Strong, responsible unions are essential to industrial fair play. Without them the labor bargain is wholly one-sided. The parties to the labor contract must be nearly equal in strength if justice is to be worked out, and this means that the workers must be organized and that their organizations must be recognized by employers as a condition precedent to industrial peace.—Supreme Court Justice Louis Brandeis
ANOTHER VICTORY AND A THANK YOU
On or about April 5, 2013, the NJ FOP Labor Council wrote to the County of Camden seeking compliance with an Article in the CBA (Collective Bargaining Agreement) of the Camden County Park Police Officers for any and all bargaining unit members who did not accept the title transfer to the County Police Department, and who otherwise separated their employment with the County. On March 27, 2013, the County denied the request. The matter proceeded through the parties’ negotiated grievance procedure to binding arbitration.
On May 18, 2015, a neutral arbitrator issued his final decision finding the County violated the collective negotiations agreement by refusing to provide severance benefits to the separated employees. The arbitrator award ordered the County to compensate the employees in accordance with the separation pay benefits listed in the applicable Article of the parties’ collective negotiations agreement.
The following is a letter of thanks from the members of the former Camden County Park Police:
Brothers and Sisters back in April 2013, the Board of Chosen Freeholders decided to abolish the Camden County Park Police and merge them with the new Camden County Police Dept. At the time there were just 14 members left, 7 members decided to retire instead of merging with the Metro Police Dept. As we were retiring we had to file a grievance to enforce our contractual rights, under Article XIX (separation clause) to be exact. This article has been in the Park Police contract since 1992, never changed or modified for over 20 years. In 2011, the County scoped this article stating it interfered with their managerial rights. PERC up held the language and ruled in the union's favor. In 2013, the county again scoped this article while we were involved in the grievance procedure. This time it was we were not entitled to arbitration, because the first PERC ruling allowed them to transfer the members without violating this article. Again PERC ruled in our favor and permitted arbitration.
May 2015, 2 years after we retired, Arbitrator Weisblatt has given his decision. He has ruled that the county did violate Article XIX and the 7 members who retired, in fact meet the conditions set by this article and PERC. This was an important win for the 7 members and any other department in this state that also has a "separation clause" in their contract. The award is for over $2 million.
Throughout this entire process the NJFOP Labor Council has represented us, defended our contract. We are still waiting to see if the County will appeal this award but we won the First step which is a big step to win. We know that the Labor Council has our backs and is ready to fight to defend our rights. In today's climate to have someone defending your hard fought contractual rights should give you, a great piece of mind to know you are not alone in this fight. The Labor Council was there for us and they will be there for you.
The 7 members of the Park Police would like to Thank: The Labor Council Board of Directors, Executive Director Nicholas Barbella, Staff Rep. Ron Bakley and Matt Areman esq. of The Markowitz and Richman Law Firm.
To learn more on how the NJ FOP Labor Council can assist your bargaining unit and the services we provide contact our office at 609-599-3222.