BEFORE THE ARBITRATOR
In the Matter of the Arbitration between
SHEBOYGAN COUNTY PROFESSIONAL
LOCAL 437, AFSCME, AFL-CIO
(Mileage Reimbursement Grievance)
Ms. Helen Isferding, Staff Representative, Wisconsin Council
40, AFSCME, AFL-CIO, 1207 Main Avenue, Sheboygan, Wisconsin 53083, appearing on
behalf of the Union.
Ms. Louella Conway, Personnel Director, Sheboygan County,
Sheboygan County Courthouse, 615 North Sixth Street, Sheboygan, Wisconsin 53081,
appearing on behalf of the County.
The Sheboygan County Professional Employees Local 437, AFSCME, AFL-CIO
Union,") and Sheboygan County ("the County,") are parties to a collective bargaining
which provides for final and binding arbitration of disputes arising thereunder. On February
the Union filed a request with the Wisconsin Employment Relations Commission that it
member of its staff to hear and decide a grievance concerning the interpretation and
the terms of the agreement relating to reimbursement rates for miles driven on official
private autos. After extensive efforts at mediation failed, the Commission appointed Stuart
Levitan to serve as the impartial arbitrator. The parties stipulated to a record which was
on May 21, 1999. The County filed written argument on June 7; the Union filed written
on June 9 and June 22, 1999. The record closed on June 25, 1999 when the County waived
to file a reply brief.
The Union states the issue as:
"Did the employer violate the contract when it refused to pay
employes the higher rate of twenty-nine cents per mile for mileage? If so, what is the
The County states the issue as:
"Did the employer violate the contract when it required the
members of the bargaining unit to
provide evidence of insurance coverage limits, in order to receive the higher reimbursement
by the County Board, and if so, what is the appropriate remedy?
I frame the issue as follows:
Did the county violate the collective
bargaining agreement when it required members of the
bargaining unit to provide evidence of insurance coverage in order to receive a
of twenty-nine cents per mile? If so, what is the remedy?
Article 4 Management Rights
Sheboygan County may adopt reasonable and binding rules and
amend the same from time to
time and the Union agrees to cooperate in the enforcement thereof, and the herein paragraph
be subject to the provision of the grievance procedure.
Article 23 Expense
Social Workers of the Sheboygan County Health and Human
Services Department Division
of Social Services shall be reimbursed for all necessary expenses incurred in the performance
respective duties subject to the conditions and limitations set forth.
2. Mileage: Mileage shall be reimbursed at the rate
of twenty-four cents ($.24) per mile as
actually incurred in the performance of official duties. The date, destination and purpose of
shall be itemized with full detailed explanations.
In the event the County Board raises the
mileage rate or grants an increased mileage
reimbursement rate in any other labor contract involving county employes, such increases
paid effective as per said Board resolution or contract.
8. Amendments: It is agreed
by the employer that in the event the County Board of
Supervisors modifies the reimbursement and expense policy of Sheboygan County for its
or any portion thereof, said action of the Sheboygan County Board shall be incorporated
provisions of this contract and put into effect as of the effective date of the said County
This grievance concerns the County's insistence that bargaining unit members provide
of auto insurance in order to receive a higher level of reimbursement for miles driven in
on official business.
In the late summer of 1992, the County began to consider the issues of insurance and
for employes driving personal cars on county business. According to the August 20, 1992
of the Loss Prevention subcommittee on Vehicle Liability and Safety:
There is concern regarding the insurance and drivers records for
all employees using their own vehicles
for County business. We are going to have to do drivers record and insurance reviews on
their own vehicles for County business. Mat (Assistant Personnel Director Mat Brown) will
procedure for recommendation.
At its meeting of September 23, 1992, the subcommittee adopted a recommendation
for a two-tiered
system of mileage reimbursements a basic rate of $.26 and a rate of $.28 per mile
for employes providing
the County with evidence of insurance in the recommended amount. The subcommittee
wrote to the Loss
Prevention Committee as follows:
The Vehicle Liability and Safety sub-committee is recommending
to the Loss Prevention Committee that
the mileage reimbursement amount be established at two (2) different levels. For example, if
does not carry the
liability insurance, on the automobile being driven on County
business, the reimbursement would remain at $.26 per mile.
