Massachusetts HRD has indicated that there is a need for greater participation in the exam survey.  There has been limited participation up to now. The response goal is 300 participants for Captain, 350 participants for Lieutenant and 420 participants for Sergeant.  The survey was designed by the vendor and is necessary to defend any future test in response to Tatum et al v. Commonwealth of Mass HRD.

In large part, the decision contains a statistical analysis of how, according to the court, the promotional exam unfairly impacts minority communities. The case was a class action brought by individuals employed in many cities and towns and is part of litigation dating back to 2005. Several exam periods were examined (2005 – 2012). This ruling – the first phase of the trial – determined that the Commonwealth interfered with the right to be considered for promotion without regard to race or national origin, and that the Commonwealth was aware for many years that it was perpetuating a “discriminatory system” and failed to take steps to fix it.

The case was decided by a single superior court judge during a bench trial.  He found, among other things, that

  • the multiple-choice format was not related to a sergeant’s job duties.
  • the memorization format had a discriminatory impact on minorities.
  • the Education and Experience weighted component was not justified.
  • that better alternatives were available, such as fewer test questions, removal of memorization format, smaller reading lists, making the test “pass-fail”, banding scores, assessment centers, and interviews, etc.

Without further participation in the survey both the makeup exam scheduled for summer as well as the regular September exam cannot go forward.  Although the exam is lengthy, we strongly encourage you to participate in the survey to advance the process.


NEPBA Wins Case in Front of the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court

From the desk of Executive Secretary Bill Ryan

After the New England Police Benevolent Association, Inc., Local 192 (NEPBA), replaced the International Brotherhood of Teamsters, Local 25 (Local 25), as the exclusive bargaining representative for the emergency dispatchers in the city of Chelsea (City), the NEPBA sought to arbitrate a grievance regarding the termination of a dispatcher that occurred following the change in union representation. The NEPBA and the city had not yet bargained to a new contract at the time of the termination, but employees had been working pursuant to the terms and conditions of the city’s prior collective bargaining agreement with Local 25, which contained an arbitration provision.

The Parties submitted to an arbitrator the question whether the dispute was arbitrable. The arbitrator ruled that it was. The city then appealed from a Superior Court order confirming the arbitrator’s decision. While the city’s appeal was pending in front of the Massachusetts Appeals court, the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court (MA SJC), on its own initiative, transferred the case from the Appeals court. On January 6, 2023 the Parties conducted oral arguments in front of the MA SJC, with attorney Thomas Horgan representing the NEPBA. On March 8, 2023 the MA SJC issued their decision finding in favor of NEPBA on all contested issues.

The MA SJC determined that there were three interrelated issues that needed to be resolved. First, they looked at whether the issue in dispute (the employee discharge) was covered by the arbitration provision from the collective bargaining agreement? Second, they considered whether the agreement with the predecessor union had expired or whether it had been extended by the parties? After determining that the answer to these first two questions was “Yes”, the Court then looked at what, if any, effect the change in union representation would have on a CBA, that also contained an arbitration provision, both of which were properly extended beyond a three-term pursuant to the terms of the Parties CBA.

The MA SJC determined that the dispute at issue was arbitrable because (1) the dispute clearly would have been covered by the broad arbitration provision negotiated by the city and the prior union, if the contract with the city had remained in effect; (2) that the arbitrator, acted within her authority when she found that the contract was extended by the city according to the terms of the contract, and the Court deferred to the arbitrator’s contractual interpretation on this issue; and (3) that the labor relations act entitles a successor union to “step into the shoes of its predecessor” and enforce an arbitration provision in a collective bargaining agreement negotiated by its predecessor expanding on the prior MA Appeals Court decision from 2005 in Watertown v. Watertown Mun. Employees Ass’n, 63 Mass. App.Ct. 285, 291 (2005).

Attorney Thomas Horgan represented the NEPBA in this matter.

A copy of the MA SJC decision has bene attached for review.


Above from L-R: Officer Roodi Morin, Sgt. Ryan Geary, Officer Marta Kania, Sgt. John Samuels, and Officer Kevin Coughlin

On Tuesday, March 7 at approximately 1400 hours a citizen was entering Boston City Hall and fell over the counter at security checkpoint at 3rd floor lobby entrance. Officer Kania realized the man was unconscious and lowered him to the floor to check for a pulse. She immediately realized there was no pulse, she requested back up and operations to dispatch Boston EMS due to a cardiac arrest. Sgts. and Officers came to aid Officer Kania with CPR compressions and AED setup to help with reviving the citizen. The AED gave a shock and we were able to get the citizen breathing again before Boston EMS and Boston Fire showed up on scence. Boston EMS Paramedics took over the scene, when they arrived, and the citizen went to the hospital breathing. This citizen is still alive today because of the actions these Officers and Sgts. carried out in a moment of panic and distressed. Their training and preparation, for the unknown, helped them have a positive result during this emergency. All Officers and Sgts. were recognized by Boston Mayor Michelle Wu, Council President Ed Flynn, and all of the Boston City Council on March 8, 2023