BEFORE THE ARBITRATOR
In the Matter of the Arbitration of a Dispute Between
LOCAL 2485, AFSCME, AFL-CIO
SCHOOL DISTRICT OF WAUKESHA
The above-captioned parties, herein "Union" and "District", are signatories to a
bargaining agreement providing for final and binding arbitration. Pursuant thereto, hearing
in Waukesha, Wisconsin, on July 1, 1998. The hearing was transcribed and both parties
that were received by July 30, 1998. Based upon the entire record and arguments of the
issue the following Award.
Since the parties were unable to jointly agree on the issue, I have framed it as
Did the District violate Article XXII of the contract when
it failed to promote grievant John
W. Vetta to the Storekeeper position and, if so, what is the appropriate remedy?
Grievant Vetta, the Head Custodian at the Lowell School, has been employed by the
for 19 years. The District on March 12, 1997, (unless otherwise stated, all dates hereinafter
1997) posted the following Storekeeper position:
STOREKEEPER -- SERVICE BUILDING
* Primary Duties with multi-craft responsibilities
* Salary as per the contract --
* Primary Work Day -- First
* A minimum
of three years of full time professional experience in general warehousing,
including inventory control, fixed assets, bar coding, computer and math skills, as well as
reports directly to the Manager of Custodial Operations and work closely with
Assistant Business Manager
EXPECTATIONS AND RESPONSIBILITIES:
* Shipping/Receiving and the
handling of requisitions and purchase orders
* Filling orders
from warehouse requisitions for custodial supplies art and instructional
materials, and health room items
* Delivery and
disbursement of supplies
organizational and planning skills
relations -- the ability to communicate well at all levels
* Ability to
operate independently and as a team member
* Work in a
cooperative and positive manner with the school district administration and staff,
as well as the public
* Knowledge of
custodial supplies, especially floor care products desirable
* Maintain an
inventory of supplies
attitude and work ethic, accountability and pride in accuracy
* Take direction
and complete tasks in a safe and satisfactory manner
responsibility for district property security
perform primary duties and essential functions including activities that involve
irregular, intermittent, and repetitive activities including stairs, ladders, scaffolding, lifting
transporting items of sixty (60) pounds or less
* Maintain a
Wisconsin driver's license
complete daily and scheduled records and paper work
tasks as assigned by supervisors
* This position
does not comprise the complete listing of essential functions and primary duties
of the job description, nor the complete list of requirements and qualifications
Vetta and 17 other applicants bid for said position, including Arturo Rendon who was
ultimately awarded the position.
In support of his application, Vetta on March 20 submitted the following memo to
Director of Human Resources Paul Roberts:
. . .
My qualifications for the Storekeeper posting, Service
Building position are as follows:
1. Six months
U.S. Navy Supply Dept. dealing with inventory, and supply requisitions.
2. Two years
R.T.E. Corp. Shipping and Receiving Dept. Loading and unloading trucks with
fork lift, and working with bills of lading, and inventory manifests.
3. Two years at
A & A Trucking. Driving Semi-Truck, and fork lift in warehouse work loading
and unloading trucks, and delivery of certain warehouse items.
4. Eight years at
Spring City Trucking. Loading and unloading trucks and various dock work.
5. Six months at
Godfrey Corp. Filling all warehouse food items for delivery to local stores.
years Waukesha School District. Ordering and maintaining Custodial Supplies.
Keeping a running inventory of supplies, and knowledge of cleaning supplies. Maintaining
a balanced budget.
knowledge obtained September 1994 W.C.T.C.
computer knowledge in Windows 95, Micro Soft Office, Word, and experience with
Internet and World Wide Web.
. . .
The County appointed a six-member committee to evaluate all of the 18 applicants
for said position. The committee consisted of Assistant Business Manager Mark Powell,
Supervisor Peter Gerber, Custodial Supervisor Don Mertes, Art Department Chair Jeff
Comptroller Doug Linsee and Secretary LeeAnn McCartney. The committee determined that
the applicants, including Grievant Vetta, who was the most senior applicant, were unqualified
position and it therefore only interviewed the five candidates it considered qualified. The
May 29 subsequently awarded said position to Rendon.
Vetta filed a grievance on June 3 over the District's failure to award him said
leading to the instant proceeding.