However, if the individual furnishes
evidence of insurance equal to or exceeding the recommended
coverage, they would receive the IRS allowable amount (As of 1-1-92 the amount is $.28 per
We are requesting your endorsement of this
proposal and we will greatly appreciate your support at the
Personnel Committee and on the Board floor.
The recommendation was signed by Chairman Fred Meifert
Members Glen Berg, Roger
Laning and Cameron Coleman.
According to the minutes of the County Loss Control Committee meeting of
September 25, 1992:
The Committee reviewed a letter from the vehicle and registration
subcommittee and Mr. Matthew
Brown, Assistant Personnel Director in which they would like to recommend to the
that there be two levels of mileage cost, one being the County Board approved rate of $.26
and the other
being $.28. The $.28 would be paid to employes who provide the County with evidence of
a brief discussion, a motion was made by Supervisor Gilligan and seconded by Supervisor
recommend to the Personnel Committee that Sheboygan County offer their employes two
levels of mileage
cost, with the higher cost being paid when evidence of insurability is provided. Motion
According to the minutes of the County Personnel Committee
meeting of October 1, 1992:
Mr. Matthew Brown, Assistant Personnel Director presented
information from the Loss Control
Committee regarding a mileage reimbursement incentive for those employes who carry
insurance on their automobile. After considerable discussion on the matter, a motion was
made by Supervisor
Goehring and seconded by Supervisor Gilligan to request Corporation Counsel draw a
resolution that would
continue the present mileague rate at twenty-six cents ($.26) per mile, however, any new
increase by the state
would only be given to those employes who provide evidence of the increased insurance
On November 17, 1992 the Sheboygan County Board of Supervisors unanimously
WHEREAS, Wisconsin County Mutual Insurance Corporation
(hereinafter "County Mutual"), the
insurance carrier for Sheboygan County, has recommended that the County require a
$100,000/$300,000/$50,000 liability insurance coverage be in effect for personal cars driven
employes, and officers for County purposes, and
WHEREAS, County Mutual has said
requiring such minimum standard for basic personal insurance
coverage will result in an annual savings to Sheboygan County of $2,216.00, and
WHEREAS, the present mileage
reimbursement is 26 cents per mile, and it is recommended that the
County freeze the mileage reimbursement rate at 26 cents per mile, unless the
employe/volunteer, on an
annual basis, provides the Personnel Department with proof of liability insurance coverage
equal to or greater
than $100,000/$300,000/$50,000 and if the employe/volunteer provides the required proof of
insurance, he/she would be reimbursed at the higher rate authorized by the State of
Wisconsin and approved
by the Personnel Committee as set forth in the County Code;
NOW, THEREFORE, the County Board of
Supervisors of the County of Sheboygan does ordain as
Section 1. Limiting Mileage
Reimbursement. The Sheboygan County Code of Ordinances is hereby
amended so that the provisions of Section 45.03 are amended by adding thereto the following
"But in no event shall such reimbursement exceed 26 cents per mile after January 1, 1993,
unless the mileage
claimant shall have filed with the Personnel Director proof that he or she has in effect
personal car insurance
which provides equal to or greater than $100,000/$300,000/$50,000 liability insurance
Section 2. Effective Date. The herein
Ordinance shall take effect on January 1, 1993.
Pursuant to the "me too" provisions of the collective
agreement, members of the
bargaining unit have received reimbursement at the rate of no less than twenty-six cents per
mile from a time
no later than adoption of this ordinance.
On January 19, 1993, the County Loss Prevention Committee distributed the
Do you drive your vehicle in behalf of Sheboygan County?
Do you claim mileage reimbursement for
the miles you drive in behalf of the County?
Do you know that the reimbursement rate is
$.26 per mile?
Do you know that the rate of reimbursement
will remain AT $.26 PER MILE?
