More on fire arbitration

A federal judge has put one of the Stockton fire union’s two lawsuits on hold, we reported today. The union’s lawyer said the ruling wasn’t a surprise and that the union will focus its efforts on the arbitration already underway.

Unfortunately, we were really tight on space in today’s paper, and our story couldn’t go into depth about the difference between the arbitration targeted by Measure H, and the arbitration that’s ongoing between the fire union and City Hall.

In one kind, the arbitrator acts more like a referee. In the other, the intermediary can dictate binding contract terms.

The arbitration in progress is grievance arbitration, in which the third-party arbitrator overseeing the process will determine whether the city breached its contract with the fire union. If the arbitrator sides with the fire union, the ruling could restore its contract to what it was before the city declared a fiscal emergency, suspended pay increases and closed a fire truck company. The union’s lawyer said that could result in getting the two sides back at the table negotiating concessions.

Measure H is targeting interest arbitration, a form of binding arbitration in which the third-party has the authority to award final and binding labor contract terms, taking into consideration each sides’ “last and best offers.”

Hope that helps and isn’t more confusing.

Both sides had their first arbitration hearings last week. More are scheduled for late next month, so it’s unlikely a decision will come down before we know the outcome of Measure H. And no movement on either fire lawsuit is expected in the meantime.

This entry was posted in Budget crisis, City Charter, City Council, City Hall, Elections, Fire Department, Labor, Stockton Professional Firefighters Local 456 and tagged . Bookmark the permalink. Post a comment

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