In the Matter of Civil Service Employees Association, etc., respondent,
Board of Trustees of the Mount Vernon Public Library, appellant. Index No. 50849/18
Submitted - October 10, 2019
Jackson Lewis P.C., White Plains, NY (Michael A. Frankel of
counsel), for appellant.
& Wheeler, P.C., Rhinebeck, NY (Nathaniel K. Charny of
counsel), for respondent.
D. SCHEINKMAN, P.J. REINALDO E. RIVERA RUTH C. BALKIN JOHN M.
DECISION & ORDER
proceeding pursuant to CPLR article 75 to vacate a portion of
an arbitration award dated October 23, 2017, the Board of
Trustees of the Mount Vernon Public Library appeals from an
amended judgment of the Supreme Court, Westchester County
(Lawrence H. Ecker, J.), dated May 29, 2018. The amended
judgment granted the petition and remitted the matter to a
different arbitrator for further proceedings.
that the amended judgment is affirmed, with costs.
petitioner, a labor union representing employees of the Mount
Vernon Public Library (hereinafter the Library), filed a
grievance, alleging, inter alia, that the Board of Trustees
of the Library (hereinafter the Board) violated Article III,
section (1)(b) of the parties' collective bargaining
agreement (hereinafter the CBA) by failing to retroactively
correct a salary inequality between the Library employees and
certain City Hall employees. Under the cited provision of the
CBA, which the parties refer to as the "pay parity
provision," the Board was obligated to "actively
pursue" funding "to maintain the historic link
between the salaries of the Library and the City Hall CSEA
employees," and such funding was to be applied
retroactively if necessary "to correct an
grievance procedure was unsuccessful in resolving the
dispute, and the parties submitted to an arbitrator the
question of whether the Board violated the pay parity
provision of the CBA, as well as the question of, if a
violation was found, what was the appropriate remedy. After a
hearing, the arbitrator determined that the Board had
violated the cited provision of the CBA, and that the Library
employees were therefore entitled to a retroactive salary
increase. The arbitrator then directed that the retroactive
salary increase would be conditioned upon excision of the pay
parity provision from the CBA going forward.
petitioner commenced this proceeding pursuant to CPLR article
75 to vacate the portion of the arbitration award which
called for excision of the pay parity provision from the CBA.
In an amended judgment dated May 29, 2018, the Supreme Court
granted the petition and remitted the matter to a different
arbitrator for a new hearing and determination of the manner
and timing of the "parity payments." The Board
review of arbitration awards is extremely limited"
(Wien & Malkin LLP v Helmsley-Spear, Inc., 6
N.Y.3d 471, 479), and courts may only vacate an
arbitrator's award on the grounds specified in CPLR
7511(b). Where, as here, the asserted ground for vacatur
under that statute is an excess of power (see CPLR
7511[b][iii]), an arbitrator's award may only be
vacated where it "violates a strong public policy, is
irrational or clearly exceeds a specifically enumerated
limitation on the arbitrator's power" (Matter of
New York City Tr. Auth. v Transport Workers' Union of
Am., Local 100, AFL-CIO, 6 N.Y.3d 332, 336; see
Matter of City of Peekskill v Local 456 Intl. Bhd. of
Teamsters, 49 A.D.3d 730).
present case, after concluding that the petitioner's
interpretation of the pay parity provision was correct, that
the provision was violated, and that a retroactive salary
increase was warranted, the arbitrator exceeded his power by
essentially rewriting the parties' contract to eliminate
the pay parity provision going forward (see Matter of
Albany County Sheriffs Local 775 of N.Y. State Law
Enforcement Officers Union, Dist. Council 82, AFSCME, AFL-CIO
[County of Albany], 27 A.D.3d 979, 981; Matter of
New York City Tr. Auth. v Patrolmen's Benevolent Assn. of
N.Y. City Tr. Police Dept., 129 A.D.2d 708, 708-709;
Matter of Board of Educ. of N. Babylon Union Free School
Dist. v North Babylon Teachers' Org., 104 A.D.2d
594, 597; see generally Matter of National Cash Register
Co. [Wilson], 8 N.Y.2d 377, 383).
we agree with the Supreme Court's determination vacating
the portion of the arbitration award that conditioned relief
upon excision of the pay parity provision from the CBA, and
remitting the matter to a different arbitrator for a new
hearing and determination on limited issues (see
CPLR 7511[d]; cf. Matter of Board of Educ. ...