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Rutgers University and FOP Lodge No. 62
Disciplinary Grievances
Before Arb. Richard Adelman, et. Al.

In a dispute that had been simmering for some time, the Labor Council filed a series of grievances on behalf of several Rutgers FOP Lodge 62 members, challenging the issuance of counselling and corrective training notices as disciplinary actions. Historically, Rutgers had used the notices as part of its progressive disciplinary process, as memorialized by its internal operating guidelines, known as “Written Directives.” The FOP always contended that these notices should not be considered disciplinary in nature.

Having filed several grievances and after the initiation of litigation before the Public Employment Relations Commission, the FOP was successful in obtaining an agreement from Rutgers which expressly states that Personal Counseling and/or Corrective Training Notices shall not constitute discipline, and shall not be considered disciplinary in nature.

Hunterdon County and FOP Lodge No. 29
Interest Arbitration
Before Arb. Robert Gifford

After months of negotiations and several frustrating bargaining sessions, the FOP entered into binding interest arbitration proceedings for the Hunterdon County Corrections unit, FOP Lodge No. 29. Prior to a hearing, the parties engaged in one final mediation session. At that mediation, the FOP was successful in securing a contract which afforded individual employees raises averaging 7.5% over the term of the three-year contract, with some employees seeing raises as much as 10.8% over the contract’s term. In addition, the FOP was successful in eliminating ten minutes of unpaid “muster time” from the contract and preserving the integrity of its salary guide.

Camden County Park Police
Settles contract for 2010,2011,2012

As Camden County abolished the Park Police, the Labor Council was able to settle their contract going back 3 yrs. Full retro was agreed to at 2.5% for 2010, 2.6% for 2011, 2.6% for 2012, with a $1000.00 roll in of shift differential, starting Jan 1, 2013. The members of the Park Police are thankful for all the hard work the Labor Council has provided over the years.

Submitted by
Brian Cranmer
FOP Lodge 76

Amtrak and FOP Lodge 189 Labor Committee
Overtime Grievance
Before Arb. Scott Buchheit

This dispute arose as a result of Amtrak’s failure to properly compensate a police officer for time earned in excess of forty (40) hours during the pay week of December 20, 2010 through December 26, 2010. The FOP filed a grievance challenging the Amtrak’s decision to pay the grievant straight time, instead of overtime, for his hours in excess of forty (40) where: A) during the seven-day pay week from December 20, 2010 through December 26, 2010, the grievant worked one (1) day, had his two (2) regular rest days, used four (4) vacation days, and was paid for one (1) holiday; B) the grievant was credited with forty-eight (48) hours worked during the pay week in question; and C) the collective bargaining agreement expressly provides that vacation and holidays are considered “hours worked” for purposes of calculating overtime eligibility.

In a May 8, 2013 Opinion, the Arbitrator sustained the grievance, finding that the specific language of the parties collective negotiations agreement compelled a finding that the grievant was entitled to overtime compensation for the hours worked in excess of forty (40), including those hours paid as holiday and vacation. The grievant was awarded monetary compensation that he was entitled to under the agreement as a “make-whole” remedy, and Amtrak was ordered to comply with the clear terms of the collective bargaining agreement.

Roseland and FOP Lodge No.
Sick Leave Grievance
Before Arb. Ed Gerber

This dispute arose when the Borough refused to grant a police officer sick time pursuant to the terms of an employer-promulgated sick time policy. Specifically, the grievant sought to utilize a contractual sick leave day for a doctor visit, where the doctor summoned the grievant with only two (2) days notice. The Borough refused to grant the sick leave day, stating that a longer notice was required, and instead force the officer to use a personal day. In a May 14, 2013 decision, Arbitrator Gerber sustained the FOP’s grievance, finding that the Borough’s application of the unilaterally implemented sick leave rule effectively denied the grievant his right to utilize contractually guaranteed sick time. Therefore, the grievant was credited with one (1) personal day, and the sick leave rule was declared invalid under these circumstances.

Posted: Friday, January 11, 2013 5:00 am | Updated: 7:30 am, Fri Jan 11, 2013.

By Kristen Coppock Staff writer, Burlington County Times

RIVERTON — A new contract for police officers was approved Wednesday by the Borough Council, more than a year after the previous agreement expired, and provides for modest salary increases with changes to some compensation practices.

The four-year agreement is retroactive from Jan. 1, 2012, and expires Dec. 31, 2015, according to Council President Suzanne Cairns-Wells, a member of the borough’s negotiating committee.