UNLESS YOU FURNISH
THE PERSONNEL OFFICE WITH DOCUMENTATION
CONFIRMING that you are covered by liability insurance equal to, or greater than
$100,000/$300,000/$50,000, as per Ordinance 17 (92-93) as passed by the County Board.
What is acceptable documentation?
A copy of your policy! The single page
that your insurance company sends you after you've paid
the bill or you can have your insurance agent sent it to Mat Brown, Assistant Personnel
Sheboygan County, 615 North 6th Street, Sheboygan, WI 53081
Or just drop a copy off at the Personnel
Don't forget to furnish the copy ever time
you renew your policy. (Usually every 6 months).
If you do furnish documentation, you will
BENEFIT when the County Board increases the
Otherwise $.26 per mile is the higher
reimbursement rate that you will ever receive from the
On October 21, 1997, Union President J. Cameron Coleman
who five years prior had served
on the subcommittee which unanimously recommended the two-tiered system of mileage
reimbursements -- submitted the following grievance:
This grievance pertains to Article 23 Expense
Reimbursement and any other article or section that may
apply and/or any other violation of State or Federal laws that may apply.
On Wednesday, October 15, 1997, an all
agency staff meeting was held. At this meeting Mr. Gary
Johnson announced that the County Board may be passing an amendment to increase mileage
He also announced that this increase would not be granted to any employee who did not
documentation to the County. In other words the increase in the mileage rate will be linked
of an emplyees(sic) insurance coverage.
Article 23 clearly states 2. Mileage:
Mileage shall be reimbursed at the rate of twenty-four cents ($.24)
per mile as actually incurred in the performance of official duties. The date, destinations and
purpose of each
trip shall be itemized with full detailed explanations.
In the event the County Board raises the
mileage rate or grants an increased mileage reimbursement rate
in any other labor contract involving county employees, such increase shall be paid effective
as per said Board
resolution or contract .
This article clearly states that all employees
will be reimbursed at the new rate. Nowhere is it mentioned
that the reimbursement is tied to insurance coverage.
(This should be corrected by:) Management
will honor the contract as it is written and shall not tie
mileage reimbursement to insurance documentation. Any employees affected by this decision
shall be granted
monies owed as well as any other options entitled to under the contract. The County shall
make the grievant
On October 28, 1997, Ann Wondergem responded on behalf
the county as follows:
This is in response to the first step of the
grievance dated October 21, 1997. The grievance is denied
based on the following:
* Article 4 Management Rights
Reserved. This article provides that Sheboygan County may
adopt reasonable and binding rules and amend the same .
* Article 23 Expense
Reimbursement. Number 8 provides for amendments in the event the
County Board of Supervisors modifies the reimbursement and expense policy.
* Article 27
Grievance Procedure. This article provides the county shall not be required to
process any grievance filed more than thirty (30) days after the employer (sic) had notice of
the event .
The Sheboygan County Board of
Supervisors instituted the mileage reimbursement limitation effective
January 1, 1993. The vote on Ordinance No. 17 (1992-93) took place at the November 17,
Board meeting. Refer to the attached.
There is no violation of the labor
agreement. The grievance is denied.
After the Union advanced the grievance to the next step on
November 10, 1997, County Personnel
Director Louella Conway responded on January 31, 1998 as follows:
In response to your second step grievance appeal, please be
advised the County Board passed Ordinance
No. 17 (1992-93) RE: Mileage Reimbursement Limitation which outlined the provisions to
increase in mileage rate. This Ordinance outlines the requirements to receive any increase in
reimbursement. Individuals who have not submitted the required proof of insurance to
comply with the
Ordinance cannot be paid the higher rate.
There is no violation of the labor agreement. The grievance
Sheboygan County has coverage from the Wisconsin County Mutual Insurance
(WCMIC), for which Aegis Corporation is the general administrator. During this period,
Aegis and WCMIC
corresponded with the County Personnel Department on this issue. On November 20, 1997,
an Aegis official
wrote as follows:
Ms. Ruth Wilsing
RE: PERSONAL VEHICLE USE
Confirming our recent phone conversation,
auto liability insurance follows the vehicle. In other words,
the owner of the vehicle is responsible for the insurance on that vehicle.
