BEFORE THE ARBITRATOR
In the Matter of the Arbitration of a Dispute Between
GREEN COUNTY PLEASANT VIEW HOME
LOCAL 1162, WCCME, AFSCME, AFL-CIO
(Schwartz and Wedig Discipline)
Mr. Thomas Larsen, Staff Representative, Wisconsin Council
AFSCME, 1734 Arrowhead
Drive, Beloit, WI 53511, appearing on behalf of Local 1162.
Mr. William Morgan, Corporation Counsel, Green County,
16th Avenue, Monroe,
WI 53566, appearing on behalf of Green County.
Pursuant to the provisions of the collective bargaining agreement
parties, Green County Pleasant View Home Employees, Local 1162, AFSCME (hereinafter
referred to as the Union) and Green County (hereinafter referred to as the County) requested
that the Wisconsin Employment Relations Commission designate a member of its staff to
as arbitrator of a dispute regarding discipline imposed on two employees, Alice Wedig and
Sherry Schwartz. The undersigned was so assigned. A hearing was held on September 14,
2000, at the Green County Courthouse in Monroe, Wisconsin, at which time the parties were
afforded the full opportunity to present such testimony, exhibits, other evidence and
arguments as were relevant to the dispute. No transcript was taken. The parties submitted
post hearing briefs, and the County submitted a reply, which was received on October 23,
2000, whereupon the record was closed.
Now, having considered the testimony, exhibits, other evidence,
language, arguments of the parties and the record as a whole, the undersigned makes the
To maximize the ability of the parties we serve to utilize the Internet
and computer software to research
decisions and arbitration awards issued by the Commission and its staff, footnote text is
found in the body of this
The parties agree that the issues before the Arbitrator are:
1. Did the County have good cause to
discipline the Grievants?
2. If not, what is the
Union recognizes the rights and responsibilities belonging solely to the County, prominent
by no means wholly inclusive are the right to hire, promote, discharge or discipline for
cause. The right to
decide the work to be done, and the location of the work. The Union also recognizes that
the County retains
all rights, powers or authority that it had prior to this Agreement except as modified by this
Reasonableness of management's decisions are subject to grievance procedure. However, the
this Article shall not be used for the purpose of undermining the Union or discriminating
against any of its
. . .
Conduct Of Business
. . .
3.09 The Union, as the exclusive representative of all
the employees in the bargaining unit, will represent all
employees, Union and non-Union, fairly and equally, and all employees in the Unit will be
required to pay
their proportionate share of the costs of collective bargaining and contract administration by
the Union. No
employee shall be required to join the Union, but membership in the Union shall be made
all employees who apply, consistent with the Union
and By-Laws. No employee shall be denied
Union membership because of race, creed, religion, color, sex, or age.
. . .
Discharge and Suspension
Employer may discharge any employee for good cause. An employee charged with an
immediate discharge, will be informed of such offense in writing at the time of his/her
discharge, and a copy
thereof shall be sent to the Union. All discharges shall be made in the presence of
employee's Stewards, if
possible. The Employer shall give at least one (1) warning notice in writing of a complaint
for other offenses
(those not involving immediate discharge) against such employee to the employee and the
Discharge without a warning notice is
authorized in cases of:
2. Working under the
influence of liquor or drugs
3. Willful destruction of
4. Physical or verbal
abuse of residents
from employer or other employees or residents
6. Failure of an
employee to report to work on three (3) consecutive scheduled shifts
without any notification to the Employer, unless due to circumstances beyond the
control of the employee.
. . .
7.06 CNA Registry. If a grievance is filed concerning
an employee discharge which is subjected to registry review
under state or federal law, arbitration of the grievance shall be held in abeyance pending a
decision by the
State. If the Employer suspends an employee during its investigation of conduct alleged to
rules, the suspension will be with pay until the Employer makes its decision. The parties
will be bound by
the State's decision on whether the employee committed abuse. If the State finds that no
abuse occurred, a
discharged employee shall be reinstated with back pay.
7.07 Levels of Discipline.
Discipline shall be administered on the principle that the discipline is to be corrective
in nature, not punitive. Normally, discipline shall be given in the following steps:
1st step oral warning
2nd step written
3rd step a second
written warning or suspension (up to 7 days)
4th step additional
suspension or discharge
In exceptional cases, discipline may
commence at the second or higher step depending on the severity of the
A warning shall be considered null if the
offense has not been repeated within twelve months. A suspension
shall be considered null after twenty-four months if the offense complained of has not been
. . .
