IDCWLaw Partner Liam L. Castro, Esq. Wins Arbitration Award Compelling Employer to Release Union Officials From Work.

In March 2022 two union officials requested time off from their midnight shift to attend union meetings beginning during regular business hours, after 8am. The County denied that request because the union meetings did not start until after the officials’ shifts ended. We very quickly went to the Supreme Court, Ulster County and convinced a Judge to prohibit the County from denying union officials’ from using County-paid release time until the parties go to arbitration to resolve the dispute.

At arbitration, the County argued the union meetings did not start until after the officials’ shifts ended and, in any event, the contract did not require them to release union officials from their shift before the union meetings occurred. They also argued releasing the officials would impact on staffing, which is a managerial prerogative, particularly when their shifts did not occur during the Union business.

We are happy to report that, in addition to convincing a judge to prevent them, pending arbitration, from denying union release time, the arbitrator agreed with the Union and sustained the grievance. She held there was a longstanding practice consistent with the Union’s position, and rejected the County’s staffing arguments to the contrary.