For Plaintiff: Michael A. Ursillo, Esq.
For Defendant Margaret L. Hogan, Esq.; Darren F. Corrente, Esq.
The Town of West Greenwich (Town) appeals an order of the Rhode Island State Labor Relations Board (Labor Board) accreting the position of Animal Control Officer (ACO) into the collective bargaining unit represented by the Rhode Island Laborers' District Council Local 1332 (Union). Jurisdiction is pursuant to G.L. 1956 §§ 28-7-29 and 42-35-15.
Facts and Travel
In 2006, the Labor Board certified the Union to represent all full-time and part-time police dispatchers employed by the Town—thus creating a bargaining unit of police dispatchers within the Union (Bargaining Unit). The Union had attempted to organize the dispatchers together with the ACO position; a Records Clerk position; and an Administrative Assistant to the Chief position as part of a single bargaining unit, but ultimately removed the non-dispatcher positions from the petition they submitted to the Labor Board after the employees holding the Records Clerk and the Administrative Assistant positions expressed that they did not wish to be part of a broader bargaining unit at that time. Apparently, it was important to the Union that it achieved an uncontested election.
In 2007, the Union attempted to accrete the ACO position into the Bargaining Unit by filing a unit clarification request with the Labor Board. After the parties submitted written statements, the Labor Board conducted an investigation, issued a report, and held formal hearings on the matter. Ultimately, the Labor Board issued a decision and order on October 20, 2010 (Decision and Order) through which it accreted the ACO position to the bargaining unit of police department dispatchers. This Decision and Order is the subject of the present appeal.
Standard of Review
This Court's review on appeal from a decision of an administrative agency is governed by the Rhode Island Administrative Procedures Act, §§ 42-35-1, et seq. See Rossi v. Employees' Ret. Sys. of R.I., 895 A.2d 106, 109 (R.I. 2006). This Court may reverse or modify an agency's decision if:
"substantial rights of the appellant have been prejudiced because the administrative findings, inferences, conclusions, or decisions are:
"(1) In violation of constitutional or statutory provisions;
"(2) In excess of the statutory authority of the ...