Neither the Employer nor the Union shall discriminate in any manner whatsoever against any
because of race, creed, religion, color, national origin, or sex. The Employer and the Union
agree to comply
in all respects with the provisions of the Age Discrimination in Employment Act of 1967.
The Employer provides general governmental services to the people of Green
Wisconsin. Among these services is the operation of Pleasant View Home, a nursing facility
elderly. The Union is the exclusive bargaining representative for the Home's
including Certified Nursing Assistants (CNA's). The Grievants, Sherrie Schwartz and Alice
are CNA's at Pleasant View, as is Mary Jane Reinbold. Robin Stein is the
1st Shift Nursing
Coordinator and Pat Birkett is the Director of Nursing.
On Monday, February 28, 2000, an elderly resident, BWM, complained to Robin
the treatment she had received the day before from Wedig and Schwartz. According to
about 10:30 a.m. on Sunday, Wedig and Schwartz assisted her to the bathroom. Because of
ulceration on her heels, BWM needs help to stand, and often experiences pain when on her
two CNA's did not use a gait belt to transfer her from her wheelchair to the toilet. When
done, they began to transfer her back. Her knees buckled and she almost fell. Wedig told
"don't help her, let her struggle." When BMW complained about the terrible pain, Wedig
to "quit your whining you should reserve your strength to walk better." Wedig then
for a gait belt, but while she was gone, Wedig completed the transfer on her own.
According to BWM, when Schwartz returned to room, she and Wedig took her to the
lunchroom. As they tried to place her in the lift chair, her legs froze up and Wedig berated
her to sit back down in her wheelchair and they would just push her to the table. Wedig told
makes me sick that you don't help," accusing her of not trying to stand on her own. BWM
she was so upset she just sat at the table crying until her lunch arrived, and then she was not
According to BWM, after lunch, when she wanted to go back to her room, Wedig
Schwartz were summoned to help her. Wedig made the comment that if she ever was
BWM's room again, she would refuse. According to BWM, this hurt her feelings. She also
that they made a rude comment about another resident's wife who was standing in the hall.
asked why the woman was standing in the hall and Wedig replied that she was standing there
she was nosey and wanted to hear what was going on.
Stein reported the allegations to Birkett. Birkett investigated the complaints by
Wedig and Schwartz, as well as other staff members who were in the vicinity or had been
told of the
incident. Wedig said that during the morning transfer in the bathroom, BWM said it hurt
was pivoting, and acknowledged not using a gait belt because none was at hand. She denied
Schwartz to let BWM struggle or telling BWM to stop whining. According to Wedig, when
took BWM to the day room, another resident was sitting in her lift chair, and BWM said it
right, and that she would just stay in the wheelchair. Wedig noted that BWM was
pain the entire day. She acknowledged telling her to concentrate on using her energy to
denied the allegation of any verbal abuse.
Schwartz told Birkett that BWM was carrying on about her pain all day. During the
in the bathroom, BWM was very apprehensive, but Schwartz said that was normal for her,
she frequently said she was going to fall when she was in no danger of doing so. Wedig did
to concentrate on standing, but never told her to stop whining or shut her mouth. There was
belt available in the room, and Schwartz went to get one, but Wedig had completed the
the time she got back. When they took BWM to the day room, another resident was in her
The other resident got out, but BWM said she was too tired to move from her wheelchair to
chair, so they left BWM in her wheelchair. Schwartz told Birkett she did not help put BWM
to bed after lunch, and did not know of anything being said to her at that time.
Birkett also spoke with CNA Mary Jane Reinbold, who said she had helped Wedig
Schwartz transfer BWM from her bed that morning, and that during the transfer when BWM
complained, Wedig gestured to her lips and said "a little less of this and little more of this,"
to her feet. Social Worker Carole Knudson told Birkett that BWM had told her one of the
had told her to stop whining and conserve her energy. RN Dorene Lee told Birkett that
or Schwartz had told her that they almost lost BWM during a transfer, when her legs buckled
almost fell. Whichever one made the comments also
commented that BWM was not as cooperative with the transfers as she could be.
spoke with the woman who was supposedly standing in the hall, and who had been referred
nosey. That woman had no recollection of any remarks or incidents.
