Application of the PORT AUTHORITY OF NEW YORK AND NEW JERSEY, Petitioner, For an Order Pursuant to Article 75 of the Civil Practice Law and Rules Vacating an Arbitration Opinion and Award of a Certain Controversy,
The PORT AUTHORITY POLICE LIEUTENANTS BENEVOLENT ASSOCIATION, Respondent. No. 451813/12.
This decision has been referenced in a table in the New York Supplement.
Toby J. Russell, Esq., Witham & Kozan, P.A. by Craig Kozan, Esq., attorney for petitioner.
ANIL C. SINGH, J.
In this Article 75 proceeding, petitioner The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey (Port Authority) petitions this court to modify an award rendered after arbitration with respondent The Port Authority Police Lieutenants Benevolent Association (LBA). LBA cross-petitions, pursuant to CPLR 7511, to confirm the award.
The LBA is a labor organization representing certain police lieutenants employed by the Port Authority. The parties' relationship has been governed by a series of Memoranda of Agreement (MOA) dating back to 1985. The MOA in question, entered into in April 2005, and effective January 21, 2003 to January 20, 2010, contains a " Savings Clause," which provides that wages, benefits and conditions of employment " shall remain in full force and effect until a new Memorandum of Agreement is executed." Article LXII, at 62.
Article XXXI of the MOA provides that persons covered by the MOA will receive Port Authority passes pursuant to Port Authority Instructions (PAI) 40-1.01. MOA, Document L, at 313. PAI 40-1.01 provides for distribution of free passes for " permanent and project employees, retired employees, and employees on military leave for use at tunnels, bridges and some air terminals." Id. Thus, under all of the MOAs since at least 1985, and up to the MOA in issue, provision is made for free passes, presently in the form of E-Z Passes, for retired Port Authority lieutenants.
Due to budget constraints, the Port Authority, in a December 2010 letter by its terms effective January 1, 2011, discontinued the E-Z Pass program applicable to all Port Authority retirees. As a result, the LBA filed a grievance under the arbitration provision in the MOA (Article XXII, at 35), claiming that the Port Authority had violated the MOA by discontinuing the program for retirees.
A hearing was held before an arbitrator, Howard C. Edelman (the Arbitrator) on April 23, 2012. The Arbitrator duly found in the LBA's favor, in an award (Award), dated September 12, 2012, in which he ruled that the Port Authority had " violated the Collective Bargaining Agreement by discontinuing on or about December 2011 free passage and parking for retirees of the bargaining unit." Amended Petition, Ex. D, Award, at 25. The Arbitrator ordered the Port Authority to reinstate the free passage and parking, and reimburse retirees for the monies they had expended on passage and parking since the program was terminated.
As stressed by the Port Authority, the MOA arbitration provision specifies that:
[t]he arbitrator shall not have the power to add to, subtract from or modify the provisions of the [MOA] and shall confine his decision solely to the interpretation and application of the [MOA]. He shall confine himself to the precise issue presented to him and shall have no authority to determine any issues not so presented to him nor shall he submit observations or declarations of opinion which are not essential in reaching the determination.
MOA, Appendix G, at 180.
The issue, as framed by the Arbitrator, ...