BEFORE THE ARBITRATOR
IN THE MATTER OF THE ARBITRATION OF A DISPUTE BETWEEN
UNITED REGIONAL MEDICAL SERVICES, INC.
WISCONSIN FEDERATION OF NURSES AND HEALTH
PROFESSIONALS, LOCAL 5001, AFT, AFL-CIO
Case 10 No. 54479 A-5522
Ms. Carol Beckerleg, Field
Representative, for the Union.
Ms. Carol L. Wichmann, Director of
Human Resources, for the Employer.
Pursuant to the terms of their 1996 Memorandum of Agreement, the parties asked the
Employment Relations Commission to assign a member of its staff to act as arbitrator. I was
Hearing was held in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, on February 24, 1997. No transcript was
made of the
hearing. The parties filed post-hearing briefs and the record was closed April 17, 1997,
received a letter from parties advising me they would not be filing reply briefs.
The parties agreed that the issue I am to decide is:
Whether Damingo Jones was correctly paid under Section 2.29, for the leave
that he requested in
order to attend a four hour seminar on May 10, 1996? If not, what remedy is
2.29 SEMINAR/CERTIFICATION FEE AND TUITION
Seminar Leave and Reimbursement . . .
Page 2 A-5522
(b) When an employe is authorized to attend a seminar irrespective of the
manner of reimbursement,
the employe shall be permitted to attend during the employe's normally
scheduled working hours.
In the event the employe is scheduled for p.m.'s or nights, the employe's schedule shall be
to permit attendance during the day. However, attendance at seminars on regularly
days shall not be compensated.
Employes attending seminars will be credited with paid leave during their
scheduled shift for that
day, but will be expected to return to duty if two (2) or more hours of work can be
completed on the
shift for that day.
The term "authorized" shall mean permission of or direction by the employer.
Jones is a third shift employe working 11:00 p.m. to 7:00 a.m. in Milwaukee. In
April 1996, Jones
received permission to attend a seminar in Appleton, Wisconsin, on May 10, 1996, from
The Employer advised Jones that he would only be allowed four hours paid leave time
for the seminar
and offered him four hours of work to fill out his shift. Jones did not accept the work
attended the seminar and then filed a grievance alleging he should have received eight hours
leave for May 10.
The Employer contends the contract is silent as to whether it must pay employes such
as Jones for
more than the time actually spent attending the seminar. However, the Employer asserts that
a consistent previously unchallenged practice of only knowingly paying for time actually
spent at a
seminar. The Employer argues its practice should prevail over the inconsistent evidence of
practice presented by the Union.
The Union asserts the second paragraph of Section 2.29(1)(b) clearly entitles Jones to
pay because he would not have been able to return from Appleton to Milwaukee to complete
more hours of work before the end of a 6:30 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. first shift. The Union
position is also consistent with the parties' past practice.
I find that Section 2.29(1)(b) does entitle employes to eight hours paid leave on the day
attendance if an employe returning from the seminar would arrive at work less
than two hours before
the end of the shift.
Employes who would arrive at work from a seminar more than two hours before the
end of their shift
are required to work the end of their shift, but receive paid leave for the time spent returning
I further find that application of these contract rights to Jones entitles him to eight
Page 3 A-5522
Contrary to the Employer's contentions, the contract is not silent on the question of
leave is to be calculated. The contract specifies that "Employes attending seminars
will be credited
with paid leave during their scheduled shift for that
day . . ." (emphasis added). As argued by the
Union, the clear intent of this language is to provide the employe with no loss (or gain via
of pay for a day when an employe is attending a seminar instead of working. To the extent
Employer has presented evidence of a contrary past practice, I find the clear language
The contract also is not silent on the question of how a "p.m. or night"
shift will be "modified to
permit attendance during the day." In my view, the contractual references to
working hours" and "scheduled shift" establish intent that
"p.m. or night" shift employes be placed
on the most standard day shift hours for the purposes of seminar attendance. While the
presented credible evidence of a consistent practice of using the start of the seminar as the
the shift for "seminar leave" purposes, I find this practice conflicts with the
clear intent of the
contract and thus is of no consequence to the resolution of this dispute.
When Jones attended the May 10 seminar, the standard day shift hours were 6:30
a.m. to 3:00
p.m. Thus, this is the time frame against which Jones' entitlement to eight hours leave must
The May 10 seminar ended at noon. Jones was contractually entitled to a 30 minute
Thus, his departure time from Appleton was 12:30 p.m. for the purposes of Section 2.29
parties agreed the distance from seminar to work is 100 miles. Assuming a standard average
speed of 55 miles per hours, Jones would have been able to return to work slightly before
Because his shift ended at 3:00 p.m., he thus had no obligation to return to work as a
receiving eight hours pay for the day. Therefore, Jones is entitled to an additional four
and the Employer is ordered to make him whole in that amount.
It bears noting that nothing in the contract or this award entitles any employe to more
hours pay per day for seminar attendance. Employes who are required to return to work
work two or more hours ) and fail to do so risk discipline and lose entitlement to any
beyond time actually spent in attendance.
Dated at Madison, Wisconsin, this 11th day of August 1997.
Peter G. Davis /s/
Peter G. Davis, Arbitrator