an appropriate quid pro quo.
The arbitrator decided to maintain the status quo as to the employer payment of health insurance premiums because the employer failed to prove the interrelationship between a 5% employe contribution and cost containment; because the external comparables did not provide clear-cut data while the internal comparable of the teachers’ bargaining unit (wherein the employer paid 100% of the insurance premiums) merited substantial weight; because comparable wage and total compensation data were not accompanied by evidence on the comparability of job duties and responsibilities; and because of the lack of an adequate quid pro quo by the employer to justify the purchase of a history of 100% employer health insurance premium contributions. She therefore found for the Union.
City of Janesville
Case 56 MIA-1568 Dec. No. 26965-A (Stern, 12-04-91)
Employer offer selected.
Issues: In addition to duration and wages, issues in dispute were:
1. The employer proposed employes pay $10 per month for family and $5 per month for single health insurance coverage. The Union proposed continuation of the status quo in which the employer pays the full premium.
2. The employer proposed that the Advantage Cost Containment Program be implemented. The Union proposed no change.
3. The employer proposed that the $2 deductible for drugs be increased to $6 for generic drugs and $10 for brand name drugs. The Union proposed no change.
4. The employer proposed that medical examinations be conducted by an employer designed doctor at two local clinics. The Union proposed no change to the agreement which allows employes to choose the doctor to conduct the medical examination.
The Union argues that none of the comparables have one year agreements and that the parties have a history of two year contracts and that its offer on the health insurance issues fits the pattern found among the external comparables.
The employer argues that its wage offer is identical to the settlements with its other units and that its offer in regard to the health insurance issues fits the pattern of its other units.
Although neither offer failed to meet the statutory criteria, the arbitrator believed that the employer offer was preferable, mainly because its proposal that employes pay a small portion of the health insurance premium is one which has been agreed to in bargaining by all of the other units of the employer and is one which is being tried by many employers in the public and private sector in their attempts to dampen rapidly rising health care costs.
The arbitrator expressed his views that the employer and Union proposals on the other issues and found that the difference on the other issues were not sufficient to change his stated preference for the employer offer. The arbitrator also noted that selection of the employer offer of an agreement ending at the month of the Award put the parties back into negotiations now, thereby offering the Union an immediate opportunity to correct what it considers to be faulty arbitral judgment.
Fond du Lac County (Department of Social Services)
Case 121 INT/ARB-5897 Dec. No. 26917-A (Oestreicher, 12-09-91)
Employer offer selected.
The Union urged that the most appropriate comparison on wages is between the clerical/technical bargaining unit employes here and unrepresented clerical/technical employes of the employer, the employer having previously raised its unrepresented employes in similar positions by up to 29%, pursuant to a 1990 management consultant study of those non-represented positions.
The employer argued that there was no historical pattern to support a comparison between unit employes and the employer’s unrepresented clerical/technical employes and that most of the unrepresented employes had not received large increases and some had been red-circled, pursuant to the management study, contrary to the Union’s claim.
The arbitrator noted that neither party presented total wage cost or package cost information on their offers. He observed that the Union had taken on a very heavy burden to show that nonrepresented positions were in fact comparable to unit positions. The arbitrator noted that most witnesses who testified on these points for the Union had a stake in the outcome of the case. The arbitrator also stated that the employer’s offer was in line with the external comparables.
The arbitrator ruled in favor of the employer. He reasoned as follows: nonrepresented Children’s Services Employees. The County presented evidence that the reason for wage disparity is that the nonrepresented employee positions require more discretionary action than the social services positions involved in this case.
This arbitrator is compelled to conclude that there are reasons that this disparity in wage treatment between employees doing similar type of work has existed. Those disparities have been recognized in former negotiations between these parties. The Union has not met the burden it assumed to justify its exceptionally high average wage offer in this proceeding. For that reason the offer of Fond du Lac County shall be incorporated into the 1991-92 agreement between these parties.
Fond du Lac County (Department of Social Services)
Case 116 INT/ARB-5852 Dec. No. 26924-A (Kessler, 12-13-91)
Employer offer selected.
The arbitrator rejected the inclusion of Green Lake and Calumet Counties among the employer’s external comparables, finding Outagamie, Winnebago, Sheboygan, Washington, Manitowoc and Dodge Counties to be the appropriate comparables.
On the health insurance issue, the arbitrator noted that both parties are seeking significant changes in insurance — from a flat dollar contribution to a percentage contribution (ER-90%, U-100%). In the circumstances, the arbitrator held that the Union’s proposed change was more drastic than the employer’s proposed change, given the 18-year history of bargaining during all of which employes paid part of their insurance premiums. Thus, the employer’s offer on insurance was preferred on this issue.
Regarding wages, the arbitrator held that the Union’s offer was to be preferred because it was closer to the average of the external comparables and to the cost of living (5.2% 1991).
On the question of the maximum number of social worker positions, the arbitrator noted that only two of the external comparables have such a cap. The arbitrator stated that the law “does not mandate a comparison of the number of jobs in a classification. That appears to be entirely a prerogative of management. . . .” The arbitrator held that to delete the cap on the number of Social Worker position was a structural change and he therefore preferred the employer’s offer on this point.
The arbitrator selected the employer’s offer.
Jefferson School District
Case 25 INT/ARB-5734 Dec. No. 26877-A (Slavney, 12-16-91)
Employer offer selected.
The Association proposed that the comparables should be the Southern Lakes Athletic Conference (SLAC) of Badger High School, Burlington, Central-Salem, Delavan-Darien, East Troy, Elkhorn, Milton, Union Grove High School, Waterford High School, Whitewater, and Wilmot High School. The District would exclude districts in the eastern half of the SLAC and include the SLAC districts of Delavan-Darien, East Troy, Elkhorn, Milton, Whitewater, and the non-SLAC districts of Fort Atkinson and Palmyra-Eagle. The arbitrator excluded K-8 and 9-12 districts and found the following K-12 districts most comparable: Burlington, Delavan-Darien, East Troy, Elkhorn, Fort Atkinson, Milton, Palmyra Eagle, and Whitewater.
The Association proposed one day of sick leave per year to be used for personal business. The Association argued that the District has abused its discretion in exercising its authority to give teachers time off, and the District argued the Association’s proposal was not needed and failed to offer proper restrictions. The arbitrator found in favor of the District on this issue, noting that in 1990-91, teachers were granted “emergency days” off on 24 occasions, and that the Association’s proposal lacked language limiting the number of teachers who could take leave on any given day.
The arbitrator preferred the Association’s offer on dental insurance, where the Association proposed that the District pick up the full amount of the premium up to January 1, 1992, when the parties would split the increase. Six of eight comparables paid the full premium, most with greater amounts than here. The arbitrator favored the District’s position on the WRS contribution, where the Association made no change from the 6% contribution and the District proposed picking up the additional .1% increase.
A previous tentative agreement regarding pay for loss of preparation time was properly before the arbitrator where the District had withdrawn its tentative agreement before the filing of the final offers. Both parties proposed to increase the amount of pa, but the Association wanted to extend the pay to elementary teachers. The arbitrator favored the District’s position because of ambiguity in the Association’s proposal. The arbitrator found both parties’ proposals for language in a zipper clause to be improvements over the current language.
For the first year salaries, both parties’ offers would generate an increase, both dollar wise and percentage wise, which would exceed the average salary increase granted by the eight comparable districts, with the District’s offer being closer to the averages. Average teacher increase data was available from only three of the eight districts for the second year, and the Association’s offer was closer in dollars to the three districts. The arbitrator considered total package costs to be significant and noted that the District’s offer was closer percentage wise to the eight district average than the Association’s for the first year, and closer to the three district averages in the second year. The District’s offer generated increases closer to the CPI. The arbitrator concluded that the District’s offer was more reasonable.
Menomonee Falls School District
Case 56 INT/ARB-5736 Dec. No. 26916-A (Anderson, 12-16-91)
Employer offer selected.
The Union sought to maintain the status quo by having the employer continue to pay 100% of the health insurance premiums expressed in dollar amounts for both full-time and part-time employes. The employer sought to pay 94% of the full premium for health insurance for full-time employes. For part-time employes the employer sought a contribution of $15/month on family and $7.50 on single health insurance in the first year of the contract and $18/month and $9/month in the second year of the contract. The employer offered a Section 125 plan for premium payments. The employer argued that since all of the other employes, represented and non-represented, pay 6% of the health insurance premium, the employer’s offer was justified. The employer further argued that its offer was justified given the escalating costs of insurance and the fact that external comparables do not pay 100% of the premium for part-time employes. The Union, relying upon a prior interest arbitration award between the parties, argued that the employer did not establish compelling and special circumstances to support a change in status quo and that external comparables did not have any kind of employe contribution. Relying upon internal comparables, the arbitrator selected the employer’s offer. Noting that 1/3 of the unit were part-time employes, the arbitrator concluded that the external comparables did not support the continuance of the payment of 100% of the premium for part-time employes. Noting that the take home pay would be greater under the employer’s offer, the arbitrator concluded that the employer had offered a sufficient quid pro quo for the change.
Brown County (Mental Health Center)
Case 454 INT/ARB-5950 Dec. No. 26867-A (Baron, 12-20-91)
Employer offer selected.
In addition to wages, the employer proposed the following changes in Health insurance.
1) New hires to be eligible for insurance coverage on the 1st of the month following 30 days of employment.
2) Chiropractic care: effective 1992, $100 deductible per calendar year, up to 3 family members per year.
The parties disagreed over the comparables, the Union arguing that Dane, Calumet, Racine and Polk Counties should be included in a group of comparables which arbitrator Fleischli in 1983 (Fond du Lac, Manitowoc, Outagamie, Sheboygan, Washington, and Winnebago). The employer urged that absent strong countervailing factors suggesting that Fleischli’s comparables are inappropriate, the great distance and differing populations of the three counties proposed by the Union should render those counties inappropriate.
The arbitrator held that the Fleischli comparables remained appropriate but she added to the list for this case: Calumet County was added to the list of comparables due to its proximity to the employer county, and due to its rendering the same type of services at a similar facility in its jurisdiction (despite the disparity in population) between Calumet and the employer county. Having found no proof of a labor market nexus and noting the great distance from the employer county and population disparities, the arbitrator held that Rock, Racine and Dane counties were not comparable to the employer County.
Regarding the LPN wage issue, the arbitrator noted that the parties have stipulated to an ATB wage increase of 4% in 1991 and 4% in 1992. With the LPN adjustment proposed by the Union here, the arbitrator noted, the employer’s offer is closer to the average of the comparable counties than is the Union’s offer and the employer’s offer was held to be the more reasonable offer on this point. The arbitrator indicated her unwillingness to place much weight on internal comparables because “they ignore the special essence of each bargaining unit”
In regard to the retention bonus, a new benefit for this unit, the arbitrator was not persuaded that the employer had experienced difficulty in retaining LPN’s as the Union had urged. Rather, the arbitrator held that the Union had failed to meet its burden of proof regarding a need for this new benefit on the face of evidence that none of the comparable counties provide such a benefit and that State Division of Health statistics show employer’s retention to be 100% for full-time LPN’s and 89% for part-time LPN’s, far better than the statewide statistics.
