City of Laredo vs Intl Assosciation of Firefighters local 1309
The union charged that the city had violated the CBA by suspending the sick leave buy-back program. The arbitrator found that the CBA gave the city the option to buy back the firefighters’ sick leave. However, he also found that “the City’s unvarying practice of exercising its annual option to purchase accumulated sick leave for more than 10 years reasonably has led the Union and its members to expect the City to continue to exercise the annual option absent a good faith reason to suspend the program.”
The arbitrator did not approve city officials’ justification for suspending the program, said the city did not act in good faith, and directed the city to purchase the unused sick leave from firefighters who wanted to sell it. The trial court affirmed the arbitrator’s award, and the city appealed.
What the court said. The appeals court affirmed, disagreeing with the city’s allegation that the arbitrator exceeded his authority. The court also said that “the City’s past practices of buying back the firefighters’ sick leave was an arbitrable issue.”
“Although we realize the significant hardships the arbitrator’s decision has placed on the City, our review is very limited, and we must affirm the arbitrator’s findings because there are no valid reasons to vacate the arbitrator’s award,” the court explained.
City of Laredo v. Mojica and International Association of Firefighters Local 1390, Fourth Court of Appeals District of Texas, San Antonio, No. 04-11-00389-CV (1/18/12).