Matter of Bridge & Tunnel Officers Benevolent Association v Triborough Bridge & Tunnel Authority

In January 2005, the Bridge and Tunnel Officers Benevolent Association changed its policy and required employees to substitute paid annual leave for FMLA leave. Prior to this, petitioner allowed employees to choice whether to take FMLA leave paid or unpaid. The Triborough Bridge and Tunnel Authority then filed a grievance arguing that the new requirement violated its members’ rights under the collective bargaining agreement.

The grievance went to arbitration where the arbitrator sustained the grievance but left it to both parties to come up with a compromise that would take into account the needs of both, and retained his jurisdiction to provide a solution if they failed at doing so. In May 2006, the arbitrator directed that respondent could require an employee to charge up to 25% of his accrued annual vacation leave for FMLA leave purposes before giving him the option of taking unpaid FMLA leave. This decision was then appealed and modified in Supreme Court which then led to this review.

The Court impermissibly substituted its judgment and interpretation of the collective bargaining agreement by modifying the arbitrator’s May 2006 determination. The arbitrator’s decision was not irrational and thus should not have been modified.

Accordingly, the Court reversed the decision modifying the May 2006 arbitration award without costs, denied the petition, and dismissed the proceeding.

Read the full article here.