Recently, I blogged about the basics of interest arbitration and the factors arbitrators consider. To illustrate my point, I ran across a new interest arbitration decision which cites the very same factors in my blog post. In Nobles County, Minnesota and Minnesota Teamsters Public & Law Enforcement Employees Union – Local # 320, Arbitrator Miller did a nice job of walking through each of the factors he considered when making his decision to deny shift differential to Jail Sergeants.
The sole issue at arbitration was whether or not shift differential should be established for the Jail Sergeants and if yes, for what hours and what amount? This was a brand new benefit the Jail Sergeants were seeking. Nobles County opposed the inclusion of the new benefit.
Arbitrator Miller found that although Nobles County could afford to pay the new shift differential proposed by the Union, that wasn’t an automatic reason to award the new benefit. Arbitrator Miller determined none of the County’s other settled bargaining units, including deputies who worked a night shift, received shift differential. Only four of the eight external comparables offered some type of shift differential, and the amounts varied greatly from the amount requested in Nobles County by Teamsters Local # 320. Lastly, there was no need to award shift differential as an incentive to attract or maintain Jail Sergeants, because out of the four Jail Sergeants, three had more than 10 years of seniority.
It is a big hurdle for either side to try and obtain a new benefit through interest arbitration. By doing research you can see how arbitrators are making their decisions, which can help in negotiations and in preparation for an interest arbitration hearing.