Based on this investigation, Birkett concluded that proper transfer procedures had not
followed, that there had been verbal abuse of a resident and that there had been a failure to
these violations. Nurse Lee was given a written reprimand for not reporting the improper
and Reinbold was verbally reprimanded for not intervening to stop Wedig from verbally
resident. Sherry Schwartz was given a written reprimand for not intervening to stop Wedig.
March 3rd disciplinary notice issued to her described the conduct leading to
. . .
Your involvement in the resident incident of 2/27/00 was not
acceptable. Your failure to act as
Resident Advocate, your failure to use a gait belt, and disrespect for Resident Rights
. . .
For her part, Wedig was given a three-day suspension. Her March
3rd disciplinary notice read:
. . .
You are being suspended for 3 working days, Friday, 3/03/00,
Saturday, 3/04/00, and Sunday
3/05/00 without pay due to the resident incident of 2/27/00. You displayed a disrespectful
of Residents Rights in caring for [BWM], a resident you were assigned to do cares.
This type of care, disrespect will not be
On Tuesday, 3/07/00 when you return to
work you will be inserviced on Resident Rights and the
importance and use of gait belts before you return to patient care.
. . .
The incident was reported to the State of Wisconsin's Bureau of Quality Control,
conducted its own investigation and determined that there was insufficient evidence to
After that finding, the County Personnel Committee met to consider the grievances filed by
Schwartz and Wedig. The Committee removed the verbal reprimand from Reinbold's file
she was not actively involved and did hear the entire abusive exchange.
It modified the discipline imposed on Schwartz, leaving the written reprimand in place,
that it be removed from her file after six months, rather than the usual one year. As for
Committee reduced the suspension from three days to two, and remove it from her file after
rather than the usual two years. In modifying the penalties, the Committee was influenced
good work histories of the employees, and the fact that all of them had undergone retraining.
Schwartz and Wedig continued to press their grievances and the matter was referred
arbitration. At the arbitration hearing, in addition to the facts recited above, the following
Robin Stein testified that BWM was very upset and was crying when she reported
incident to her on February 28th. She acknowledged that the care plan
called from BWM to be on
her feet during transfers, that this was always quite painful for her because of the deep
her heels, and that she always complained about it. The failure to use a gait belt during the
violated the care plan, and put her at risk of injury. Stein noted that BWM had a history of
the private care home where she had previously lived, and that this was a sign that greater
be taken during transfers. Stein said that it was not common to ignore the use of a gait belt,
it might happen if a staff member forgot that it was required by the care plan.
Stein acknowledged that, if BWM was upset and crying during the day on the
27th, it should
have been charted in the nursing notes and that she did not know if the notes made any
this. Neither was she aware of anyone in the dining room or the day room who saw BWM
upset. Stein testified that the Patient's Bill of Rights gave residents the right to be treated
dignity and to be free of verbal abuse. She opined that a statement to the effect of "let her
would be verbal abuse, as would be telling a patient to stop whining or shut up. Even the
comment attributed to Wedig, "a little less of this and more of this" would be inappropriate,
blames the patient.
Pat Birketttestified that, based on her interviews, she felt
BWM had been told to "quit
whining" or words to that effect, and that this violated her rights under the Patient's Bill of
She also felt that the failure to use a gait belt was a clear violation of the care plan. She
acknowledged that BWM's care plan had been changed right before this incident, from the
use of a
mechanical lift when transferring her, to having her pivot on her feet with assistance. This
was made by her physical therapist.
Alice Wedig testified that BWM had no problem in the morning with pivoting from
to the toilet, but did have trouble with returning to the chair. She recalled that BWM was
complaining about being in pain all day, and that this was fairly common for her. When
went to get the gait belt, she completed the transfer by herself. She had no particular reason
this. Wedig did not recall any specific words she said to BWM, but felt that she had said
Sherry Schwartz testified that she was regularly assigned to assist BWM. On the
was apologizing to them as they got her out of bed, which was normal for her. BWM was
because she was not able to pivot herself between her chair and the toilet, but did not want
to help her. She had recently moved rooms, and the new room did not have the same frame
the toilet, which had allowed her to move from toilet to chair without assistance. During the
from the toilet to the chair, BWM was very upset, and Wedig tried to calm her down and get
focus on the task at hand. She heard nothing abusive or inappropriate in Wedig's remarks,
she could not recall them word for word. Schwartz did not recall if BWM complained that
were buckling or locking up, though she did mention problems with the transfer later on
speaking to Dorene Lee.
