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Arbitrator Entirely Denies, Dismisses Grievance against SBJ Client

Ed Taylor and Laura Edwards recently persuaded an arbitrator to deny an employee’s class grievance against a hospital client. The dispute arose after the parties disagreed on the interpretation of a collective bargaining agreement provision known as the “no pyramiding” clause. The clause prohibits duplication of overtime and premiums for the same hours worked by an employee.

Our client applied the clause to prevent two different pay premiums from arising from the same hours worked by an employee. This interpretation was supported by a plain language reading of the clause, which the Arbitrator found was not ambiguous. The union asserted that the employer used the clause in a manner far broader than permissible under the agreement in order to minimize overtime payments.

The Arbitrator was persuaded by Ed’s arguments and agreed with our client’s interpretation of the clause, finding that the union’s interpretation would allow duplication of premium paid hours and overtime. The Arbitrator reasoned that this was barred by the agreement because the purpose of premium pay is to compensate employees for the inconvenience of working a specific shift (i.e., a call back or holiday shift) and not to generate additional overtime hours. The Arbitrator therefore denied and dismissed the grievance in its entirety.