POSITIONS OF THE
The Union argues that the District violated Article XXII of the contract when it failed
award Vetta the Storekeeper's position because Vetta was entitled under the contract to a
day trial period to establish whether he could perform all of the duties of said position and
the contract "provides little latitude to promote a less senior employee." The Union also
that the "selection process was flawed" because the District failed to ask Vetta for more
that would have proven his qualifications and because Vetta quickly could have learned how
perform bar coding, one of the listed requirements of the Storekeeper position. As a
Union asks that Vetta be awarded said position and that he be made whole.
The District, in turn, contends that "It is a cardinal principle that arbitrators will
management's assessment of whether an employe is qualified for a particular job" and that
deference is warranted here because it used "fair and reasonable criteria for determining the
qualifications"; because it followed proper procedures in determining which candidates were
for said position; and because the grievant was not qualified for the Storekeeper position.
The resolution of this issue turns on Article XXII of the contract, entitled
which states in pertinent part:
ARTICLE XXII -- PROMOTIONS
22.01 Job Vacancies.
Whenever any vacancy occurs, which the Employer is going to fill, due to
retirement or termination of the incumbent employee, the creation of a new position, or for
whatever reason, the job vacancy shall be made known to all employees through job posting.
a. Posting Procedure. A copy of each posting shall be mailed via
the school mail to each
employee in the bargaining unit. The Head of Building, or Acting Head of Building
in his/her absence, shall be responsible for making certain that each employee under
his/her direction is provided with a copy of each job posting. The Facilities Manager,
or designee, shall be responsible for the distribution of job postings to the Substitute
Day Custodians and the Substitute Night Custodians. A copy of each job posting
shall be forwarded to the President of Local 2485.
Information Application. The job posting shall set forth the job title, work
location, rate of pay, and a brief description of the job requirements and qualifications
desired. A minimum of five (5) working days and a maximum of ten (10) working
days will be allowed to permit interested employees to sign the job postings.
Employees signing the job posting shall return it to the Facilities Manager, or
Selection. The respondent qualified employee with the most seniority
shall be selected to fill
any job vacancy. (Emphasis added) If during a sixty (60) calendar day period the
employee fails to make satisfactory progress in the new job or he/she prefers to return to the
position he/she previously held, he/she may do so prior to the expiration of said sixty (60)
calendar day period and all other affected employees shall likewise return to positions
Qualifications. The determination of qualifications for a position will be
established by the
Facilities Manager, or designee. Employees responding to but not selected for a job opening
shall be so notified in writing. The qualifications of an employee to meet the job
are subject to the grievance procedure.
. . .
The key proviso here is Section 22.02 which states "The
employee with the most seniority shall be selected to fill any job vacancy", and the key
in this proviso is "qualified" because it mandates that employes must be qualified for any
posted position before they can exercise their seniority rights. Hence, if an
unqualified, he/she is automatically disqualified from any further consideration.
Qualifications, in turn, are established by the District pursuant to Section 22.03 which states:
"The determination of qualifications for a position will be established by the Facilities
Manager, or designee."
Here, Vetta was unqualified to perform some of the listed job duties, as evidenced by
testimony when he was asked:
Q: The next qualification was inventory control. Did
you have that experience?
A: Not per se because at that time, there were no
computers. Everything was done ata keypunch station. So the only thing I did have control
in is ordering and -- and receiving
delivering the product to the plant or -- or warehouse.
. . .
Q: Next qualification was experience with fixed
assets. Do you have that experience?
A: No, ma'am.
A: Not per se, no.
. . .
In addition, Vetta did not have three years of general warehousing experience, another
qualification for the job.
All this is why the District reasonably concluded Vetta was unqualified for the
position. It therefore was not required to award him said position in the hope that Vetta
himself in the sixty (60) day trial period provided for in Section 22.02, as any such trial
in only after a "respondent qualified employe" has met the District's
minimum qualifications, which
is something that Vetta failed to do.
Moreover, there is no merit to the Union's claim that the District was at fault in not
questions about Vetta's qualifications since: (1), it was Vetta's obligation to fully spell out
qualifications when he submitted his application to Executive Director of Human Services
and (2), any more such information cannot overcome the basic fact that Vetta does not have
the qualifications set forth in the Storekeeper's posting.
In light of the above, it is my
That the District did not violate Article XXII of the contract when it failed to
grievant John W. Vetta to the Storekeeper position; his grievance is therefore denied.
Dated at Madison, Wisconsin this 9th day of October, 1998.
Amedeo Greco, Arbitrator