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Seniority And Job Assignments

March 2000 Legal Update

By: Louis D. Stober, Jr., Esq.

Seniority And Job Assignments

One of the fundamental rights that Unions seek to protect is the seniority rights of it’s members. Seniority is addressed in Section 12 of the CSEA/County collective bargaining agreement. Recently, I had the opportunity to arbitrate and win a case dealing with your rights when bidding for a job assignment.

The arbitration concerned the Police Department’s refusal to allow an AMT to transfer from one post that was quite a distance from home to another post that was just down the street from the AMT’s home. In analyzing the case, the arbitrator compared the respective abilities, adaptabilities and the seniority of the two AMT’s and the needs of the Department.

In granting the grievance, the arbitrator held that the grievant was familiar with the area, was familiar with the geography therefore, the County could not rely on any claimed experience of the person they selected for the post. “[The grievant]clearly has the ability to perform the requirements of the position, although it is not required for an AMT, [the grievant] is an EMTCC, she has the adaptability to perform the requirements of [the] Post because the inspector himself testified that she could adapt. As far as seniority, [the grievant] has 12 years while [the County’s choice] had 5. The difference in seniority is significant as the record is devoid of any compelling reason as to why [the grievant] could not satisfactorily perform the requirements of the position in post 7.”

The moral of the story is that if there is a job assignment you think you are entitled to and you have the ability and adaptability to do the job (and if you can document even greater ability and adaptability than the County’s choice) and have greater seniority (the greater the better), then you have a good chance of success in fighting for the assignment. Remember, the better your qualifications and the greater your seniority, the more likely an arbitrator will hold that the County violated the Contract in not giving the assignment to you.

To have any chance of success, you must first file a grievance.