BEFORE THE ARBITRATOR
In the Matter of the Arbitration of a Dispute Between
LINCOLN COUNTY HIGHWAY
LOCAL 332, AFSCME, AFL-CIO
Mr. Philip Salamone, Representative, on behalf of the Union.
Mr. John Mulder, Administrative Coordinator, on behalf of the
The-above captioned parties, herein "Union" and "County", are parties to a collective
bargaining agreement providing for final and binding arbitration. Pursuant thereto, hearing
held in Merrill, Wisconsin, on September 29, 1997. The hearing was not transcribed. I
issued a bench decision, which this Award augments.
This case turns on Article VI, Section A, entitled "Seniority", which states:
A. Seniority: It shall be the policy of the
Employer to recognize seniority in filling
vacancies, making promotions and in laying off or rehiring, provided, however, that the
application of seniority shall not materially affect the efficient operation of the Lincoln
The Union asserts that the County under this language was required on March 15, 1997, to call in grievant Hugh Gross for snowplowing duties because he had more seniority than the other employe who was called in and because a "vacancy" therefore existed which dictated that the most senior employe - i.e., Gross - be called in.
The Union's reliance on the word "vacancy", however, is misplaced because it is
understood that that word refers to a permanent vacant position, not a mere
That is why Article VIII, entitled "Job Posting and Trial Period", spells out in Section A
that the posting procedure must be followed "whenever a vacancy occurs. . ." Here, it
been utterly ludicrous to have posted the overtime opportunity for five days before it could
assigned, which is what Article VIII requires. Once that fundamental point is understood, it
becomes clear that the contract does not require snowplowing opportunities to be based
The record also shows that there is no well-established past practice supporting the
position. Instead, the County over the years has relied on a number of factors in determining
should be called in, with seniority being one of those considerations.
Given all this, there is no merit to the Union's claim that Gross should have been
in on March 15, 1997.
Gross also claims that he was never called on March 9, 1997, for a prior
opportunity. The County, in turn, contends that he was called by telephone but that he never
picked up the phone.
Given the apparent confusion over this issue, I find that Gross is not entitled to any
backpay, but that he should be assigned the first snowplowing opportunity in this calendar
to make up for the one he missed on March 9, 1997.
In light of the above, it is my
That the County did not violate the contract when it failed to call in Hugh Gross for
March 13, 1997 snowplowing opportunity. However, the County shall offer Hugh Gross the
snowplowing opportunity to make up for the one he missed on March 9, 1997. 1
Dated at Madison, Wisconsin, this 14th day of October, 1997.
Amedeo Greco /s/
Amedeo Greco, Arbitrator
1. This finding is based upon the facts of this case and
does not address what the County is
obligated to do relating to snowplowing on state roads.