The deal gives the department’s four full-time officers a 2 percent salary increase for 2012 and a 1.5 percent raise in each of the next three years. The deal does not apply to Chief John Shaw.

As part of the contract, the borough has eliminated its salary step guide for the department, starting with 2013. Officers previously received a boost in pay when they moved up the guide, in addition to a raise based on percentage. Cairns-Wells said all the current officers were either at the top of the guide or near it. All will go forward with the top salaries.

Instead of a step guide, the borough has instituted a 12-increment program that applies only to future hires and does not include an additional salary increase by percentage.

As a cost-saving measure, the contract allows the borough to move to a biweekly, direct-deposit payment system for its employees. Police officers and other municipal workers have been receiving weekly paychecks.

Negotiations initially began in the summer of 2011 but stalled, and it was months before they resumed. Work on the contract was restarted when the police officers’ association brought in a different negotiator, Fraternal Order of Police representative Bob Gries.

The borough was assisted in the negotiations process by resident Barry Wells, a former police officer and the husband of the council president, who volunteered his experience in contract negotiations through his job in sales.

Representatives from both sides said the negotiations were amicable, even “enjoyable” at times, said Cairns-Wells. “Everybody was the pinnacle of professionalism,” Gries said.

In addition to salary changes, longevity payments are being eliminated for future hires. They will continue for current officers but have been slightly stretched out. Officers also will earn $25 for each college credit they earn under a new initiative. Courses must be completed with a grade of B or higher, and must be applicable to their jobs for officers to be compensated.

Although the borough has traditionally provided for eye exams and glasses, it has added a provision to the contract for the inclusion of contact lenses. The vision plan will cover up to $300 in contact lenses for each officer.

The agreement calls for officers to begin making contributions to help offset costs associated with medical benefits, a practice that was not required by state law under the previous contract.

Borough of Clayton and FOP Lodge No. 130
Docket No. SN-2012-034
P.E.R.C. No. 2013-47

The FOP Labor Council recently filed a grievance on behalf of FOP Lodge No. 130 members challenging Clayton police chief Dennis Marchei’s unilateral decision to implement a new general order entitled “Overtime Call-In Guidelines.” The stated purpose of the general order was to “ensure equality and fair distribution in the assigning of and accurate recording of overtime for the officers of the Clayton Police Department.” The general order was also allegedly designed “to reduce the likelihood of an officer working an extended amount of hours without ample time to rest.”

Despite the laudable goal of ensuring that officers are well rested when they don their uniforms, the Chief essentially changed the procedures for overtime opportunities and assignment without first discussing the issue with the FOP Labor Council at the negotiating table. He argued that the decision was his managerial prerogative and therefore not arbitrable, and filed a scope-of-negotiations petition with the Public Employment Relations Commission seeking to restrain arbitration on grounds that the assignment of overtime “does not intimately and directly affect the work and welfare of police officers.” The Borough further argued that the change ultimately would not affect overtime earnings.

The FOP Labor Council argued that arbitration is indeed appropriate because the grievance challenged neither the Borough’s prerogative to determine staffing levels nor its ability to determine when overtime work is necessary—issues that have long been recognized as a municipality’s managerial prerogative. The FOP Labor Council argued that the sole issue instead is whether the Chief’s general order would give him sole discretion over the allocation of overtime opportunities among qualified officers. As the FOP Labor Council rightly asserted, there is a significant difference between the general allocation of manpower or the decision that overtime is needed in the first place as opposed to the allocation of that overtime among qualified employees.

The Public Employment Relations Commission agreed with the FOP Labor Council, finding that although the Chief’s general order did state a concern that officers should not work for an extended period of time without rest, the Borough made no showing whatsoever that this was a legitimate managerial concern in its police department. The Commission observed that the New Jersey Supreme Court held in Paterson Police PBA No. 1 v. City of Paterson, 87 N.J. 78, 92-92 (1981), that an item will only be deemed a managerial prerogative if (1) the item is either a term or condition of employment; (2) it is mandated by statute or regulation; or (3) it places substantial limitations on a municipality’s policy-making powers. If none of the above conditions are present, the item is either permissively or mandatorily negotiable and arbitration is appropriate when the municipality foregoes negotiation on such issues.

In its scope-of-negotiations determination, the Public Employment Relations Commission found that the Chief’s general order ultimately infringed upon the permissively negotiable topic of the allocation of overtime opportunities, and that arbitration of the FOP’s grievance would not substantially limit the Borough’s policy-making powers. As a result, the Commission refused the Borough’s request to restrain arbitration.

The grievance now goes to trial before a Commission-appointed neutral arbitrator.

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