Regarding the on-call employes wage progression, the Union urged that the employer has no on-call employes because it pays them no fringe benefits, gives them no regular hours and has paid them at the start rate for LPN’s. The Union urged that on-call employes are necessary so that regular LPN’s can take vacations or be absent when necessary and that paying them at the 90-day rate upon their completion of 1040 hours work and at the 6 month rate upon their completion of 200 hours work would be fair, would allow the employer to retain them and it would have little economic impact on the employer. The employer resisted this structural salary charge for which no quid pro quo had been offered by the Union. The arbitrator was persuaded by the employer’s arguments on this issue and noted that the Union had provided no evidence to support a need for additional on-call wages but rather that the evidence had shown that it was the lack of fringe benefits which made it difficult for the employer to retain on-call employes.
The employer’s offer to change the eligibility date for insurance for new hires and to add a $100/$300 chiropractic deductible in 1992, was preferred by the arbitrator despite the lack of a quid pro quo for these changes in benefits. On this point, the arbitrator observed that the employer had proven that both external and its internal comparables supported these changes and that the employer had experienced insurance cost increases “significantly higher than those of the comparables” in 1990 and 1991 and (projected) for 1992.
In sum, having favored the status quo over the three changes proposed by the Union’s final offer and having preferred the employer’s final offer on the two insurance issues it proposed, the arbitrator held the employer’s offer was the more reasonable.
Gilman School District
Case 19 INT/ARB-5701 Dec. No. 26973-A (Zeidler, 12-21-91)
Employer offer selected.
In dispute were wages, extracurricular salaries, insurance, calendar, “fair dismissal”, evaluation, layoff and recall, distance learning and work stoppages.
The parties disputed the comparables — both used the athletic conference, but the District excepted Altoona and Mosinee. The arbitrator agreed with the District, finding those two districts both remote from the District and primarily industrial as opposed to agricultural in economic base.
On wages the Association offer was found more comparable in its effect of closing a wage gap that had left Gilman “very low” in 1989-90. The arbitrator noted that “Gilman has a substantial problem of catching up, especially at the higher steps in the higher lanes.” Similarly, the Association’s offer on extracurricular salaries was also found more comparable.
On health insurance, however, the Board offer was deemed more comparable despite the fact that some comparables paid $100% rather than the 90% employer contribution featured in both parties’ offers. The Association offer improved benefits, particularly for part-time teachers, thus adding to what already appeared to be the most expensive plan among the comparables.
The Association’s proposal on calendar, calling for mutual agreement to make up a snow day, was found not comparable.
“Fair dismissal”, i.e. probationary period language, was found to favor the Board’s proposal, essentially because the Association’s language would extend the right to grieve a nonrenewal to probationary teachers, which comparables did not favor. Evaluation proposals, however, favored the Association’s position because despite “cumbersome detail” it was not only more comparable but “more reasonable in meeting the right of an individual to know when unfavorable matter is being lodged against that individual.” On layoff language the Association offer was again preferred as more comparable and as allowing the District “a very large escape clause” from strict seniority, by allowing the District to retain those teachers certifiable to teach the curriculum.
The Association’s distance learning proposal, which had no Board counterpart, was found to lack any comparable, and the District’s silence was preferred. But the Association was preferred to its proposal to delete a work stoppage clause, again in view of the paucity of comparable provisions.
The arbitrator found that the interest and welfare of the public were better served by the Board’s proposal, partly on account of the relatively agricultural economic base of the District but mainly because the District’s relatively expensive health insurance package outweighed its relatively low salaries. In weighing the offers overall, the arbitrator gave primary importance to the overall package cost, and found for the District on that basis.
Dane County (Sheriff’s Department)
Case 132 MIA-1546 Dec. No. 26868-A (Tyson, 01-12-92)
Employer offer selected.
This was a limited reopener in the parties’ calendar 1990-91 agreement regarding the Employer’s contributions for health and dental insurance for calendar 1991.
Employer offered to increase single and family health premiums by $30 per month, to $130.29 and $305.00 at an estimated annual cost of $509,911.44. Union proposed Employer pay “full” single plan premium of $130.00 and the lesser of $323.34 or 96.5% of the family plan premium. The existing contractual language provided for County payments up to fixed dollar amounts.
Union relies primarily on external public sector comparable employer’s health insurance premium contributions, focusing primarily on the 9 other most populous counties excluding Milwaukee, plus City of Madison. Employer’s premium costs for family plan would increase by 10.9% compared with 18.75% average among those comparables and 17.6% under Union’s offer; Union’s offer would move Employer’s costs closer to the comparables’ average than Employer’s offer would. 9 of the 10 comparables have no employee single plan contribution and 9 of the 10 have a lower contribution level than that provided for in the Employer offer. Union rejects Employer reliance on internal comparability on grounds that this is a different bargaining unit than the others and that the Employer granted its nurses’ unit a nonpattern increase in vacation.
Employer relies on internal comparables, all of which have the same insurance provision as Employer is proposing in its offer. Employer argues that Union offer exceeds various private sector Employers’ insurance arrangements, as well. Union seeks change in status quo both by breaking from pattern language and by breaking from pattern dollar caps, both without demonstrating a need for the change or proposing a quid pro quo. When total compensation is computed rather than base salary alone, Employer pays more per hour than any of the other nine comparable counties.
Arbitrator finds weight of authority supports Employer’s concern that arbitrator’s failure to maintain the existing internal pattern may likely chill future negotiations with other units. Fact that Employer has agreed to pay this unit a 3%/2.5% split raise compared with 4% in other internal units further favors employer’s offer. While Employer’s offer provides insurance less costly than nearly all comparables and increasing at a somewhat lower percentage, it is not clear that the plan benefits in Dane County are proportionally less desirable than those of the comparables. Moreover, the County’s wage offer exceeds the comparables average sufficiently to both “buy out” the increased employe health insurance contributions and “still narrow the gap between Dane County Deputies and the comparables by $15.64/mo. Finally, Employer’s uncontroverted data comparing total package compensation and increases casts doubt on whether overall consideration of external comparables favors Union offer after all. Employer’s private sector data provides some further support, as well.
Wilmot Grade School District
Case 15 INT/ARB-5809 Dec. No. 26861-A (Yaffe, 12-19-91)
Employer offer selected.
There were numerous issues in addition to salary. The Union sought and the District opposed: changes in salary structure from a 4%x2% 12 step 12 lane to a 4%x4% matrix with several fewer steps; initial inclusion of a dues deduction provision and revision of the existing fair share language; defining limited term employes and guaranteeing them contract salary and benefits; specifying the form of individual teacher contracts; adding authorization of Association initiation of grievances; adding personnel files provisions excluding anonymous communications and providing notice of derogatory materials; deleting language providing for the parties to jointly work out a merit pay plan; changing insurance carrier selection standard from “equivalent” to “equal”; adding summaries of the insurance benefit plans to the Agreement; deleting payments for unused sick leave at retirement and adding retirement stipends in the amount of $100 times years taught, plus three years of paid health insurance for those retiring with 10 years of service and WRS annuity eligibility; adding language extending, if lawful, laid off employes’ recall rights by two years and the Agreement term by three years and providing reopening for bargaining about severance pay for affected employes, all in the event of operations or other reorganization; conversion of two days from days from pupil contact to half pupil contact and half teacher workdays in 1991-92; and continuation of 26 installment paycheck schedule rather than delaying the first paycheck of the year until the Friday of the first week of work in the school year.
Arbitrator refuses to limit comparables to other K-8 Districts; instead, establishes comparables pool consisting of teacher units in the eastern half of the Southern Lakes Athletic Conference to attain geographic proximity, common athletic conference, K-8, K-12 and High School only districts, and 24 or 25 1990-91 settlements and 11 or 12 1991-92 settlements.
Arbitrator selects Employer offer, concluding, “Though the Association has persuasively demonstrated that there is a need for change in the status quo on many significant issues in the District, including, most importantly, salaries . . . its proposals for change are frequently not well designed to address the problems it has identified. . . . because the Board’s salary proposal has been deemed to be more reasonable than the Association’s and because the Association’s proposals for change regarding indemnification in fair share disputes, the standard for charging insurance benefits, retirement benefits, and the school calendar have been deemed to be less reasonable than the Board’s status quo position on these issues . . . the Board’s overall proposal is more reasonable than the Association’s.
City of Oconomowoc (Police Department)
Case 54 MIA-1589 Dec. No. 26938-A (McAlpin, 01-13-92)
Employer offer selected.
Wages was the sole issue.
Union believes its offer is supported by the CPI and its external comparables and the internal comparables should be given no weight.
Employer relies on the same external comparables which were relied on in 1979 in a prior award and which are within a 30 mile radius, excluding metro Milwaukee. The internal comparables support its offer.
The arbitrator relied on the external comparables which both parties’ listed and excluded those which were on only one list, because there has been substantial change in the employer’s status since 1979. The internal comparables are relevant, although not the primary factor to the case. Both external and internal comparables support the employer’s offer.
Village of Sturtevant (Police Department)
Case 14 MIA-1554 Dec. No. 26980-A (Krinsky, 01-23-92)
Wages 5% each year. Begin 5% employee health insurance contribution effective in second year, with IRS Sec. 125 plan. Increase Village deferred compensation contributions from $160 to $180 effective in first year.
Glenwood City School District
Case 18 INT/ARB-5975 Dec. No. 26944-A (Zeidler, 01-30-92)
Employer offer selected.
District has a unique type of schedule for its support staff, with 14 steps in the Association’s proposal and 13 under the District’s offer. In most districts, there are fewer steps and the maximums are reached sooner. The Association argued that the bargaining history supports its offer, as it was the intent of the parties when they entered into this wage schedule with extended steps that everyone in the schedule would receive a fair increase, with a minimum that would meet the cost of living. The cost of the incremental steps has decreased since employees have moved through the schedule. The District argued that its offer of a 1.5% increase plus increment provide more than 5% increases for most of the unit members, and that the Association’s offer of 4% discounts the value of the increments and results in excessive increases. The District contended that past history shows that wage increases were dependent primarily on the cost of the increments built into the schedule.
Settlements for support staffs in comparable districts were around 4-5% average, not including increment costs, if any. The arbitrator found that absent a clear showing of need for a catch-up, reliance would be placed on a comparison of total wage increases. The District’s increase more nearly meets the terms of comparability. While the District’s increase more nearly meets the terms of comparability. While the District gave 8.2% to another internal group, bus drivers, the arbitrator looked at this increase as an average of 4.1% increase bus drivers received no raise in 1990-91. Comparisons with external groups show that the District minimums are substantially below the external comparables and generally favors the Association offer because of the length of time it takes employees to reach the maximum.
The arbitrator noted that comparison to changes in the CPI bring up the question of whether comparisons should be made on total package costs or on wage changes only, and decided that comparison should be made between total costs, since total package costs reflect the total actual benefits received by bargaining unit members. The District’s offer was more comparable to the CPI criterion.
