City of Bridgeport and NAGE, Local RI-200
A municipality may be required to pay a higher rate to an employee who works in a higher classification. The City of Bridgeport hired Kimberle Laue, and she worked as a secretary for corporation counsel. In 2008, the city eliminated the job of the legal administrator who previously had supervised corporation counsel support staff. The union filed a grievance and argued that Laue was assigned to perform work formerly performed by the legal administrator and that Laue should receive higher pay. Allegedly, Laue arranges equipment maintenance, orders office supplies and works on budgets and payroll. The city claimed that because Laue is not working as a supervisor, she is not working in a higher job classification. Attorney Laske testified that he and another attorney assumed the supervisory job responsibilities formerly performed by the legal administrator whose job was eliminated. The collective bargaining contract provides, "Employees required to work in a higher classification than their normal classification shall be paid the rate of the higher classification for that period of time." Arbitrators found that although Laue has greater job responsibilities that did not result in a higher job classification. Laue, wrote the arbitrators, "was not required to perform the functions of a higher classified job, i.e. legal administrator, and she continues to competently and effectively perform only those duties contained in the legal secretary job description." The city did not violate the collective bargaining agreement, and arbitrators denied the grievance. Philip White represented the city, and Elizabeth Ditman represented the union.