Plaintiff: Stephen M. Robinson, Esq.
Defendant: Carly B. Iafrate, Esq.
this Court is Plaintiff City of Cranston's (Plaintiff or
the City) motion to vacate and stay an arbitration award (the
Award) which was issued on November 20, 2017. Defendant
International Brotherhood of Police Officers, Local No. 301,
et al. (Defendant or the Union) objects to
Plaintiff's motion and moves to confirm the Award. The
Arbitrator found that the instant grievance was arbitrable
and that the Plaintiff violated Sections 1 and 7B of the
controlling collective bargaining agreement (the CBA).
Jurisdiction is pursuant to G.L. 1956 §§ 28-9-18
in 2002, the Rhode Island State Labor Relations Board
certified the Union as the exclusive bargaining
representative for all full-time Cranston police officers, as
recognized by Section 1 of the CBA between the Union and the
City. Arb. Award at 6. At all times relevant hereto, the CBA
was in effect between the parties. Id. Officer
Matthew Josefson (Josefson), a member of the Union bargaining
unit, was promoted to sergeant on July 24, 2013 but demoted
to patrol officer on November 24, 2013 after it was found
that he had secretly taped conversations with certain
Cranston Police Department (CPD) supervisors. Id. at
6-7. Josefson's demotion resulted from his agreement with
the CPD in lieu of other discipline. Id. at 7.
Following an internal investigation of the CPD ordered by the
Mayor of Cranston, the Union learned of the demotion and
requested to bargain on his behalf; however, efforts to
negotiate were unsuccessful. Id. at 5.
then retained private counsel and filed suit against the City
on March 29, 2016 in U.S. District Court (DRI) excluding the
Union as a party. Id. at 5. Josefson's attorney,
Joseph F. Penza Jr., filed a complaint alleging due process
violations, intentional infliction of emotional distress,
tortious interference with a contractual relationship, and
civil conspiracy. Id. at 12-13.
22, 2016, Josefson and the City reached a settlement after
negotiations without the Union's involvement, and the
court entered a consent judgment against the City.
Id. at 14. The judgment ordered the City to pay
$215, 000 including costs and attorneys' fees, reinstate
Josefson to sergeant with the same shift assignment and
seniority as if he had continuously served, and remove
documents related to the charges or investigation from his
record. Id. at 15. Thereafter, Josefson was
reinstated to the rank of sergeant on July 25, 2016, and the
number of sergeants reached twenty while the patrolman
position remained vacant in conflict with the CBA.
Id. at 15-16.
learning of the agreement, the Union sent the City a demand
letter to bargain and the City declined, reasoning that no
one was negatively affected by the action and that there was
no violation to discuss. Id. at 16. On August 16,
2016, Mr. Escobar, the Union's Business Agent, and Mr.
Santagata, the Union's president, filed a class action
grievance. Id. The grievance alleged that the City
entered into an agreement without bargaining with the Union
thereby violating Section 1 of the CBA and requested that the
City fill the patrol officer vacancy immediately and make the
additional sergeant position permanent. Id. After
Robert Coupe, Director of Administration for Mayor Fung,
denied the grievance, the Union filed a timely demand for
arbitration. Id. at 17.
their demand for arbitration, the Union contended that the
subject matter was arbitrable because the City had violated
Section 1 of the CBA by negotiating directly with a member of
the Union and such a violation is prohibited by the
recognitions clause contained in the CBA. Id. at
20-21. Because of this violation, the Union further argued
that the City had a contractual duty to respond to the
Union's request for ...