The arbitrator concluded that the heaviest weight given to various factors relate to total wage comparability, external wage comparability, and comparability to changes in the cost of living. The factors of total wage comparability and cost of living favored the District; the factor of external employee comparability favored the Association. The arbitrator ruled in favor of the District.
Norwalk-Ontario School District
Case 5 INT/ARB-6044 Dec. No. 27084-A (Malamud, 02-05-92)
The arbitrator issued a consent award providing for a 5%/cell wage increase in each year. On health insurance the arbitrator established maximum employer premium contributions stated in dollar amounts for the 1991-92 school year and for the 1992-93 school year stated the employer contribution toward premium at 6% for single and family and provided a reopener if the family premium increased beyond 20% of the prior year premium with the excess of 20% being shared equally between the employer and employee pending negotiations under the reopener.
Lake Geneva Joint School District No. 1
Case 14 INT/ARB-5721 Dec. No. 26826-A (Vernon, 02-05-92)
Union offer selected.
A number of issues for an initial contract were in dispute, including the recognition clause, seniority and layoffs, unpaid leave, personal leave, funeral leave, jury duty, school closings, zipper clause, and retired employees insurance. However, the major issues were insurance and wages. The arbitrator noted that even if he accepted, for sake of argument, the employer’s comparable group and gave full weight to non-unionized employees, wage rates under the District’s proposal were significantly less than they were elsewhere, particularly for secretaries. If the employer’s offer were accepted, the hourly rate for secretaries would be $1.52 less than the average by the end of the contract. Also the employer’s offer distributes the money differently, in many cases to less senior employees. The arbitrator found the Association’s offer on wages more reasonable in that it brings the employees closer to the norm, but objected to the Association’s offer where it did not standardize wages within classifications.
The Association proposed that the District pay the full premium of dental and health insurance, while the District proposed to pro-rate insurance for employes working less than 1,800 per year. The District argued that internal and external comparables supported its proposal. The arbitrator noted that another arbitrator rejected the District’s 1,800 hour threshold for full-time benefits and its pro-ration formula and noted that
the teachers were the pattern setters on insurance. While many of the external comparables have pro-rated health insurance for part-time employees, the threshold level of total hours worked is radically different than the District’s. The District’s offer would eventually result in all employees being considered part-time for purpose of insurance. An employee who works the whole school day for the whole school year is not a part-time employee, and bargaining unit employees make a full-time commitment during the school year. The arbitrator noted that other districts recognize this by having full-time benefits threshold at levels substantially less than the 1,800 hours proposed by the District. The arbitrator found that the Association’s proposal to be more reasonable, especially considering the substandard wage rates.
Door County (Highway Department)
Case 71 INT/ARB-5930 Dec. No. 26946-A (Zeidler, 02-06-92)
Union offer selected.
Disputed issues were wages and whether employe contributions to family plan insurance should be changed from 10% to 15% effective 7-1-91.
Comparables were disputed. Arbitrator considers four agreed-upon Counties plus Brown as primary comparables; treats Shawano and Waupaca Counties as secondary comparables.
Union proposes 44 cent general wage increase in 1991 and a 35/24 cent January/July split in 1992, which maintains rank among comparables. The Union acknowledges the Employer’s quid pro quo, but argues it is not something its membership has to accept. Employer proposes 52 cents for 1991 and 58 cents for 1992. Employer asserts its wage offer, which exceeds Union’s, constitutes a valid quid pro quo for its proposed increase i family plan employe health insurance contribution, since it substantially exceeds all comparable settlements and makes these employes first or among the highest paid among the comparables. Employer criticizes Union’s second year split as inappropriate for a comparatively highly paid employe group. Employer also relies on Union bargaining committee’s having tentatively agreed to Employer’s offer prior to a membership ratification turndown.
Arbitrator considers Union’s split raise unjustified, but not fatal. While health costs are rising, the County could have and can avoided shortfalls in its self-funded plan by increasing the overall monthly premium and hence increased the amount produced by the 10 employe contributions, a method the County should utilize before attempting to change an existing pattern in a way not supported by internal or external comparables. The County has thus not proved a compelling need to make a change. Since the employes do not wish to make the trade offered by the employer, the arbitrator is hesitant to do so.
The rejected tentative agreement should not be given weight sufficient to decide the issue. “The principals in negotiations retain the right to reject what the bargaining teams may recommend, or agree to. Thus in this case the arbitrator is weighing all the various statutory factors imposed on an arbitrator for the outcome rather than finding the terms of the tentative agreement determinative of the outcome.
On balance, because the Union’s offer costs less, it better favors the interests and welfare of the public. That, combined with the considerations favoring the Union’s health insurance proposal overcomes the fact that the County’s offer would provide the employes on average with $300 more over the term of the agreement. Accordingly, the Union’s offer is selected.
City of Cudahy
Case 67 INT/ARB-5814 Dec. No. 26936-A (Slavney, 02-10-92)
Union offer selected.
This bargain related exclusively to full-time and part-time police department dispatchers accreted on 1-5-90 to an existing multi-department unit with a calendar 1989-91 agreement in effect, as regards the period from date of accretion to 12-31-91. A lengthy stipulation was agreed-upon providing whether and to what extent the various lengthy stipulation was agreed-upon providing whether and to what extent the various provisions of the existing agreement would apply to the full-time and/or the part-time dispatchers. Dispatcher wage rates for incumbents were also agreed upon. What remained in dispute were the issues of paid negotiating from non-unit positions, and the applicability mostly to the part-time dispatchers–of (in some cases pro-rated) fringe benefits (vacations, termination benefits, holidays, sick leave, witness pay, funeral leave, health insurance, retiree health insurance and certain premium rates).
Comparables were disputed. The arbitrator considered the eight southern Milwaukee County municipalities the parties’ competing comparables pools had in common to be the most appropriate externals. The arbitrator considered the existing unit to which the dispatchers were accreted as well as other internals relevant as comparables whether they in fact employed part-time employes or not, and he included the stipulated treatment of full-time dispatchers as a relevant internal comparable as regards the part-time dispatchers, as well.
Arbitrator finds Union’s proposals for paid negotiating time and pro-rated seniority for part-time dispatchers more reasonable than Employer’s proposals on those subjects. Arbitrator finds Union proposal making fringe benefits applicable to both full and part-time employes more reasonable supported by the statutory criteria. While recognizing the higher cost of Union’s offer, Arbitrator’s consideration of “interest and welfare of the public” notes: all dispatchers “constitute an integral part of the Police Department for the good and welfare, as well as the safety of the inhabitants of the city, and surrounding area; part-timers perform identical duties under identical working conditions for identical hourly rates of pay as full-timers; that holiday, comp-time and call-in pay are unrelated to annual hours worked; and that if part-timers are paid not only the identical hourly rates agreed upon but also the fringe benefits as Union proposes, they are more apt to be encouraged to continue working for employer “and thus avoid the necessity of the City in assuming additional costs incurred, as well as additional man/woman hours, in training new hires to perform their dispatching duties.”
Union offer was selected.
City of Oak Creek (Water Utility Commission)
Case 80 INT/ARB-5936 Dec. No. 26955-A (Kerkman, 02-12-92)
Employer offer selected.
This was a first contract for the unit involved. The parties resolved all issues except premium pay for employes scheduled to work Sundays and holidays. The Union proposes retaining the existing time and one-half premium for such work, whereas the employer proposes to limit pay for such work to a flat hourly rate of $7.27 which equals time and one half the 1990 base rate and which is 28 cents less than the rate proposed by the Union for 1991 and 54 cents less than the rate proposed by the Union for 1992.
Comparables were disputed, but no decision appears to have been issued as to what the appropriate comparables pool is; rather, both parties’ comparables were referenced at various points in the arbitrator’s analysis.
Based on a review of area settlements, the arbitrator rejects employer’s contention that .25% of the agreed-upon 1991 general wage increase constitutes a quid pro quo for the employer’s proposed freeze on the premium rate at issue. He found both the internal and external comparables supportive of the Union’s position as regards scheduled Holiday work.
“Because the proposal of the employer will continue to pay premium pay in the amounts heretofore paid for Sunday work for employees scheduled to work on Sundays since it is based on time and one-half of the 1990 rates; and because the premium pay amount proposed by the employer for employees who are scheduled to work Sundays exceeds the pay among the comparables by at least $7.00 per hour; and because the differential of premium pay between the offers for holidays worked is 28 cents per hour in the first year of the Agreement and 54 cents per hour in the second year of the Agreement; the undersigned concludes that the employer offer must be favored, because, employees working scheduled Sundays are receiving significantly more premium pay than any of the comparable units, either internal or extend, whereas, the amounts of premium pay which the employees will not receive under the employer offer for holiday pay is considered less.” Accordingly, the employer offer was selected.
River Falls School District
Case 22 INT/ARB-6010 Dec. No. 26995-A (Rice, 02-12-92)
Union offer selected.
Issues: Both parties proposed 3 holidays with the employer proposing effective date 7/1/91 and the Union 7/1/90. The Union also proposed temporary leave of absence with 2 weeks notice, $25 for each day of Unused sick leave for those with 10 years service and semi for layoff and recall.
The arbitrator found the Big Rivers Conference (Chippewa Falls, Eau Claire, Hudson, Menomonie, Rice Lake and the employer) to be the most appropriate comparable. The arbitrator concluded that under either parties final offer the wages would still be substantially behind in comparable ranking and that both contained defects such that neither was preferable. However, the arbitrator found the Union’s position on duration, layoff and recall, and holidays preferable and in line with the comparables. The arbitrator noted the employer’s contentions it intended to follow past practice concerning layoffs and recalls and how it would handle leaves of absence was not binding on the employer because it had not included the contentions in its final offer. The arbitrator therefore awarded that the Union’s final offer be incorporated in the collective bargaining agreement.
Case 256 INT/ARB-5818 Dec. No. 26937-A (Yaffe, 01-17-92)
Employer offer selected.
In addition to a wage dispute, the County sought to cap vacation earnings at 22 days per year, except for employees currently earning more than that who would be capped at their 1991 vacation earnings. The parties disagreed on the appropriate group of comparables, and the arbitrator chose Fond du Lac, Kenosha, Racine, Washington, and Winnebago counties. The arbitrator would have used LaCrosse County had data been available.
While the arbitrator found that the County’s salary range at the minimum end of the range was significantly below the average, the range at the maximum end became more competitive and exceeded the comparable average by more than $4,000. No unusual catch up settlement was warranted at the maximum range, where the Association was trying to improve salaries of more senior attorneys in the bargaining unit.
The arbitrator found the Association’s position on vacations to be more reasonable, as the County’s capped proposal was not supported by the comparables and the County offered no reasonable quid pro quo for the concession.
The more critical issue to the parties was the salary issue, and therefore the arbitrator deemed the County’s final offer to be more reasonable.
Village of East Troy (Department of Public Works)
Case 34 INT/ARB-5881 Dec. No. 26906-A (Petrie, 02-13-92)
Employer offer selected.