The county has automobile liability provides
coverage for its' vehicles and covers county employees or
volunteers while using those vehicles. County employees or volunteers who use their own
while working on behalf of the county must carry their own personal auto liability insurance.
auto insurance would apply as primary coverage in the event of a loss and the county's
liability policy would
apply in excess of that personal auto policy.
The Wisconsin County Mutual Insurance
Corporation requests that the county obtain evidence of
insurance from any employee or volunteer who regularly uses his/her vehicle while working
on behalf of the
county. Following our recommended limits of liability the county should request:
County Employees - $100,000 Bodily
Injury/$100,000 Property Damage
County Volunteer no minimum
limits requirement applies.
It is the county's decision to accept these
minimum limit recommendations.
If you have any questions, please do not
hesitate to call.
On March 31, 1998, a WCMIC official wrote as follows:
Ms. Ruth Wilsing
RE: Non-owned auto
Dear Ms. Wilsing:
Thank you for contacting me the other day
on the issue of limits of automobile liability insurance that
county employees should carry on their own vehicle when required to drive as course of
I must first commend you, your staff and the members of the
Loss Prevention Committee for developing
and implementing the system and procedures used for managing the information regarding
the insurance limits
for employee used vehicles. It is a comprehensive system that is contained in one
department, namely yours,
which means greater control over timeliness of reporting and a centralized data base. Since
it is contained
in your department, department heads do not have to manage this data individually.
By definition, a mutual insurance company
is owned and operated by policy holders whereby, all policy
holders have a vested interrest in the sound practical operation of the company. The
Mutual Insurance Company is currently made up of 55 counties which is ideal for a mutual
company structure as the group is quite homogeneous. The rating structure for Wisconsin
Insurance Company can also be quite aggressive due to the commonality of the insured
One of the important components to the
rating structure used is the understanding that each member of
the mutual agrees to apply the same controls over for similar expenses that are underwritten
rated. All of the Wisconsin County Mutual Insurance Company members are applying the
limits to their non-owned auto as in Sheboygan County. Some counties have even started
asking for $500,000 limit instead of
merrely 100/300/100. Company-wide, there has been little resistance or complaint.
An extremely important direct benefit that
can not be overlooked is to the financial security and
protection of the individual employee. Considering the higher costs of liability judgments
relating to the high cost of auto property damage losses, the recommended limits are still
Sheboygan County also enjoys the benefit in
the premium of a loss history credit underwriting. If the
oss history were to deteriorate the door swings the other way and the underwriter would be
able to apply up
to a 30% debit.
Since the county has a $50,000 per claim
deductible and a $250,000 annual aggregate, the current annual
deductible fund is at $169,330 which is held to pay claims under the deductible. Typically,
County has received approximately 53% of the deductible fund back on an annual basis as
this is what has
not been used during the course of the policy year. Should the resolution requiring
100/300/100 limits be
changed, the deductible fund could quickly be used for claim dollars not previously seen, and
deductible refund the county receives grow smaller.
Another immediate dollarr loss would be felt in a portion of the
5% Loss Control points the county has
been receiving due to the loss control efforts. Managing the limits of liability of non-owned
autos is a
requirement that needs to be met inorder to receive a credit.
It is the Wisconsin County Mutual
Insurance Company's recommendation that the current resolution in
place seeks the 100/300/100 limit of the owners of the non-owned autos NOT be changed.
If you have any questions regarding this
letter, please feel free to give me a call at 800-236-6885.
Vance L. Forrest
Wisconsin County Mutual Insurance
The collective bargaining agreement between the parties (and
their predecessors in interest) has
undergone several changes in its relevant provisions over the last thirty years. From October
December 31, 1971, the relevant language read as follows:
Mileage: Mileage shall be reimbursed at the rate of
ten cents (10c) per mile as actually incurred in the
performance of official duties. The date, destination, and purpose of each trip shall be
itemized with full
Effective January 1, 1972, the collective bargaining agreement
kept the dime rate and added the
In the event the County Board raises the mileage rate such
increase shall be paid effective as per said
The parties increased the rate to fifteen cents per mile effective January 1, 1976,
maintaining all other
language. The following year the parties amended the final sentence to read:
In the event the County Board raises the mileage rate or grants an
increased mileage reimbursement rate
in any other labor contract involving county employes such increase shall be paid effective as
per said Board
resolution or contract.
