April 1998 Legal Update

LEGAL UPDATE
By: Louis D. Stober, Jr., Esq.
CSEA REGIONAL ATTORNEY

STOBER THWARTS COUNTY ATTEMPT TO CHANGE CONTRACTING OUT CLAUSE

Every contracting out case that has gone to arbitration has been won by CSEA. In the face of this onslaught, the County has recently tried to change its tactics by claiming that the contracting out clause of the CBA (Section 32) applies only to work that has "historically and exclusively" been performed by CSEA members.

What that means is that the County has now claimed at arbitration that it was free to contract out any work, without notice to the CSEA, and layoff whomever they wished, unless CSEA could prove that the work had always been performed ONLY by CSEA members. If successful, the County's argument would have meant that anyone who ever had their type of work performed by someone outside the bargaining unit in the past could have their work contracted out and be laid off without following Section 32.

To counter that argument, I presented case law contradicting the County's position as well as documentary proof from the negotiations of the 1990 CBA and the unrefuted testimony of CSEA'S Chief Negotiator, Irwin Scharfeld, and CSEA Local 830 President Anthony P. Giustino to establish that this was never the intent of the parties and that CSEA sought to strengthen the protections of its members regarding contracting out in the 1990 CBA.

I was able to keep CSEA's streak alive with two more wins and the arbitrator adopted our arguments completely: "It is the opinion of the Arbitrator that the CSEA went to great lengths during the 1990 negotiations, to develop discernible language in the CBA that would preserve the Bargaining Unit and, afford additional protection against sub-contracting of bargaining unit work." With that language, the Arbitrator laid to rest, once and for all, the County's attempt to change the meaning and intent of Section 32 of the CBA.

As a result of this resounding victory over the County, the Arbitrator has ordered the County to reinstate a group of Mechanics retroactive to February, 1992 as well as a group of Masons and Electricians for the time period that a particular subcontract was in existence. Representatives of the County will have to meet with me in the near future to finalize implementation of these two awards.

If you find yourself in a situation where you are being replaced by an outside contractor, or if you learn of an attempt by the County to contract out your work, notify your CSEA representative immediately. Remember, the Collective Bargaining Agreement can only protect you if you take the first step and speak to your union representative immediately.