There were several issues in dispute including: wage rates to be paid to the Wastewater Operator/Laboratory Technician and the Water Works Operator/Mechanic; the reclassification of three named employes to higher rated jobs; longevity payments; amounts of health insurance deductibles for single and family plans beginning the second year of the contract; the creation of a non-certified assistant mechanic classification; language changes regarding changing health and welfare providers during the contract; and listing bargaining unit employes by name in the contract.
Primary External Comparison Group:
The parties were unable to reach agreement on appropriate municipal comparison groups. The Union proposed a group consisting of public works employes represented by the Teamsters in Hudson, Prescott, Shullsburg, Milton and Evansville. The employer proposed a group consisting of Delavan, Elkhorn, Jefferson, Lake Mills, Lake Geneva and Mukwonago, all of which are located within 33 miles of East Troy and relatively near to St. Paul, Minnesota. The arbitrator also rejected Shullsburg because it is located near Dubuque and in excess of 90 miles away from the Village of East Troy. Because Milton and Evansville were located in southeastern Wisconsin, they were added to the list suggested by the employer.
Listing of Employes by Name in the Contract:
The Union urged that the employes be listed in the contract and indicated that because of the small number in the bargaining unit this would merely represent an administrative convenience. The employer argued that this was a highly unusual proposal and that the Union had failed to introduce any significant evidence to support this proposal. The arbitrator concluded that adding all employes by name in the contract would be changing status quo and that the Union failed to make a persuasive case for this proposed change.
Creation of the Assistant Mechanic Non-Certified Classification:
The Union proposed creation of the above classification and argued that this proposal was unique to an employe who had since terminated his employment, but would be applicable to any replacement hired. The Village emphasized that this proposal constituted a change in the status quo and asserted that the Union has not provided sufficient evidence to support the change demanded. The arbitrator concluded that the Union did not establish a persuasive basis for the requested change, but that this item could not be assigned determinative importance in the final offer selection process.
Changes in Health and Welfare Providers During the Contract:
The Union’s proposal was to change existing language to limit the employer’s right to select health and welfare providers to those “with no less than the current level of health and dental benefits” which was provided in the existing contract. The Union urged the arbitrator to adopt its proposal which was language that existed in an earlier agreement. The employer argued that the existing language was added the their previous agreement and that the right to change carriers would be significantly reduced if the Union’s language was adopted. The arbitrator concluded that there was no substantial evidence to support the Union’s demand for change and no meaningful quid pro quo provided.
Proposed Promotions for 3 Employes:
The Union argued that the three promotions are warranted because of the individual qualifications of the employes. The employer argued that this change would adversely impact on bargaining history and raises status quo issues. The arbitrator concluded that the Union failed to make persuasive case for its proposed reclassification, and that the changes would undermine the parties’ previously negotiated contract provisions in several areas. Further, this change would involve significant additional costs to the employer.
Health Insurance Deductibles:
Effective January 1, 1992, the Union proposed deductibles to be $50 per person and $150 per family, while the employer proposed a deductible of $100 per person and $300 per family. The Union argues that the last time employes paid deductibles they were $50 per person and $150 per family. The employer argued that, while this is correct, the 1989 insurance plan also contained an 80/20% co-payment provision on the next $2,000 per person and $5,000 per family. The employer argued that their current position is more favorable to the employes than the 1989 plan. The arbitrator concluded that, due to differences in levels of past coverage, bargaining history cannot be accorded substantial weight. He then analyzed the out-of-pocket costs for employes in the external comparison group. He concluded that the $100 proposal was equal to or better than four of the six primary comparables and that the $300 proposal was equal to or better than three of the primary comparables. He concluded that the facts favored the selection of the employer’s position in this area.
Longevity Pay Maximums:
The Union proposed an increase from a $750 maximum longevity payment to $1,000. The employer proposed retaining the $750 maximum. The Union primarily argued that internal comparisons support its position. The employer argued that their position is supported by external and internal comparisons. The employer also emphasized that East Troy employes can qualify for the longevity payment earlier than many of the external comparable groups. The arbitrator concluded that the external comparables strongly supported the employer’s position. He identified that only three of the comparable groups had longevity benefits. Of those three, two were well below the existing level provided by East Troy. He found that there was a mixed practice internally and that as a result significant weight could not be assigned. Based upon his analysis, the employer’s position was deemed to be more reasonable.
Wage Increases for the Wastewater Operator/Laboratory Technician and the Water Works Operator/Mechanics:
The Union proposed extra wage increases of $2 for the Wastewater Operator/Laboratory Technician and $1.85 for the Water Works Operator/Mechanics classifications. The employer took the position that special adjustments were not appropriate. The Union argued that external comparables show that similar positions are paid at a much higher level. The employer argued that these wage relationships have been the result of collective bargaining between the parties and should not be disrupted because of an arbitration proceeding. The employer further argued that even if some degree of catch-up pay was warranted, the $2 per hour which represents a 19% wage increase and the $1.85 per hour which represents a 17.6% wage increase are excessive. The arbitrator identified that the two positions fall in the lower one half of the comparables. He noted that the employer’s offer would continue each position at its current rank, while the union’s position would move each job up one place in the ranking. The employer’s position would keep the employes at a rate below the average paid by comparable employers while the Union’s final offer would move each position above the average paid by comparable employers. While noting that the rates were clearly below the average in terms of ranking and average hourly rates, the arbitrator emphasized that the existing rates for the two jobs were the product of past collective bargaining and reflect choices made at the bargaining table. He also noted that parody is normally achieved over an extended period of time. He concluded that the Union failed to make a persuasive for the large, special wage increases proposed for these two positions.
For the reasons stated above, the arbitrator selected the employer’s final offer.
City of Viroqua (Police Department)
Case 6 MIA-1566 Dec. No. 26974-A (Zeidler, 02-15-92)
Union offer selected.
Insurance Contribution: Both parties propose a change to the status quo of each employe paying $42.82 per month for insurance coverage. The employer proposes that employes pay 25% of the premium and the Union proposes that employes pay 10% of the premium.
The parties also disagreed over the appropriate comparables. The Union comparables contain all municipal law enforcement departments in west central Wisconsin with a population of more than 2500, as well as the Vernon County Sheriff’s Department and the Onalaska Police Department because of their geographic proximity. As to wages, the Union notes that this unit has ranked last for seven years, and argued that the split increase provides an increase that will maintain wages while remaining cognizant of the economic climate of the region.
The Union argues that the comparables do not support an employe contribution of $83.97 per month for family insurance as proposed by the employer and that under the Union’s offer, the employes will still pay the second highest premium for the family plan.
The employer comparables are smaller county seat cities where the area growth is stable and there are not special factors making police work more difficult. As to wages, the employer notes that it is giving a substantial wage increase along with step increases, so as to include a quid pro quo for a larger contribution to health insurance. The employer argues that the Union offer on insurance results in a reduction in the employe’s share in paying for insurance premiums and that these employes need to be brought in line with other employes of the employer who contribute 25% to health insurance.
The arbitrator noted that while the Union comparables lack settlements and present a range in population, the employer comparables have considerable geographic dispersal and are too small in population and size of force to constitute good comparison communities. The arbitrator considered the Union comparables as primary because of their geographic compactness and concentration in an area where the local economies, despite some variation, are most similar, and he used the employer comparables for secondary comparisons when deemed needed.
The evidence in regard to wages shows a low ranking for hourly wage and indicates some need for catch up, resulting in the Union offer being judged more comparable.
The arbitrator found that the Union proposal of a 10% contribution for health insurance is more comparable among the primary comparables, which outweighs the fact that the County Sheriff’s Department contribute 25% to health insurance. The arbitrator did not give prevailing weight to the employer’s argument regarding other City employes as they are not represented. The arbitrator found it troubling that the Union offer reduces the insurance contribution at a time when the state and national trend is to increase employe contribution toward health insurance; however, this factor was neutralized in part by the employe’s offer which contains a jump from a 15.7% contribution to 25% which is not supported by the comparables. The arbitrator found that the departure from the status quo on the part of the Union is less of a departure that the employers and is supported by the comparable.
As to the employer’s argument that its 6% offer is a quid pro quo for the insurance increase, the arbitrator found that in “view of the catch-up situation that has existed in Viroqua, a higher increase in insurance premium payments by the police employees would in effect diminish their total pay and negate the effects of the catch-up”
Therefore, the arbitrator found that the Union offer as to wages and interests of the public generally are the strongest weights in favor of the Union offer while the employer offer in comparability to outside employment is the strongest weight accruing to the City. The weight of the insurance proposal of the Union, though more comparable in dollar amounts, is not given great weight because it sets a pattern of reducing the amount of employe contributions; nonetheless, it is not attributed as a weight for the employer because the dollar amounts of the Association offer meet the test of comparability. Overall, the arbitrator favored the Union offer.
Village of West Salem (Police Department)
Case 7 MIA-1567 Dec. No. 26975-A (Johnson, 02-18-92)
Employer offer selected.
Insurance Contribution: Union proposes employer pay 100% of single and 90% of family; employer proposes employes pay $20 per month for single and $50 per month for family coverage.
The Union argued that the comparables include all municipalities in La Crosse County which are covered by the arbitration statute as well as La Crosse County itself and the municipalities in the surrounding counties that are covered by the arbitration statute. As to wages, that the total cost of its final offer differs from the employers by only .36% in 1991 and by only 1.0% in 1992. As for insurance, the Union argues that even under its offer, this unit would have the second highest contribution among the comparables.
The employer argued that its comparables were more appropriate that the Union’s in that the jurisdictions chose by the employer are more nearly like West Salem in population and other pertinent characteristics. The employer argues that it has put into effect its wage rate offer for other employes and giving the Union its offer would lead to inequities among its employes that should be avoided. As for insurance, the employer argued that four of its comparables had higher contributions than that proposed by the employer while four had lower contributions.
The arbitrator noted that in comparing communities, three of the more important factors are the populations, the sizes of the work forces and the distance away from the community. Based upon these criteria, the arbitrator excluded several comparables from each parties list and used the remaining jurisdictions as comparables.
The arbitrator found that the employer’s wage offer was slightly closer to the comparables while the Union’s health insurance offer is more comparable. Nonetheless, the arbitrator noted that the trend is in the direction of greater contributions by employes to the cost of health insurance. The arbitrator viewed the case as a toss-up but selected the employer’s final offer.
City of Monroe (Water Utility)
Case 19 INT/ARB-5662 Dec. No. 26942-A (Johnson, 02-18-92)
Union offer selected.
In addition to wages, the Union proposed that the discharge of an employee who was discharged during negotiations, be subject to the grievance and arbitration procedure. The employer disagreed.
The Union presented a list of fifteen jurisdictions as comparable with the employer being the forth largest. The arbitrator concluded that this list, along with applicable collective bargaining agreements and/or verified rates from local officials met the criteria spelled out in factors (d.) and (e.) of the statute. Under these comparables the employer was the forth largest jurisdiction. Under the Union’s final offer the wage rates for the Operator position would rank lower the 13th. Under the employer’s the rate would rank lower than 14th. The arbitrator found that the Union presented a more convincing case and chose its final offer. On the issue of the application of the grievance and arbitration provisions to a discharge of an employe during negotiations the arbitrator concluded such a procedural question should be decided by an arbitrator under the grievance procedure and let such an arbitrator decide the procedural question.