Effective January 1, 1991, the collective bargaining agreement
increased the reimbursement rate to
twenty-four cents per mile, maintaining all other relevant language. It is this language which
is still in effect.
Effective January 1, 1996, the collective bargaining agreement between the County
Sheboygan Federation of Nurses and Health Professionals, Local 5011, AFT, AFL-CIO (the
employes of the Division of Public Health and Division of Community Services) has
contained the following
Mileage: Mileage shall be reimbursed at the rate of
twenty-six cents ($.26) per mile as actually incurred
in the performance of official duties. The date, destination and purposes of each trip shall be
full detailed explanations. The County reserves the right and at its option, to place into use,
fleet vehicles for all official county duties. Use of county fleet vehicles would eliminate use
of private vehicles
for official county duties.
In the event the County Board raises the
mileage rate or grants an increased mileage reimbursement rate
in any other labor contract involving county employes, such increase shall be paid effective
as per said Board
resolution or contract.
Effective January 1, 1997, the collective bargaining agreement between the County
County Supportive Services, Local 110, AFSCME, AFL-CIO, has contained the following
Mileage: Mileage shall be reimbursed at the rate of
twenty-six cents ($.26) per mile unless changed to
a higher figure by the County Board. Payment is made to the employe who furnishes the
automobile that is
used in the performance of official duties. The date, destination and purpose of each trip
shall be itemized
with full detailed explanation for the immediate supervisors (sic) approval.
As noted above, the 1992 ordinance setting the two-tiered reimbursement set the basic
rate at twenty-six cents per mile, with a provision for a future "higher rate authorized by the
State of Wisconsin and
approved by the Personnel Committee as set forth in the County Code." In 1997, the State of
increased the authorized mileage rate to twenty-nine cents per mile.
Since that time, the County has applied the two-tiered policy throughout its workforce,
with no grievances
other than the instant proceeding.
As of May 1999, 32 of the 41 members of the bargaining unit receiving mileage
insurance documentation on file, qualifying them for the higher reimbursement rate.
POSITIONS OF THE PARTIES
In support of its position that the grievance should be sustained, the Union asserts and
The bargaining unit employes should receive the higher
reimbursement rate of twenty-nine cents per mile
because the language of the collective bargaining agreement does not tie a mileage increase
to a higher
insurance rate. The contract is specific in what is required to get reimbursement; the
are that the employe to receive mileage itemize with full detail the date, destination and
purpose of each trip.
There are no other negotiated requirements.
The "me too" clause in the second part of
the language goes to the "rate or increase." The third part of
the language says that either the County increase or the other Union increases are payable to
when passed by resolution or contract. The last part of the language "such shall be paid
effective as per said
Board resolution or contract" addresses the starting date to pay the higher rate, not any
requirement in a
resolution or contract. The decision of Arbitrator McLaughlin in Buffalo
County is on point and supports the
Union argument, while the case which the employer cites is neither on point nor relevant.
In arguing for a reimbursement rate of
twenty-nine cents, the Union is not being illogical or greedy this
rate is firmly grounded in the language of the contract. By its actions here, the employer is
additional $2,126 while unit members will have to pay an additional $3,800 in extra
insurance to collect the
higher reimbursement rates. The employer and the insurance company have a good scam
going! And it won't
The employer should negotiate additional
requirements for increased mileage rates, if it desires them. The
parties have previously agreed on the requirements of giving the date, destination and
purpose of each trip;
the mileage increases should be automatic as long as the employer increases it by resolution
and/or in another
The employer should be ordered to cease
and desist from making the increased insurance a requirement
for the higher mileage rate, and all affected employes should be made whole.
