NEPBA Attorney Gary Nolan of Nolan | Perroni, PC recently won an important arbitration decision that will benefit members of six (6) Worcester County Sheriff’s Office academy classes – dating back to 2018. As a result, retroactive, bonus personal days will be granted for qualifying officers.
In the case, the Union argued that (1) the previous practice of waiting 6 months before a “bonus personal day” could be earned was replaced by the State Sick Time law’s waiting period of 90-days; and (2) that probationary officers began to earn bonus time immediately upon completing the 90-day period. The Worcester Sheriff’s Office denied the union’s request for all academy classes, and despite the changes in the law and in the CBA, the Sheriff was continuing to make new officers wait a full nine (9) months before they could receive any bonus time.
The arbitrator held that “the contract favors the Union’s interpretation of the contract in large measure,” and agreed with the union that “with the removal of the six-month bar for earning paid sick leave, the parties tacitly agreed or should have understood that the benefit would be awarded to officers who have earned and may take paid sick leave provided he or she does not use a sick day in the qualifying quarter.” Thanks to the efforts of Local 550 President Kevin Carlo in ensuring no academy class was left out of any compromise, this case went all the way through arbitration and the result was an award that benefits all six affected recruit classes.
From the desk of Bill Ryan