Green County (Human Services Department)
Case 113 INT/ARB-5920 Dec. No. 26993-A (Oestreicher, 02-18-92)
Employer offer selected.
In addition to the wages, the parties disputed the design of the health insurance plan and the Union proposed that the County increase its contribution to the employe’s share of the Wisconsin Retirement Fund (WRF) to 6.1% However, the parties stipulated that the WRF issue should not be determinative.
Both offers included a substantial change in the health insurance benefit. Both provided for deductibles to be paid by the employe: one $150 annual deductibles to be paid by the employe: one $150 annual deductible for a single plan, two $150 deductibles for a two-person family and three $150 deductibles for a family of three persons or more. The County proposed to continue to contribute 90% of the premium cost, whereas the Union proposed the County contribute 100% of the premium cost. The Union offer proposed to delay the implementation of the new plan until January 1, 1992.
Although the parties disagreed over the appropriate comparables, both the County’s and the Union’s list of comparable counties yielded the same result: only two counties paid 100% of the family health insurance premium. The arbitrator concluded that the County’s offer was substantially equivalent to the internal comparable, the Sheriff’s Department. The Union had argued that the County’s offer to the Human Services employes was too low because the percentage increase offered to the Sheriff’s deputies, while being the same percentage as was offered to the Human Services Department, yielded a higher wage increase to the deputies offered to the Sheriff’s deputies, while being the same percentage as was offered to the Human Services Department, yielded a higher wage increase to the deputies since their wage rates were initially higher than those of the employes in the Human Services Department. The arbitrator rejected this interpretation of the County’s wage offer. While noting that the County’s offer in this case did not include the 100% premium contribution for employes with single coverage, as in the Sheriff’s department, the arbitrator found the County’s offer would make the insurance plan in the Human Services Department more nearly comparable to that of other County units since no other County employes received 100% payment for the family health insurance premium. The requirement that employes contribute to health insurance premiums is also in keeping with a general trend.
As to the wages, the County’s offer, which results in a lift at the end of the two year contract that exceeds the Union’s offer by one-quarter of a percent, is comparable to the wages offered or granted other County employes in return for the change in the health insurance plan. The arbitrator awarded the County’s final offer.
Village of Gresham (Utility)
Case 4 INT/ARB-5928 Dec. No. 26949-A (Rice, 02-26-92)
Union offer selected.
The union and employer disagreed over the appropriate comparables. The arbitrator found the following appropriate: Algoma, Eagle River, Florence and Oconto Falls, utilities with less than 2,000 customers. The arbitrator also found comparables Shawano, New London and Clintonville and other municipal utilities which are in the same geographic area and labor market as the employer.
On the wage issue, the arbitrator noted that the employer’s offer was close to the cost of living and to the accepted offers in the external comparables. However, the arbitrator observed that the 1991 rate for a unit lineman would be $11.66, substantially lower than any of the external comparables were paying for that year and that the employer’s lineman hourly rate for 1992 is more than $1.00 less than the 1991 rate in Shawano, Oconto Falls, New London and New Holstein. In the bookkeeper and billing clerk classifications, the arbitrator observed, the employer’s offer would provide significantly lower rates than employes in comparable utilities receive. Thus, the arbitrator held that “[t]his is exactly the situation in which catch-up pay is appropriate.”
The arbitrator rejected the employer’s argument that it gives its employes full paid health insurance on the ground that no evidence was presented to show that the employer’s fringe benefit package is higher than comparable communities. The arbitrator also rejected the employer’s financial arguments — that its rural customers cannot afford to pay increased rates and that it had recently experienced increased costs due to its modernization projects. The arbitrator noted that the last rate increase effected by the employer was in 1989 and that prior to that rates had not been raised for the previous six years. The arbitrator stated that unit employes “should not have to bear the cost of providing cheap electricity to the employer’s customers by accepting wages that are far lower than the rate ordinarily paid to employes of municipal utilities doing similar work.” The arbitrator held that even the Union’s offer would not bring unit employe rates up to the average wage paid for similar work, but that the Union’s offer was to be preferred and awarded.
Brown County (Mental Health Center)
Case 457 INT/ARB-6011 Dec. No. 26957-A (Kerkman, 03-19-92)
Union offer selected.
The employer proposed a general wage adjustment of 4% effective December 22, 1990 and $% effective December 21, 1991. Additionally, the employer proposed to adjust the Occupational Therapist rate by 41 cents. The Association proposed to eliminate the County residency requirement and to raise wages by the following: 3%, January 1, 1991; 3% July 1, 1991; 3% January 1, 1992; 3% July 1, 1992.
The arbitrator selected the offer of the Association based upon a need for catch-up pay measured by external comparables, which were disputed and set by the arbitrator. The residency issue and the Occupational Therapist adjustment were regarded as secondary issues. The pattern of internal settlements, which favored the County, was regarded as insufficient to overcome the need for catch-up pay.
Green County (Highway Department)
Case 107 INT/ARB-5785 Dec. No. 26979-A (Rice, 03-20-92)
Employer offer selected.
Health Insurance Contribution: The employer would continue the employe’s contribution at 10% of the premium but would require employes to pay a $150 deductible up to a maximum of three per family. The Union would change the employer contribution for health insurance coverage to 100% with no institution of deductibles.
The Union argues that the cost of the employer’s health insurance proposal is greater that the wage increase the employer proposes over and above the Union’s wage proposal and that, while the employer’s wages compare favorable with those paid by the comparable group, the benefits as a whole are not as good.
The employer argues that the Union’s offer would be a retreat from the current trend of cost sharing of health insurance premiums and a departure from all internal comparables which agreed to the same wage increase that it proposed to the Union.
The arbitrator noted that the record established the need for cost control measures for health insurance, that internal comparables are a very important consideration for an arbitrator to consider, that wage increases should be quite similar and fringe benefits uniform among an employer’s employes, and that the employer’s agreements with all of its other bargaining units include the new insurance plan with the same deductibles and the same wage increase proposed by the employer to this unit. The arbitrator further noted that each employee is going to receive more than $1000.00 per year in wages over and above the average paid for similar positions above the Union’s proposed comparable gross and that this is more than sufficient to pay the potential health insurance deductibles to which each employee will be exposed.
City of Marshfield (Fire Department)
Case 101 MIA-1611 Dec. No. 27039-A (Krinsky, 04-13-92)
Union offer selected.
The central issue in this case was not the wages but the health insurance proposals. Other issues that arbitrator concluded were not determining were educational benefits, dental insurance, life insurance, residency, probating language and promotion language. The Union had proposed no change in the previous plan which gave the employe the option of the Greater Marshfield Plan, (an HMO) with the City contributing 85% of the premium or a WPS plan with the City contributing 95% of the premium, but not more than the City’s contribution toward the GMP. The City proposed a change in the health insurance in the second year of the contract. Under the City’s proposal, the employes would change to Blue Cross/Blue Shield plan including deductibles, and limitations on certain benefits; the City would cover certain of these limited areas by a self-funded payment plan and would hold the employe harmless if a dispute should arise between the insurance carrier and the care provider. The City would contribute 90% of the health insurance premiums.
The parties disputed the significance of a tentative agreement that had been rejected by the Union membership. The arbitrator stated that tentative agreements should not control interest arbitration cases so that parties are free to negotiate settlements without risking that such a tentative agreement would become an arbitrator’s award should the tentative agreement be rejected. The tentative agreement was considered merely an indication of what the parties considered a reasonable settlement.
As to the major issue, the City’s proposed change in the health insurance plan, the internal comparables were found to favor the Union’s status quo position since only two of the six represented units, representing 27 of 131 employes had accepted the change. On the other hand, the external comparables, Stevens Point, Wausau and Wisconsin Rapids were found to favor the City. The private sector comparisons were found inconclusive, and the arbitrator was not persuaded either by the City’s prediction that the change would further the interest of the public by saving money in the future, or the Union’s assertion that the net result of the change would be detrimental to the employes.
On balance, the arbitrator found that in the absence of a showing that the Union had been intransigent in refusing to consider ways to control health insurance costs, and when the other City units had not yet accepted such a change, even assuming an adequate offering of a quid pro quo by the City, such a change should not be compelled by an arbitrator.
As to the wages, the lower wages proposed by the Union as an offset to the health insurance costs were not found to render the City’s wages uncompetitive so as to make that wage offer unacceptable and the Union’s final offer was chosen.
Green County (Pleasant View Nursing Home)
Case 114 INT/ARB-5921 Dec. No. 26994-B (Anderson, 04-15-92)
Employer offer selected.
In addition to the wages, the design of the health insurance plan was in dispute. Both parties proposed a change to a new plan containing deductibles. The parties agreed the plan would have one $150 annual deductible for the single plan and two $150 annual deductibles for families of two people and a three $150 deductibles for families of three people or more. The co-pay for prescriptions would increase to $5. The County proposed the plan would be effective October 1, 1990 and the Union proposed it become effective January 1, 1992.
The arbitrator accepted the list of comparable counties used by arbitrator Briggs in a 1986 award involving the Green County Human Services Department. Even though the arbitrator had reservations about including the more populous counties of Dane and Rock in the comparable pool, he did not find sufficient evidence to find another comparable pool more appropriate. He also accepted the employer’s proposed comparison of WAHSA (an organization not identified in the award, presumably an alliance of nursing homes or hospitals). He found it had some value because it involved employes doing similar work, but that the comparison value was less weighty than the employers within the comparable counties.
Although the arbitrator accepted the Union’s argument that the instant unit was not receiving a complete quid pro quo equal to that received by the Sheriff’s department because the percentage wage increase granted the deputies resulted in lower dollar benefits to this units since they were receiving lower pay than the deputies prior to the increase, he nevertheless found the employer’s offer’s was the more reasonable. The Union’s offer was marred by producing a windfall by granting at the beginning of the contract the wage increase designed to offset the cost of the new insurance deductibles while delaying the effective date of the new insurance plan January 1, 1991. The arbitrator awarded the County’s final offer.
Howard-Suamico School District
Case 42 INT/ARB-6037 Dec. No. 26977-A (Mueller, 04-20-92)
Employer offer selected.
The arbitrator found that “no one issue is subject to dominant consideration or controlling weight,” and that “the ultimate consideration is controllable by consideration of the total final offers.” He found the Union’s offer “not unreasonable,” but that more of the district’s proposals were “supported by the statutory criteria than those of the Union.” In particular, the arbitrator found that the Union’s proposals on holidays and personal days “raise cause for concern.”
On paid holidays, the Union offer was to “increase paid holidays to cover those holidays that fall within the housekeeping work year,” which the union contended was simply designed to gain parity with other district employes. The district argued the proposal did not specify which holidays were proposed to be added, and that such an increase would result in school-year housekeepers receiving more holidays than full-year secretaries. The arbitrator explained his entire analysis as follows: “I find the district’s position to contain the greater merit as to this issue.”