In support of its position that the grievance should be denied, the County asserts and
avers as follows:
The provisions of the collective bargaining agreement are clear,
and indicate that any higher rate of
reimbursement will be paid consistent with County Board resolution. This cannot be
interpreted in any way
but to give it clear meaning. As in a case involving the Michigan Nurses Association, the
based on County Board action.
Further, the employer has the right to
establish rules and amend them under the provisions of the
Management Rights clause.
At the time the County adopted the relevant
ordinance, there were no grievances filed with regard to the
change in the requirement for the higher reimbursement rate. Nor was there any discussion
or changes in
subsequent labor agreements. This failure to address the issue by the bargaining unit portrays
of the rule change as outlined by the County Board.
There are differences in the specifics which
make the Buffalo County case a poor comparison and
basically inapplicable to the situation before the arbitrator. But to the extent that that
decision found mileage
reimbursement to be a mandatory subject of bargaining, the Union here did not attempt to
changes in the relevant language, indicating that it was not concerned that the County Board
policy back in 1993.
The labor agreement is clear. The
reimbursement is based on the contract language which references that
any change shall be paid as per Board resolution or contract. The County granted the Union
ample time to
address the change as provided in the 1992-93 ordinance. However, the unit chose not to,
and the issue was
never brought up at the bargaining table.
Management rights provides that the
employer can adopt reasonable and binding rules and amend the
same from time to time and the Union agrees to cooperate in the enforcement thereof. A
grievance was not
filed when the County Board adopted the ordinance, a reasonable rule, indicating that any
increase in mileage
rate would be tied to the proof of liability insurance coverage. The bargaining unit chose not
to address this
issue through negotiations even though they had several opportunities to do so.
The employer did not violate the collective bargaining agreement
when it required evidence of liability
insurance coverage in order to receive a higher mileage reimbursement rate. The contract
language is clear.
It references County Board action as a catalyst to any change and the change shall be
effective as per such
action. Based on these reasons there is no violation of the labor agreement and the grievance
must be denied.
In its reply brief, the Union reiterates its position that the
collective bargaining agreement is
specific in its requirements, and that the negotiated provisions do not include reference to
as a condition for mileage reimbursement. The Union further states that, given the difference
the language at issue in this instant grievance and the language in other collective bargaining
agreements, the lack of grievances filed by other locals is irrelevant.
This grievance concerns the county's decision to require members of the bargaining
obtain insurance coverage in order to receive an additional three cents per mile in mileage
Under the terms of the collective bargaining agreement, members of the bargaining
use their personal vehicles in the performance of their official duties are guaranteed a
rate of twenty-four cents per mile. In order to receive this reimbursement, they must submit
explanations stating the date, destination and purpose of each trip.
The agreement also provides to members of the bargaining unit a higher rate in the
County Board raises the rate or grants an increased reimbursement rate in any other labor
with such increase "paid effective as per said Board resolution or contract."
For approximately the past seven years, the basic reimbursement rate for all county
has been twenty-six cents. Consistent with the requirements of the collective bargaining
the employer has paid that basic rate.
Pursuant to a 1992 county ordinance, the employer has also offered a second, higher
(currently twenty-nine cents), with one condition on its availability employes who
seek the higher
rate must submit evidence of insurance coverage at a certain level set by the County Board.
Union argues that this violates the terms of the collective bargaining agreement, by adding an
additional criterion beyond the itemized statement of date, destination and purpose. The
contends that the added condition is clearly contemplated by the reference to a Board
is a reasonable and binding rule as authorized by the Management Rights Clause.
The Union contends that Arbitrator Richard McLaughlin's Award in Buffalo County,
63, No. 56914, MA-10456 (3/99), is applicable and supportive of its position. I find that it is
The language in the collective bargaining agreement that Arbitrator McLaughlin
read as follows:
The County shall reimburse employees for the use of their
automobile on County business at the
rate of twenty-six cents per mile or County policy, whichever is greater, effective January 1,
As in the case before me, Buffalo County sought to have its employes provide their
primary liability coverage for the use of their private automobiles on official business.
McLaughlin found it could not do so under the terms of the collective bargaining agreement,
Union asserts I should reach a like result in this proceeding. There are several aspects,
which distinguish the two cases, including fundamental differences in the language under
the impact of the respective employer's actions.
