Town of Stratford and AFSCME, Council 15, Local 407
A municipality may exercise its rights, pursuant to a management rights clause in a collective bargaining contract, not to fill a vacant position. Police Officer Mike Reid, who worked as a traffic unit officer, retired. The union filed a grievance and claimed that the municipality violated a past practice of filling the open position of traffic unit officer when the position became vacant. The town objected that the town possessed the right, pursuant to the management rights clause in the collective bargaining contract, not to fill the position. Article 17 provides that the town possesses the right "[t]o employ, transfer, promote, or demote employees or to lay off, terminate or otherwise relieve employees from duty for lack of work or other legitimate reasons when it shall be in the best interest of the department." Arbitrators found that the union failed to establish, by a preponderance of the evidence, that a past practice existed. The collective bargaining contract did not include a minimal manning provision for the traffic unit officer. "A claimed recognized practice by the Union of the prior filling of the position," wrote arbitrators, "is in reality nothing more than the Town exercising its right to select and determine the number and type of employees." Arbitrators denied the grievance. Garrett Denniston represented the municipality, and Lars Eden represented the union.