On personal days, the Union offered one paid PTO day, which it argued was supported by the internal comparables. The district argued this proposal was vague, beyond that enjoyed by other employes, and beyond that which would be justified. Again, the arbitrator found for the employer.
On subcontracting, the Union offered language allowing the employer “to contract out for goods and services not within the scope of employe job descriptions,” the same language contained in its custodial/maintenance contract with this employer. The employer offered language allowing it “to contract out for goods and services so long as no existing employes are laid off, terminated or reduced in hours as a result of such contracting out,” which it said was a compromise to afford protection to the employes and to retain flexibility for future subcontracting.
Finding housekeepers to be “the most expendable and easy to replace by means of subcontracting,” the arbitrator found “the need for contractual protection is therefore much greater” than for other employes. The arbitrator found neither offer unreasonable, with internal comparisons favoring the Union and external comparisons favoring the employer. “Standing alone, this issue is not one which will control the selection of one final offer over the other.”
Nor, apparently, did wages drive the determination. The arbitrator held that “it appears that the district offer is supported by the cost of living increase,” and that “it would seem that the level of internal settlements favors the district’s final offer,” he also found that “a slightly higher increase is therefore justified for the second year in view of the first year slightly lesser settlement among.”
City of Green Bay (Department of Public Works)
Case 210 INT/ARB-5977 Dec. No. 26948-A (Vernon, 04-21-92)
Employer offer selected.
The sole disputed issue is the employer’s proposed change in sick leave language. The change, which was opposed by the Union, changes the sick leave payout at retirement from unused sick leave at retirement to average hours used per year over the employe’s career, and incorporates express rather than implicit employer authority to verify an employe’s illness and/or to initiate counseling or disciplinary action based on abusive sick leave usage.
The employer cited: average absenteeism of 7 days per employe per year as excessive relative to a national average of 5; the fact that a more restrictive proposal had been tentatively agreed upon but rejected by the Union membership; and the fact that all 11 other units open for negotiations in 1991 accepted either the City’s language and 4-4-4 in wages or (in the case of two of the units) consented to a wage increase of 3.5% in the second year.
The Union asserted: the City has failed to justify its proposed change by clear and convincing evidence of a need and of an adequate quid pro quo for the change; that the City’s formulation has no support among external comparables; that adoption of the City’s offer will not reduce the multiplicity of sick leave systems in effect City-wide; that the City’s evidence of an alleged problem is flawed; and that the City’s claimed quid pro quo is inadequate in light of a 4% settlement pattern among the external comparables.
While the arbitrator was unimpressed by the City’s evidence regarding an intrinsic absenteeism problem, he found the proposal is not intrinsically unreasonable in that those who utilize sick leave infrequently would fair as well or better under the new accumulation formula while the opposite would be true of abusers. The arbitrator was impressed by the fact that eight of 11 units negotiating in 1991 agreed to the wage and sick leave provisions contained in the City’s final offer, and the two that did not took .5% less in wages in the second year. “This collective consensus is a much more reliable indicator of reasonableness than any theoretical analysis an arbitrator might bring as to the intrinsic reasonableness of any particular proposal. . . . In general, where there is a strong pattern in a multi-bargaining unit employer, arbitrators have favored the internal pattern over the external pattern. The external pattern would be favored over the internal pattern unless adherence to the internal pattern would unfairly distort the relationship of the bargaining unit to the external group. In this case, the internal pattern is very strong, and there is no evidence that the application of the pattern would pose in any respect any particular hardship on this unit relative to the external comparables. . . .[t]he employer has demonstrated that its proposal is reasonable. On the other hand, the Union has proposed a wage increase equal to that received by other units who have accepted the change in sick leave language. Had they wished to retain the old language, they should have made a proposal consistent with the two units who retained their old language by accepting .5% less in the second year of the contract.”
Baraboo School District
Case 36 INT/ARB-6024 Dec. No. 27088-A (Johnson, 05-11-92)
Employer offer selected.
The only issue dispute is the amount of increases in wages.
There was no dispute over appropriate comparables. However, the Union argued for internal comparables as well as external while the employer argued more in favor of external comparables.
The Arbitrator concluded that external comparables slightly favored the employe’s offer; internal and local comparables favored the Union’s offer; private sector comparisons favored the employer’s offer and cost of living favored the employer’s offer. The Arbitrator found this to be a very close case. He concluded as follows:
“I view this case as a toss up except for the matter of the differential between the custodians and the maintenance personnel. By all wage rate comparisons that have been presented and by careful examination of the job descriptions and the testimony at the hearing, I believe that the maintenance personnel have a legitimate complaint that their greater skill has not been recognized in the rate schedule. Although the District’s proposal is a small step in the direction of rectifying that circumstance, it tips the balance in favor of the District’s final proposal.
Village of Pulaski
Case 17 INT/ARB-5837 Dec. No. 25981-A (Petrie, 05-14-92)
Union offer selected.
In addition to wages, the parties disputed the increased contribution to the Wisconsin Retirement System, with the County proposing 7.2% in both years of the contract and the Union proposing 7.3% in the first year and 7.5% in the second. The Union proposed changes in sick leave accumulation: increase to 114 days; Vacation: provide 10 days after two years and 25 days after 23 years; and the institution of longevity pay: $10/month after 8 years, $20/month after 12 years, $30/month after 16 years. The Village opposed all these changes.
Since the parties had not gone to interest arbitration prior to the instant award, the Arbitrator first determined the list of appropriate comparables. He rejected the view that only employes represented by a labor organization are appropriate for comparisons. Finding considerations of population, geographical proximity and shared labor market pool significant, he chose as comparable: the villages of Ashwaubenon, Allouez, Bonduel, and Howard and the cities of Gillett, Oconto, Oconto Falls and Seymour.
The Union’s wage offer was favored by both a consideration of the percentage wage increases granted in this pool of comparables as well as the increase in the cost of living. The comparables also supported the County’s offer on the maximum accumulation of sick leave and the Union’s offer on increased vacation benefit. Comparison of the parties’ proposals on retirement contributions to the comparable pool was inconclusive. Although the internal comparable unit, the Village’s police unit, received a considerably greater retirement contribution, finding that the parties have not given great weight to the internal comparisons in their bargaining, the arbitrator likewise did not give that internal comparison much weight. The external comparables failed to establish a persuasive case for the Union’s proposal for longevity pay and the arbitrator found the internal comparable of the Village Police who receive longevity pay not as significant as external comparisons would be.
Balancing the factors, the arbitrator ruled in favor of the Union’s offer. He noted that the Union’s offer was favored as to wages and the increased vacation benefit, and concluded those items, which have an immediate impact on the employes, were overall more important that the sick leave accumulation which had only future impact. Furthermore, while the record did not conclusively favor the Union’s position on the increased retirement benefit and the longevity pay, the adoption of those items does not break new ground, for the first item is already in the contrast and the second is found in the internal and external comparables.
City of Jefferson (Police Department)
Case 30 MIA-1569 Dec. No. 27007-A (Rice, 05-22-92)
Employer offer selected.
In addition to wages, health insurance was an issue. The parties also disagreed as to the appropriate comparable.
The Association proposed a comparable group, hereinafter referred to as Comparable Group A, consisting of the police departments in Watertown, Beaver Dam, Whitewater, Oconomowoc, Fort Atkinson, Stoughton, the Town of Oconomowoc, Hartland, Delafield, Lake Mills, and Jefferson County.
The eleven departments making up the comparable group are all located in the same general geographical area and are pretty much the same size except for the Jefferson County Sheriff’s Department.
The employer proposed a comparable group, hereinafter referred as in Comparable Group B. Comparable Group B includes police departments in Beaver Dam, Delavan, East Troy, Elkhorn, Fort Atkinson, Horicon, Lake Mills, Oconomowoc, Watertown and Whitewater.
The employer considers Comparable Group A to be satisfactory except for the inclusion of Delafield, Hartland, Jefferson County, Town of Oconomowoc, and Stoughton. It contends that those communities are not comparable to the employer because they are influenced by the economic forces of two large urban areas.
It also objects to the conclusion of the Jefferson County department as a comparable, taking the position that city police departments and county sheriff’s departments serve different geographic areas and perform different services.
The arbitrator concludes that both Comparable Group A and Comparable Group B are valid comparison groups. Jefferson County may be larger with more employees but they’re right across the street, and they do the same kind of work daily so they are in the comparable group. Likewise, the other communities objected to by the employer are in since they are similar in size, function and geographic area to the employer.
Both the Union and the employer make the same health care proposal with respect to the amount of premium contribution to be made by the employer. The difference between the two health insurance proposals is that the employer would change the policy of reimbursing employees for the first $200.00 of each $250.00 hospitalization deductible to reimbursement for the full cost ($250.00) of the first day hospitalization deductible and the employees would be responsible for the fourth day hospitalization deductible.
The arbitrator noted that the employer negotiated the same hospitalization and deductible reimbursement with its water and electrical employees that it offers the Union. The arbitrator believes this internal comparable carries great weight. This he reasoned was a modest effort at controlling escalating medical costs, and is in line with the efforts of communities in the comparables.
With respect to wages the arbitrator found that the employer’s wage proposal was consistent with the established pattern of internal settlements. He concluded that the employer’s final offer will improve its ranking in both comparable Group A and B by one full place. If the Union’s final offer is selected the employer’s ranking would increase by three places in Comparable Group B – no evidence presented supports this. Using Jefferson County as a comparable, the arbitrator found the employer’s wages proposal was right in line.
The arbitrator in selecting the employer’s final offer concluded that the pattern of settlements among comparable employees experiencing the same cost of living increases should be the determining factor in this dispute, and it supports the employer’s position.
Village of Little Chute (Department of Public Works)
Case 31 INT/ARB-6039 Dec. No. 27067-A (Mueller, 05-23-92)
Union offer selected.
In addition to wages, the arbitrator observed that the 5% employe health premium contribution would cost employes 13 or 14 cents per hour (depending upon the health plan they were enrolled in) while the increase offered by the employer (5%) was worth 11 cents per hour to employes. The employer urged that although no exact quid pro quo was offered for the change in health insurance contributions, there was a need for the change: The Union had historically resisted any change in insurance contributions; the employer’s total package offer was higher than the Union’s; none of the external comparables then had 100% employer paid insurance; the level of health insurance coverage for retirees and their families, among the comparables was less than the employer’s and the only other organized bargaining unit, the police employes, had a 5% employe insurance premium contribution.
The arbitrator held that the employer’s reliance on the one internal comparable unit was misplaced in light of the fact that police employes have received employer-paid life insurance for some time while DPW employes have not received any life insurance benefit. In addition, the arbitrator found that of the external comparables, Kimberly and Kaukauna, were entitled to greater weight than the others proffered by the parties and that the employer’s use of average wage rates was inappropriate because it diluted the greater weight that should be accorded to Kimberly and Kaukauna. The arbitrator found both offers “reasonable and supportable.”
