• Board of Mediation and Arbitration
  • Board of Mediation and Arbitration
  • 2010-A-0063
  • Jan 16 2013 (Date Decided)
  • Weiner, Esq., Ferrucci, and Ryan

A past practice can exist with respect to staffing of work assignments when the practice exists for a sufficient length of time and is clear. In August 2008, the chief of police for the City of Bridgeport disbanded the city's Traffic Division and transferred the police officers in that division to the Patrol Division. Approximately two months afterward, the then acting chief of police reinstated the city's Traffic Division, and most of the police officers who previously worked in the Traffic Division transferred back. In 2009, as a result of budget concerns, the city staffed certain parade assignments with police officers from the patrol or other police department divisions, who were asked to work on parades prior to their regularly scheduled shifts. The union filed a grievance with respect to some of the parade assignments and argued that those were Traffic Division assignments, because they involved escorts of the parade floats, road closures and detours. The union claimed that these events qualified as "overtime assignments . . . within the Division," pursuant to the collective bargaining contract and that a past practice existed of assigning the parade work to the Traffic Division. The city objected that the collective bargaining contract did not require that the city assign parade work to the Traffic Division and that the city possessed the right to offer the assignments to other police department officers and divisions, pursuant to the management rights clause. The majority of arbitrators found that the union proved that a past practice existed of offering the Barnum parade and fireworks assignments first to the Traffic Division. The union did not prove that a past practice existed with respect to the Juneteenth parade. Peter Dagostine represented the city, and Craig Manemeit represented the union.