Schwartz recalled that, after the transfer back to the wheelchair, she and Wedig took
to the day room for lunch. Another resident was in her normal chair, but she got up and
to move BWM from her wheelchair. However, BWM said she was too tired, and they put
in her wheelchair and pushed her over to the lunch table.
Schwartz acknowledged that BWM's care plan called for the use of a gait belt for
but said gait belts were not always available and that transfers without a gait belt were quite
Mary Jane Reinbold testified that she was not present for any incident in the
had helped get BWM out of bed. During the transfer from her bed to the wheelchair, she
nervous and complaining. Wedig told her "a little less of this and a little more of this,"
should focus less on talking and more on pivoting. Reinbold expressed the opinion that
purpose was to get BWM focused on the task, and that there was nothing abusive or
about the comments she made.
Additional facts, as necessary, are set forth below.
The Position of the County
The County takes the position that the Grievants were disciplined for just cause and
grievance should be denied. The Grievants were jointly assigned to care for an elderly
transferred her from her wheelchair to the toilet and back again without using a gait belt, as
by the resident's care plan. On another occasion that same day, they transferred her from
her bed to
the wheelchair, also without using a gait belt. When the resident complained of pain,
told her "a little less of this" (gesturing to the resident's mouth) "and a little more of this"
to the resident's feet). This failure to follow proper procedures and rudeness to the resident
the basis of the discipline in this case. Both following procedure and showing courtesy and
to residents are requirements of the Grievants' jobs, and failure to comply with these
provides just cause for discipline. Even if there were no written rules on this point, common
would tell a health care professional that care plans and the patient's bill of rights are
advisory documents. Here, an impartial and thorough investigation established that both
failed to meet their responsibilities to this resident. They were treated fairly, and the
imposed was, on its face, reasonable in relation to the offense.
The County rejects any suggestion that there has been disparate treatment in this case.
Grievant Wedig received the most severe discipline a two-day suspension. However,
she was the
most culpable for the violations. It was Wedig who actually accomplished the transfers
a gait belt, and it was Wedig who spoke rudely to the resident. While Wedig claims that her
were good, her subjective intent is irrelevant. By any objective standard, she committed
patient abuse, and the resident who was on the receiving end was very upset by it. Schwartz
disciplined, with a written warning, both because of her participation in the improper
because she did not report them or the verbal abuse that she witnessed.
The County stresses that these are not trivial matters. Aside from the basic question
dignity in speaking to the residents, the failure to follow proper procedures exposes the
severe sanctions by the State of Wisconsin and exposes residents to physical harm. Even
State's investigation did not result in an indication of abuse, the State's determination of
abuse is only
binding in cases of termination. For lesser measures of discipline, as were meted out in this
County is entitled to rely on its own investigation.
The Grievants were guilty of serious violations of procedure and of failing to respect
rights of a resident. A thorough and fair investigation established their guilt, and the
imposed were reasonably related to the seriousness of the conduct. Thus, there is no basis
disturbing management's action, and the grievances should be denied.
The Position of the Union
The Union takes the position that the discipline of these two employees was not
by cause, and should be overturned. The County accuses Grievant Wedig of resident abuse,
Grievant Schwartz of failing to report resident abuse. However, an independent investigation
State of Wisconsin's Bureau of Quality Assurance found no abuse. The contract provides
State's determination is binding in discharge cases, and by logical extension it should have
persuasive weight in cases involving other types of discipline. If there was no abuse, Wedig
be disciplined for abuse. If Wedig is not guilty of abuse, Schwartz cannot be disciplined for
to report abuse. It necessarily follows that the County acted improperly in disciplining the
Thus, the Arbitrator should sustain the grievances and order that the reference to discipline
removed from the Grievants' files and that Wedig be made whole.
At the outset, I note that both the County and the Union rely on the same basic facts.
Notwithstanding BWM's allegation that she was told to "shut up" or "quit whining" during
transfer from bed to the wheelchair, and that Wedig told Schwartz to "let her struggle"
transfer in the bathroom, the County's brief accepts that the actual comments were "a little
less of this
and more of this" during the transfer from bed, and "concentrate on standing" during the
the bathroom. The great weight of the record evidence indicates that these were, in fact, the
made. Additionally, the County does not recite or rely upon the alleged comments in the
Again, the weight of the record evidence supports the County's posture, in that there is little
that any such remarks were made. From the record as it stands, the County concludes that
committed verbal abuse of the resident, and that Schwartz failed to report verbal abuse. The
also cites the two for failing to use a gait belt for either transfer, even though the resident's
requires use of a gait belt.