He concluded in such case: “it seems to me, the party proposing a change from the status quo, has the burden of persuading the arbitrator that a proposed change should be made. In this case I am unable to find that the village has sustained that burden.”
Based on the above he selected the Union’s final offer.
Phillips School District
Case 96 INT/ARB-6111 Dec. No. 27071-A (Tyson, 05-25-92)
Employer offer selected.
Two issues in dispute: (1) the rate increase to be applied to each cell of the salary schedule; and (2) whether extra-curricular pay should contain an experience increment.
The District proposed to increase each cell of the salary schedule by 4.75% in each of the two years and to increase the base pay for certain specified extra-curricular positions by the same percent. The Association proposes to increase each cell in salary schedule by 5% each year and to provide for an “experience increment” of $50 for each year of head coaching and $25 for each year of other coaching and activities advisement — up to a maximum of 10 years. The Association also proposes base pay increases in some specified extracurricular positions which are somewhat different from those proposed by the District.
The arbitrator found the districts in the Lumberjack Athletic Conference (LAC) and the Lumberjack Conference (LC) to be appropriate comparables.
With respect to the salary issue he found the Association’s 1991-92 per cent and dollar increase offer to be more acceptable based upon the external comparables while the District’s salary offer for 1992-93 is more acceptable. Over the two year period, the Association’s per cent and dollar increase offer appeared closer to the State average.
With respect to the extra-curricular pay issue, the arbitrator concluded that the Association’s proposal seems to radically alter the extra curricular pay system. The proposal will make pay for certain activities more comparable but will put others out of line. In total application, the Association’s offer is not preferred. Finding evidence of need for such a proposal to be mixed, the arbitrator did not find such a substantial change in the status quo to be imperative.
In sum, the arbitrator finds the Association’s proposal for salary increases to be more reasonable. He finds the District proposal on extra-curricular more reasonable. Concluding that any error which he might make favoring the District salary offer could be subsequently fixed but that an error made in favoring the Association’s offer on extra-curricular pay may not, he selected the District’s final offer.
City of Beloit
Case 103 INT/ARB-5946 Dec. No. 27006-A (Zeidler, 06-01-92)
Union offer selected.
Several issues, as well as wages, were in dispute. The City proposed to reduce a custodian/supervisor at the housing authority to custodian and red circle his rate of pay for 2 years. The City proposed a new shift for the animal control warden to cover later hours during daylight savings time. The Union proposed two reclassifications, 50 cents per hour pay for carrying a paging device, double time for police department employees working a full shift on holidays, a clarification on when overtime is earned, and certain work shifts for employees.
The parties did not differ significantly on the appropriate pool of comparables, except for the City of Manitowoc, which the City used in addition to the cities of Eau Claire, Fond du Lac, Janesville, LaCrosse, Oshkosh, Sheboygan, and Rock County. The arbitrator found merit in including Manitowoc as a comparable.
Under either proposal, the employees will remain at the low end of the comparables in wages. The arbitrator found a catch-up situation existed and that the City’s offer would cause a further lag. Thus, the lift proposed by the Union was justified on a catch-up basis. The City’s offer was more comparable in terms of internal comparisons, as well for the overall benefits for clerical employees and cost of living percentages.
The arbitrator noted that the City’s proposal to reclassify the custodian supervisor to custodian and red circle him would have the effect of assigning the employee in that position to higher level duties for about two and a half months without paying him for them and then assign him to the custodian job without allowing him to bump under the contract. Thus, a decision supporting the City’s position would lead to further grievances and the arbitrator preferred the Union’s position on this issue.
The City’s proposal for change the hours of the animal control warden to cover later hours in the summertime received much attention. The City proposed that the animal control warden work from 12:30 p.m. to 9:00 p.m. Monday through Friday during Daylight Savings Time, and 9:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. in non-Daylight Savings Time, and that the warden would receive 20 cents per hour shift premium after 3:00 p.m. during DST. The Union noted that the present method of hiring a part-time employee to handle after hours calls has been successful, while the City argued for a business need for a change in the work schedule. The arbitrator noted that it is generally accepted in arbitration that the employer can schedule work when it feels the work needs to be done, but that the special personal problem of the employe in her family responsibilities also shows that the public interest might best be served for the rest of this contact period in keeping the schedules as they have been, especially when the after hours work is met by a part-time employe.
The Union proposed to establish work shifts between 7:00 a.m. and 5:00 p.m. Monday through Friday except for certain employes. The City argued that the contract allows the Union to bargain on the impact of schedule changes. The arbitrator found that contracts of the comparables supported the Union position of limiting the City’s ability to make changes.
On the reclassifications, the arbitrator favored the City’s position on the Union’s proposal to reclassify a clerk typist II to a secretary, as well as the City’s position to retain the present animal control officer in that capacity rather than as human officer as the Union proposed.
The Union also proposed that employes receive time and one-half pay for all hours worked in excess of eight hours per day or 40 hours per week. The previous language stated that employees receive time and one-half for all hours worked in excess of eight hours per day and/or 40 per week. Only one of the comparables had the phrase “and/or” in it, and thus the Union offer was the more comparable one. The arbitrator did not favor the Union proposal for double time on holidays in the police department, since the Union position was not supported on the basis of comparability within the police department.
Employes who are required to carry a paging device when off duty currently receive 25 cents per hour for hours worked, and the Union proposed the pay be 50 cents per hour for all hours that the employes are on call. The arbitrator found that the Union proposal to associate payment for carrying a pager with the time the pager is actually carried more reasonable, and the level of pay not unreasonable given the restraint on what an employe may do when otherwise off duty.
The arbitrator found that the need for a catch-up on wages offered a preponderant weight for the Union offer.
Manitowoc County (Highway Department)
Case 243 INT/ARB-6040 Dec. No. 27170-A (Tyson, 06-01-92)
The consent award covered Employer contribution to health insurance; Employer contribution to the Wisconsin Retirement Fund; Commercial Driver’s Licenses and wages.
Brodhead School District
Case 11 INT/ARB-5739 Dec. No. 26996-A (Slavney, 05-28-92)
Employer offer selected.
1. Extra Curricular Assignments
The Association proposed language granting teachers the right to resign from an extra curricular assignment at the end of the school after which the resignation is tendered. The District offered no language on this issue.
2. Extra Curricular Compensation
The District proposed implementation of the recommendations of a study committee which established a formula for compensation of each position based on point values established and offered to compensate each position at $625 per point for 1990-91 and $650 per point for 1991-92. The Association’s offer retains the current schedule with each position receiving a 15% increase each year.
3. Salary Schedule
The Association proposed a BA base of $19,550 for 1990-91, a $667 interval between the nine lanes, and an 11th (longevity) step to all lanes from BA+18 and greater, calculated at 3% more than the corresponding step 10 on the 1989-90 schedule. For 1991-92, the Association proposed a BA base of $20,500, intervals between lanes of $650 each for BA lanes and $850 for MA lanes, and a longevity step calculated as 3% of the 1991-92 step 10 for the lanes.
The District proposed a BA base of $19,425 for 1990-91, lane intervals of $650 each, except $850 at the interval from the BA+24 lane to the MA lane, with no change in the experience steps. For 1991-92, the District proposed a BA base of $20,500 and an equal to one-half of the regular experience increment for the respective lanes.
4. Other Issues
Resignation from extracurricular assignments language, emergency leave health insurance language and contribution, long term disability language; dental insurance contribution, Wisconsin Retirement System contribution; and extracurricular activity compensation.
The Association argued that teachers should primarily focus on instruction in academics, rather than such extra curricular duties, and that teachers should not be required to unwillingly remain in such assignments. The Association justifies its position on extra curricular compensation as providing for catch-up and argues that the study committee made advisory recommendations that neither party has ratified, adopted or endorsed and that no comparable has such a point schedule. As for the salary schedule, the Association argues that its offer is reasonable, responsible, comparable and barely adequate to maintain teacher salary positions with respect to their conference peers.
The District argued that the Association presented no evidence to explain why its proposal is necessary and that the comparables did not support such a proposal. As to extra curricular compensation, the District argues that the point system remedies shortcomings of the old system by utilizing a detailed rational formula. The District argues that its salary offer is more reasonable under the statutory factors and that it provides an average dollar increase to returning teachers which significantly exceeds the average dollar increases granted by the remaining districts in the conference.
In regard to resignation from extra curricular assignments, the arbitrator found that the Association did not establish that the District had unreasonably denied any teacher’s request to resign from an extra curricular assignment. The arbitrator found that the study committee which developed the point system for extra curricular compensation was jointly agreed to with teachers constituting one-half of the membership and that all teachers had the opportunity to respond to the Committee’s survey. The arbitrator determined that the District’s salary offer generated both average salary and average total package increases which were not only closer to the conference averages but were also above the conference averages.
In regard to other issues, the arbitrator found a stand-off with respect to the offers pertaining to health insurance, long term disability insurance and emergency leave. The arbitrator favored the Association’s offer on dental insurance and the Wisconsin Retirement System, and he favored the District’s offer relating to resignation from extracurricular duty, extracurricular compensation and salary schedules.
But, according to the arbitrator, the issues arising out of the proposals relating to teacher compensation for their regular teaching duties and extracurricular assignments have the greatest impact, by far, on the arbitrator’s determination as to which final offer is to be favored. Based upon that, it was apparent that the District’s offer was the more reasonable offer.
Marathon County (Highway Department)
Case 185 INT/ARB-5924 Dec. No. 27035-B (Malamud, 06-04-92)
Employer offer selected.
The issues in dispute were wages, health insurance – changes to deductible, penalties for failure to use “managed care” program, and change to family illness leave program (sick leave).
The Union believed the increase in health insurance deductibles from $100/$200 to $300/$600 was primary dispute. The arbitrator concluded the 14 cents per hour adjustment did amount to a quid pro quo for the proposed increase in health insurance deductibles after comparing the County other without the 14 cents/hr adjustment to other comparable employer wage rates. He also found the County wage offer was supported by the internal comparables that were settled or also in arbitration. The arbitrator found the Union’s wage proposals inconsistent with the proposals of all other units in arbitration. On the issue of increase health insurance deductibles the arbitrator concluded the statutory criteria support adoption of either offer. On the issue of family leave for serious illness the arbitrator found the statutory criteria strongly supported the Unions offer to retain the status quo. Finally, the arbitrator concluded that because all other County units represented by AFSCME agreed to increased “Managed care” penalty the County’s offer was strongly preferred. On balance, the arbitrator selected the County’s total final offer.
Brown County (Mental Health Center)
Case 451 INT/ARB-5947 Dec. No. 27059-A (Johnson, 06-12-92)
Employer offer selected.
In addition to wages, the parties disputed the appropriate tuition reimbursement and the Union proposed a shift premium increase.
