City of New Britain and AFSCME, Council 4, Local 1186
A collective bargaining contract can require that a union file a grievance within 15 days of an event. On Feb. 24, 2011, the union filed a grievance, alleging that the City of New Britain violated the collective bargaining contract when it assigned individuals to participate in snow removal efforts between Dec. 26, 2010 and Feb. 21, 2011. The city objected that the union's grievance was not filed timely, within 15 days. The union maintained that the city waived the timeliness requirement, because the director of human resources allegedly announced that the matter would be held in abeyance. The director of human resources denied that the city agreed to hold the matter in abeyance. The union also claimed its workers should not be punished, because the union engaged in good-faith attempts to negotiate a settlement. The collective bargaining contract provides that grievances must be filed within 15 working days of an event and that time restrictions can be extended, if the parties reach a mutual agreement. Arbitrators found that the union failed to prove that the city agreed to waive timeliness requirements and only proved that the union inferred that a waiver existed. The union possessed the burden to prove a waiver of timeliness requirements, and arbitrators concluded that the grievance was not arbitrable. Mary Pokorski represented the municipality, and Edward Thibodeau represented the union.