Barry McGoey, I.A.F.F. – Local 628 President.
WHITE PLAINS, NY — January 8, 2014 — Justice Mary Smith, New York State Supreme Court, Westchester County recently ruled favorably for Meyer, Suozzi, English & Klein client Yonkers Firefighters Local 628 regarding their collective bargaining agreement and health/retirement benefits pursuant to a negotiated General Municipal Law 207-a Procedure.
Background: Yonkers firefighters work pursuant to a collective bargaining agreement which expired in June 30, 2009. The agreement includes a negotiated General Municipal Law section 207-a Procedure that, “the City and the Union agree that they will not alter or revoke any benefits or other provisions heretofore negotiated…” In September 2013, the union filed a grievance on behalf of retired firefighter Kevin McGrath that Mr. McGrath should NOT have to file an application for GML 207a benefits based on the collective bargaining agreement. The City disagreed.
The Union argued: the agreement states the Union is the exclusive bargaining agent for all firefighters and that does not exclude those firefighters who retire during the life of the agreement; the collective bargaining agreement applies to all GML-207a benefits; and the Citys demand that the retired firefighter file a new application for supplemental benefits under 207-a(2) is a change in practice; and lastly whether the negotiated GML 207a benefits clause applies to benefits under 207a(2) is appropriate for arbitration.
Justice Smith has ordered that the "…this Court necessarily finds that there is a reasonable relationship between the subject dispute as to whether a retired firefighter is entitled to receive GML 207-a(2) benefits and the general subject matter of the CBA, and thus arbitration of the subject grievance is required."
SOURCE: Meyer, Suozzi, English & Klein