Noting that this language was in the Appendix on Wage Schedules, Arbitrator
determined that the reference to "County policy" was "to a rate only," and that the placement
language in the appendix "underscores that it creates a debt from the County to the employe
the employe's provision of a service." Arbitrator McLaughlin specifically found that the
"not make the debt conditional," and that the reference to "County policy" would apply "only
rate set by that policy is greater than twenty-six cents per mile."
No such interpretive aspects are present in the case before me. The language under
is not limited to an exclusively economic aspect such as a wage appendix, but is instead in
governing a variety of aspects of expense reimbursement.
There are also significant distinctions in the processes the respective employers
County of Buffalo implemented its determination unilaterally and peremptorily. The County
Sheboygan undertook a significant and public process reviewing the issue, a process that
participation of union members. The Sheboygan County process also included the
adoption of an ordinance amendment, with all attendant notice.
There is also a significant distinction in the respective impact of the employers'
County of Buffalo forbade any mileage reimbursement at all unless the employe followed its
on insurance coverage; the County of Sheboygan has maintained the levels in the
collective bargaining agreement (and in fact has paid a rate higher than that noted in
bargaining agreement, in keeping with the agreement's so-called "me too" provision), and
a separate, higher rate for those who choose to provide insurance coverage.
The Union contends that the phrase "shall be paid effective as per said Board
contract," refers only to the date the new provision became operative rather than its
details. While there is some support for this interpretation -- The American Heritage
the English Language defines "effective," as "in effect," in keeping with the need for laws
ordinances to have "effective dates" this aspect is far from dispositive.
What the Union fails to acknowledge, however, is that all
employes, represented or
otherwise, must first comply with the insurance criterion in order to receive the higher
rate. The Union wants the benefits that other employes have been offered a
reimbursement rate of
twenty-nine cents per mile without the attendant duty of providing the insurance
coverage that all
other employes are required to provide to attain that higher reimbursement rate.
The Union says that requiring the employes to provide their own primary coverage
for work-related auto use shows how the employer and its insurance company "have a good
scam going!" I
do not discount the Union's analysis that the employer will save more in insurance costs
to employes than it will pay in higher mileage reimbursements; certainly, the employer has
economic decision that it is in its interests, economic and otherwise, to place upon employes
burden, economic and otherwise, of maintaining the primary insurance coverage for their
of their private automobiles. 1/
1/ This award expresses
no opinion on the issue of owning and operating a motor vehicle
without adequate insurance.
But to conclude that the County benefits from this arrangement is not to conclude that
so only by violating the collective bargaining agreement.
The Counties of Buffalo and Sheboygan both sought to have their employes assume
financial and administrative burden of providing the primary auto insurance coverage, even
cars were in use on official business. Buffalo County's method was the restriction of
payment of mileage reimbursement on the provision of such insurance; Sheboygan County's
has been the inducement of an increase in the mileage reimbursement beyond the base levels.
Arbitrator McLaughlin sustained the grievance before him because he found that
County's method improperly violated specific provisions of the applicable collective
agreement. Because I find no such violation in the matter before me, I reach a contrary
The collective bargaining agreement before me provides that covered employes will
a reimbursement rate of twenty-four cents per mile for the use of their personal autos for
business. It further provides that, if the employer raises the mileage rate or grants an
reimbursement in any other labor contract, such increases "shall be paid effective as per
resolution or contract."
The County of Sheboygan has set a basic reimbursement rate of twenty-six cents per
which it provides to all covered employes, including those in this unit, who meet standard
and reporting requirements. It further offers to all employes, including those in this unit, an
of an additional three cents per mile so they will provide primary auto insurance.
In so doing, the employer is paying increased reimbursements as per Board resolution
contract. Its actions are not in violation of the terms of the collective bargaining agreement.
Accordingly, on the basis of the collective bargaining agreement, the record evidence
arguments of the parties, it is my
That the grievance is denied.
Dated at Madison, Wisconsin this 30th day of July, 1999.
Stuart Levitan, Arbitrator