A. The Gait Belt
The issue concerning the use of the gait belt is reasonably straightforward. The care
for the use of a gait belt during transfers, and both Grievants knew this. They declined to
because there was not one handy, but that is a choice that has no official sanction. It may be
common practice, but there is no evidence that management has acquiesced in that practice.
to follow a care plan is customarily a basis for both refresher training and discipline, with
of discipline depending upon what the failure was, and what harm resulted. Here, Reinbold,
present during the transfer from bed to wheelchair, initially received a verbal reprimand, and
the discipline expunged by the Personnel Committee. Even granting that the two Grievants
involved in two transfers, while Reinbold was involved in only one, it is difficult to believe
anything more than a verbal reprimand would have issued without the added element of
language and/or verbal abuse. Thus, the propriety of the written reprimand to Schwartz and
suspension of Wedig turns on whether Wedig's comments to BWM may fairly be
abuse of a resident.
B. The Bureau of Quality Assurance
The State's Bureau of Quality Assurance judged that there was insufficient evidence
determine that Wedig's comments to BWM constituted abuse, and thus took no action on this
The collective bargaining agreement specifically provides that in cases of discharge, the
Quality Control's determination is dispositive. The Union argues that the Arbitrator should
that agency's expertise in investigating cases of this type, and should accept their judgment
abuse occurred. This position has some instinctive appeal, but it is not
sound as a matter of contract interpretation. The parties specifically bargained over the
impact of a
ruling by the State in abuse cases, and agreed that the Bureau's findings would be accepted
of them in cases involving a discharge. Applying the familiar rule of contract construction
express one thing is to exclude another, the necessary implication of the language limiting
acceptance of the Bureau's findings to discharge cases, and excepting those cases from
is that such findings are not conclusive in cases of lesser discipline. In cases of reprimand or
suspension, the parties leave it to the normal grievance procedure to sort out the guilt or
of the employee. Thus, they have bargained for the judgment of the Arbitrator, not the
State, in this
case, and are entitled to a de novo determination of whether Grievant Wedig
is guilty of abuse.
C. Verbal Abuse of a Resident
The contract provides that verbal abuse of a patient is grounds for immediate
County's "Resident Rights" policy provides, inter alia, that:
The resident has a right to a dignified existence . . . . A facility
must protect and promote the
rights of each resident, including each of the following rights:
. . .
The resident has the right to be free from
verbal, sexual, physical, or mental abuse, corporal
punishment and involuntary seclusion.
. . .
QUALITY OF LIFE
The resident has the right to receive courtesy and respect, and the
right to dignity, self-determination and participation within an environment that promotes
quality of life. . . .
. . .
Employees are well-versed in the Residents' Bill of Rights, and know that they are
obligated to abide
by it. Apart from the specific document, employees can be held to know that they are not
to verbally abuse residents, simply as a matter common sense and common decency. Having
that, verbal abuse is not a self-defining term. What constitutes abuse can vary from setting
depending upon the words said, the tone in which they are said, and the context in which
Wedig is alleged to have told the resident here to "concentrate on standing" during
transfer in the bathroom, and to have admonished her "a little less of this and a little more of
during the transfer from her bed to the chair. The first of these comments is, on its face,
innocuous. There is nothing abusive or disrespectful in telling a resident who is having
standing that she should focus on the task. If the comment was said sharply, in an irritated
angry manner, it could be considered a form of verbal abuse. Many residents are wholly
upon their caregivers, and those caregivers are invested with greater power in the
would be those who assist a less vulnerable population. However, there is little in the record
suggest that Wedig was speaking sharply or otherwise berating BWM during the transfer in
bathroom. It is a plausible explanation of why the resident was upset, but it is not the only
explanation or even the most plausible explanation. An honest evaluation of the record here
allow me to draw any firm conclusions about the tone of the comment, and thus, I cannot
it meets the standard for disrespectful or abusive language.
