June 1997 Legal Update

COUNSEL'S CORNER
By: Louis D. Stober, Esq.
CSEA REGIONAL ATTORNEY

SUBCONTRACTING UPDATE

STOBER IN COURT CHALLENGING COUNTY'S REFUSAL TO
ABIDE BY ARBITRATORS' RULINGS

As stated in a prior Counsel's Corner, we have won every single subcontracting case that has gone to arbitration. The result has been orders compelling the County to rehire approximately 13 employees with hundreds of thousands of dollars in back pay. The affected job titles are:

  • Construction Inspector Trainees
  • Hazardous Waste Inspectors
  • Window Washers
  • Forensic Toxicologists

In each case I was able to establish that the County failed to properly notify the Union of the intent to Contract out the work, that the County did not save any money as a result of the contracts and that the County acted in bad faith in contracting out the unit work.

At the arbitrations, the evidence showed that the County paid, on average, three times as much money for the contractors' services as it had paid for the civil service employees. In fact, two Construction Inspector Trainees and both of the Hazardous Waste Inspectors were "laid off" on December 31, 1991 and immediately rehired on January 2, 1992 by outside Contractors. These individuals then continued to perform the exact same duties as before they were "laid off" and received approximately the same salary. However, the County now paid three times each persons salary to the contractor as per the contract entered into between the County and the Contractor.

This turned out to be an excellent deal for the contractor who got an experienced employee who knew the job thoroughly, there was no training required and the contractor made a very large profit at taxpayer expense. Each arbitrator ruled that this scenario violated Section 32 of the CBA and ordered each employee made whole.

The County refused to abide by the arbitrators' rulings and Deputy County Executive Robert Olden, ostensibly acting on behalf of County Executive Thomas Gulotta, sent a memo refusing to adopt the findings of each of the arbitrator's awards in the Construction Inspector Trainee case, the Hazardous Waste Inspector case and the Window Washers case. As of the date of this article, CSEA has not received notification from the County Executive as to whether the County is refusing to abide by the arbitrator's award in the Forensic Toxicologists case.

Immediately upon receipt of the County's refusal to abide by the arbitrators' awards in the first three cases, I commenced suit in Supreme Court, Nassau County for breach of contract. While we will have to go to trial on all three cases all over again, we fully expect the Court to see through the County's actions just as the Arbitrators did and reinstate the victories we fought so hard for.