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May 2009

By: Alan M. Klinger, Charles G. Moerdler

The Spring 2009 issue of Stroock Reports - Public Employee Law covers recent court cases and legal developments of interest to our public sector union clients and other friends of the firm.Our cover story – “Employee-Friendly Labor Arbitration Awards Under Attack” – highlights an apparent trend of state courts adopting a (too) active stance in addressing the substance of labor arbitration awards where the employee prevails, while taking a more hands-off approach to awards where the employer succeeds. As one of the quintessential provisions in a collective bargaining agreement (and a foundational principal of public sector labor policy under the Taylor Law), the grievance and arbitration process is intended to provide labor and management an umpire that is unbiased and experienced in the area of labor relations. These arbitrators, by design and within prescribed limits, are accorded flexibility in fashioning appropriate remedies. What the trend reveals is this cornerstone being undermined where courts overstep their bounds and replace the labor arbitrator’s sensibility with their own.This issue also includes an update on the Transit Workers Union’s road to restoring dues-checkoff and along the way vindicating free speech rights of union officers in New York State. Finally, we look at a decision out of the Appellate Division, First Department, which should limit City defendants’ options with regard to temporary restraining orders.

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