BWM's response to the statement that she should focus on standing rather than
the transfer from the bed to the chair "a little less of this and a little more of this"
easier to understand. By all accounts, the newly ordered pivot maneuver was very painful
because of the ulceration of her heels. She was used to using a mechanical lift, and she was
frustrated by her inability to move about by herself. She could easily have taken this
comment as a
criticism, and clearly did take it as meaning she should "shut up." However, understanding
resident could have taken umbrage at a comment is not the same thing as saying it is verbal
Employees can be held to understand that an elderly population may be more sensitive and
prone to take things to heart than the population in general, but they cannot be held to a
subjective standard of what constitutes abuse, based solely upon the reaction of a given
difference between verbal abuse and a poor choice of words is slippery, and it cannot be
with any precision. However, one useful question to ask is whether an objective observer,
with the population, would find the comment abusive in content, tone or context.
Four people were present when Wedig made her comment to BWM Wedig,
Schwartz and Reinbold. BWM's reaction has already been discussed. Wedig, of course,
she said nothing abusive to BWM. She has an obvious motive to deny it, but that does not
is lying. Schwartz also testified that Wedig said nothing inappropriate or abusive to BWM,
Reinbold echoed this, saying she took Wedig's comment merely as encouragement for BWM
on the transfer. None of the three employees is a purely objective observer, since all of
some measure of discipline out of this incident. However, Schwartz's discipline is relatively
and Reinbold's was expunged in the grievance procedure. I do not discount their
impressions of what
went on in BWM's room. Moreover, the arbitrator, who has no stake in the matter, cannot
what it was about Wedig's comment that constituted abuse. The substance of the comment
been less than perfect, but a reasonable person would not find it abusive. As with the first
tone is important, but there is nothing to suggest a harsh tone.
D. Summary and Conclusion
The Grievants' are plainly guilty of failing to follow the care plan for BWM, in that
transferred her on February 27th without using a gait belt. This is not a
trivial matter, but neither is
it the type of offense that would warrant more than the normal progression of discipline.
step in that progression is a verbal reprimand. On the far more serious question of verbal
fact that the State found insufficient evidence to establish abuse is not relevant to this dispute.
parties have agreed to use the State's determination in cases of discharge, but have left other
of discipline cases to the judgment of the Arbitrator. From the evidence adduced at hearing,
it is clear
that BWM was quite upset, and the Home had the right and the obligation to take her
seriously. Certainly, if the evidence showed that the aides said the words that she initially
including the lunchroom exchanges, there would be verbal abuse, and the County would be
to take action. However, the evidence does not establish that those words were said. What
may have been taken ill by BWM, who was in pain and resentful of both the transfer
her disabilities. An objective review of the substance of the comments does not show
is obviously abusive, and there is no evidence that Wedig's tone of voice would have
abusive intent. Without in any way questioning the good faith of the resident in
complaining, or of
the County in responding strongly, the evidence does not support the charge of verbal abuse.
Neither, of course, can it support a charge of failing to intervene to prevent abuse.
conclude that the County had just cause to reprimand both Grievants for failure to follow the
resident's care plan, but I also conclude that it lacked just cause for suspending Wedig or
written reprimand to Schwartz.
On the basis of the foregoing, and the record as a whole, I have made the
1. The County had just cause to issue a verbal reprimand to
both Alice Wedig and Sherry
Schwartz for failing to use a gait belt to transfer resident BWM on February 27, 2000;
2. The County did not have just cause to issue a written
warning to Sherry Schwartz for
failing to intervene to prevent verbal abuse of a resident and/or failing to report verbal abuse
3. The County did not have just cause to suspend Alice
Wedig for two days for verbal
abuse of a resident and/or disrespectful treatment of a resident;
4. The appropriate remedy is to remove all reference to the
discipline, other than to a
verbal reprimand to each employee for failing to use a gait belt, from
their personnel files; to limit the verbal reprimands to six months
in the personnel files; 1/ and to
make Wedig whole by repaying her for the two days' wages lost by reason of her
1/ The contract provides that disciplinary
warnings are removed after 12 months if there is no repeat of the
conduct. However, in the grievance procedure, the County's Personnel Committee limited
warning to six months. It would be a perverse result if, as a consequence of winning in
arbitration, and being found
not guilty of the more serious charges, she received a more durable warning in her file.
Further, since the result
of this arbitration is that Schwartz and Wedig have been found guilty of precisely the same
conduct, and are
therefore similarly situated, the penalties must parallel one another. Accordingly, the verbal
reprimands are limited
to six months duration from the original March 3, 2000 date of issuance, unless during that
time, the misconduct
had been repeated.
Dated at Racine, Wisconsin, this 31st day of January, 2001.
Daniel Nielsen, Arbitrator