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In re Application of Port Authority of New York and New Jersey

Supreme Court, New York County

August 16, 2013

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
v.
The Port Authority Police Sergeants Benevolent Association, Respondent.

Unpublished Opinion

For Petitioner: James M. Begley By: Toby Jon Russell, Esq.

For respondent: Detzky & Hunter, LLC by: Michael L. Detzky, Esq.

Michael D. Stallman, J.

Petitioner The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey seeks to vacate an arbitration award dated July 12, 2012, which sustained a grievance filed by respondent The Port Authority Police Sergeants Benevolent Association. Respondent opposes the petition.

BACKGROUND

On November 18, 2010, the Board of Commissioners of the Port Authority of New York & New Jersey voted to discontinue the E-Z Pass Program, effective January 1, 2011, for employees who were not represented by any union and for all retirees (which would also include those who had belonged to a union before they retired).

On January 28, 2011, respondent filed a grievance (Grievance No. 2S-11) alleging that the Port Authority violated a collective bargaining agreement, a Memorandum of Agreement dated April 12, 2005 between petitioner and respondent, which was to commence as of January 21, 2003 and was set to expire January 20, 2010. (Verified Petition, Ex A.) Specifically, respondent contended that petitioner violated Section XXXI and "Document L" of the Memorandum of Agreement.

A hearing was held before a single arbitrator, Jack Tillem, on the following issue:

"Did the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey violate the Memorandum of Agreement with the Sergeants Benevolent Association when the Port Authority eliminated E-Z Pass privileges for currently employed sergeants, which upon their retirement from Port Authority services provided for free passage on Port Authority tunnel and bridge crossings and for the free use of parking lots at Port Authority airports? If so, what shall be the remedy?"

(Verified Petition, Ex E.) [1]

In the opinion and award dated July 12, 2012, the arbitrator quoted Article XXXI of the Memorandum of Agreement in its entirety, and quoted portions of PAI 40-1.01, entitled "Issuance and Use of Port Authority Passes." (Verified Petition, Ex E, at 3.) [2] The opinion and award recites those provisions as follows:

"XXXI. Personal and Commutation Passes
Personal passes and commutation passes for free use of Port Authority tunnel and bridge facilities shall continue to be provided in accordance with PAI 40-1.01 revised December 20, 1973. At any time following the execution of this Memorandum of Agreement, at the Port Authority's sole discretion, the Port Authority may replace this benefit with an E-Z Pass based program upon the following terms and conditions:
A.The number of free passages at Port Authority tunnel and bridge facilities and the free use of parking lots at [P]ort Authority airports for Police Sergeants shall not be less under the E-Z Pass based program than under said PAI 450-1.01 [ sic ].
B.Until such time as the E-Z Pass program is implemented at Port Authority airport parking lots for which free use is provided under PAI 40-1.01 the Port Authority will continue to make passes available to Police Sergeants for such parking in accordance with PAI 30-1.01. [ sic ]

PAI 40-1.101 (Document L) (Part of Article XXXI)

I. Introduction

This introduction sets forth the policies and procedures governing the issuance and use of Port Authority passes:

II. B2 (Personal Passes)

a. Form PA 378. Personal passes are issued upon request, in accordance with the pass allowance schedule given below, to Port Authority permanent and project employees, retired employees, and employees on military leave for ...

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