In determining the appropriate comparables, the arbitrator stressed the value of using the list approved by earlier arbitrators as a way of enhancing predictability of outcome and therefore settled on the counties of Fond du Lac, Manitowoc, Outagamie, Sheboygan, Winnebago and Marathon. On the basis of these external comparables, the County’s offer was found preferable to the Union offer. In the first year of the contract, both offers generate wages higher than the comparables if premium pay for merit or 20 years longevity is excluded and the County offer more nearly represents the percentage increase of the comparables. In the second year of the contract, if the wages affected by the twenty and twenty-five-year longevity payments are excluded, only one comparable wage rate would be higher than the County’s offer. As to internal comparables, the arbitrator rejected the Union’s argument that the wage pattern of other Brown County units was inapplicable because of the different dynamics of the labor market involving registered nurses. The internal comparables were found to favor the County. Evidence of comparisons to the private sector wages were found too sketchy to be useful.
The Union proposal that the shift premium be increased was found more in line with the external comparables than the County’s proposal that there be no change. The arbitrator reached no conclusion regarding the County’s proposal the tuition reimbursement be increased to $375 per semester and the Union’s proposal that it be increased to $500, since no evidence was presented as to actual tuition costs and the hours of credit most employes took a semester. The wage issue, which favored the County, was the determinative factor in the case.
City of Milwaukee (Fire Department)
Case 375 MIA-1613 Dec. No. 26857-A (Petrie, 06-16-92)
Union offer selected.
The City proposed a 1% additional increase in base salary for the Heavy Equipment Operator (HEO) Classification, effective in pay period 5 of 1992. The Union proposed a 2% increase in HEO base salary in pay period 5 of 1991 and in pay period 5 of 1992. The Union also proposed that employes assigned to 784 North Broadway be reimbursed for reasonable parking expenses, not to exceed $15/mo.
The parking expense reimbursement proposal, as agreed by the parties, was not determinative.
The Arbitrator concluded that the normal valid arguments relating to primacy of internal over external comparables in situations involving general wage increases have no application to the Heavy Equipment Operator (HEO) wage differential and therefore is not determinative. He found the most persuasive comparisons to be the mean percentage pay differential between the two classification within comparable for departments. He concluded that “The Union advanced evidence…within three separate universes of intraindustry comparables. Clearly and persuasively favors arbitral selection of the HEO wage component of the final offer of the Union…”
Based on the above, the Union’s full offer was selected.
City of Kaukauna (Department of Public Works)
Case 65 INT/ARB-6054 Dec. No. 27097-A (Mueller, 06-18-92)
Employer offer selected.
The arbitrator held that the Union’s wage offer is entitled to favor since it raised both hiring rates and rates of current employes, although the wage issue was a less important issue than insurance. On the retiree insurance issue, the Union relied exclusively on the internal comparables having a similar benefit: elected and appointed officials, fire fighters, and police. The arbitrator observed that a majority of the external comparables have a lesser retiree health insurance benefit than that proposed by the Union. The arbitrator held that the statutory retirement scheme covering internal protective employes including the fact that normal retirement age for such employes is 55, required that protective employes be treated differently from the non-protective employes employed in the DPW unit here. The arbitrator also observed that the employer’s retirees health insurance offer was identical to a provision in effect for the City’s Utility Connecticut employes whose work the arbitrator found was more comparable to that of the unit employes in this case than other unit employes.
In sum, the arbitrator found no quid pro quo in the Union ‘s offer for the major improvement it sought in retiree health insurance and that the employer’s offer was therefore the more reasonable (given the partial improvement in retiree health insurance contained therein.)
Gibraltar Area School District
Case 32 INT/ARB-6117 Dec. No. 27100-A (McAlpin, 06-25-92)
Union offer selected.
This is a “wages-only” dispute. The parties using the base salary are $99 apart for 1991-92 and $331 apart for 1992-93. The parties agree on the relevant comparables. Applying the statutory criteria, the arbitrator finds the economic arguments and cost controls favor neither side. The District’s position is favored with respect to the non-school district external comparables and the cost-of-living criteria. Because of the uniqueness of Door County’s situation where 40% of the property owners use little or no educational service, the impact on the public criteria does not detract from the Association’s position.
What is left is direct comparables. Applying settlements in Sturgeon Bay and Kewaunee, the only two settlements, the arbitrator utilizes them to decide the case. These two settlements substantially favor the Association’s position on straight salary and total package consideration. He adopts the Association’s final offer as more reasonable.
City of Baraboo (Police Department)
Case 14 MIA-1601 Dec. No. 27096-A (Johnson, 06-25-92)
Employer offer selected.
The parties stipulated that the sole issue to be decided was wages. The Union proposed increases consisting of 4% January 1, 1991; 2% July 1, 1991; 4% January 1, 1992; 2% July 1, 1992. The City proposed increases of 5% January 1, 1991 and 5% January 1, 1992.
The arbitrator crafted comparables, which were disputed by the parties, by including all law enforcement agencies advanced by the parties and concluded that Baraboo ranked third of the eight so established. No change in relative rank resulted from either offer. Internal comparables favored the employer’s offer. The employer’s offer was selected primarily because it was favored by the external comparables.
Hayward Community School District
Case 54 INT/ARB-6114 Dec. No. 27132-A (Yaffe, 06-26-92)
Union offer selected.
The issues in dispute in this initial contract between the parties included, in addition to wages, retirement, proration of health and dental premium contributions, categories of employes, work day and workweek and emergency leave.
The parties agreed that other support staffs in the athletic conference are the appropriate comparables. In this pool only 1991-92 comparisons are available. Based on average wage settlements alone, the District’s offer for the first year, which, including the cost of the schedule increment, was 4.47% in the first year was more reasonable than the Union’s, which was 8.07%. The arbitrator, however, found that a comparison of the wages of employes who have worked five years with employes of similar tenure i other districts revealed that wages of District employes are significantly lower and the Union offer on wages is more reasonable. These low wages result from the unusual, seventeen step wage progression that generates maximum rates that are higher than the conference average but that do not reflect the wages of most of the employes. Such a wage schedule needs to be corrected in future bargaining.
The Union’s proposal to have the Wisconsin Retirement Fund replace the current IRA is more comparable than the Districts’s proposal to maintain the IRA. The WRF will cost the District 12.2% of wages as compared to the 7.5% currently paid into the IRA. However, the Union’s proposal somewhat lessens the cost by delaying implementation until January, 1993, by reducing its wage demand in the second year of the contract and by not proposing payment for prior years’ of service. The high cost of implementing the WRF must be viewed in light of the District’s past savings by not having maintained WRF for the employes.
Notwithstanding the increased cost it will cause, the Union’s proposal to base the proration of the employer’s contribution to health insurance premiums on 1820 hours instead of the previous 2080 proposed by the District is more comparable. The District’s proposal on categories of employes that would exclude from the bargaining unit employes who work less than 20 hours a week was found less reasonable. The Union proposal on workday and workweek which codifies a current practice was found more reasonable than the District’s proposal that would change the status quo. The Union’s position on Emergency leave which replicates the definition of immediate family of the teachers’ contract is more reasonable than the District’s proposal for a more limited definition.
The total package cost of the District’s proposal was more comparable than that of the Union, but since the Union’s offer on each individual issue was more comparable than the District’s, the arbitrator found for the Union.
Brown County (Library)
Case 453 INT/ARB-5949 Dec. No. 26978-A (Slavney, 04-16-92)
Employer offer selected.
The employer and Union disagreed regarding the appropriate external comparables. The Union urged that library systems at Madison, Racine, Eau Claire, Appleton, Fond du Lac, Oshkosh and Sheboygan should be considered comparable while the employer urged that Manitowoc, Appleton, Fond du Lac, Oshkosh and Sheboygan libraries were most comparable. The arbitrator observed that none of the library systems mentioned by the parties was settled for 1992, that Madison, Racine and Eau Claire were not in geographic proximity to Brown County and no evidence has been adduced to show that these communities share a professional librarian labor market with Brown County, that because Manitowoc had no established wage plan and because Appleton, Fond du Lac, Oshkosh and Sheboygan professional librarians are not represented for collective bargaining. The arbitrator held that the external comparables would be: Appleton, Fond du Lac, Oshkosh and Sheboygan (generally consistent with two prior arbitrators of the parties’ prior disputes this very point).
The Union argued it had a need for “catch up” based upon the average wages among the comparables, that future projected career earnings were relevant and that an analysis of the comparables’ benchmark minimum/maximum rates was appropriate. The employer argued that the Union’s proposal of mid-year increases was a fundamental change in the parties’ history of bargaining annual increases and that the average earnings of County librarians is relevant. The arbitrator rejected these arguments. The arbitrator found that the employer had a consistent internal wage pattern across a wide variety of internal units, which strongly favored the employer’s offer. The arbitrator observed that the external comparables did not strongly favor either party. While the cost of living rise for 1991 favored the Union, the arbitrator believed the 1992 cost of living rise would not favor the Union’s offer and held that this factor did not strongly favor either party.
The arbitrator held in favor of the employer.
City of Fort Atkinson
Case 10 INT/ARB-5765 Dec. No. 26765-A (Vernon, 12-11-91)
Union offer selected.
The only issue in dispute is the amount of wage adjustment pursuant to the following reopener in the parties’ July 1, 1989 – December 31, 1990, collective bargaining agreement:
“Economic Wage Reopener. The scheduled wage increases shall be minimums; in the event the cost-of-living exceeds 4.75% during the term of this Agreement, this Agreement shall be automatically open for negotiation of additional increases over and above the scheduled wage increases.”
The Union’s final offer called for an additional .75% increase. Although the contract does not state same, the Union thought the consumer price index to be used was the national consumer price index and, further, that it was the Union’s understanding that the reopener could occur any time the CPI rose above 4.75% whether after six months or fifteen months.
The City submitted a final offer of 0%. The City argues that the CPI must remain at a level above 4.75% for a period of five, not just one month, which in this case it did not. It also argues that national CPI should not be used, but something more local like all wage earners in Milwaukee. In this regard at no time did the CPI for the Milwaukee area exceed 4.75% prior to the Union’s demand to reopen. Further, the City argues that the Union has offered no justification for its .75% increase.
The arbitrator in interpreting the ambiguous reopener language reasoned that the parties had agreed to and utilized a cost-of-living mechanism in a previous contract. Because there was no meeting of the minds with respect to the instant cost-of-living reopener the arbitrator relied on the parties’ agreement in their 1977 and 1978 agreement to use the Milwaukee CPI and a 12 month time frame. Thus, the arbitrator interpreted the current language to mean that the agreement could be reopened if the Milwaukee CPI exceeded 4.75% during the period of January 1, 1989 and December 31, 1989. He concluded that during this time the CPI rose 5.0%. As to whether an increase of .75% was reasonable the arbitrator, in finding for the Union, concluded as follows:
“The wage increase in 1989 was 3.9%. Thus, the relevant cost-of-living figure was 1.1% greater than the wage increase which represents a substantial degree of erosion. Even though it appears the Parties were willing to accept a certain degree of erosion due to the fact the reopener cap was higher than the 3.9 increase, a .75% increase is more reasonable than no increase. If there were no increase, there would be no recovery of a significant degree of erosion. Moreover, the additional increase will not unduly advance the employees relative to the comparables. In fact, it is needed to maintain modest catch-up.”