City of New York v. Uniformed Fire Officers Association, Local 854, IAFF, AFL-CIO

95 N.Y.2d 273, 716 N.Y.S.2d 353, 739 N.E.2d 719 (2000)

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City of New York v. Uniformed Fire Officers Association, Local 854, IAFF, AFL-CIO

New York Court of Appeals
95 N.Y.2d 273, 716 N.Y.S.2d 353, 739 N.E.2d 719 (2000)

Facts

The City of New York (the city) (plaintiff) and the Uniformed Fire Officers Association, Local 854, IAFF, AFL-CIO (UFOA) (defendant) negotiated a collective-bargaining agreement (CBA) covering firefighters in the city. The CBA gave firefighters procedural rights during investigations the city commenced, including notice, legal and union representation, and immunity from having their answers used against them. The CBA also provided for arbitration of disputes over compliance with the procedures. The New York City Department of Investigation (DOI) subpoenaed several firefighters, including UFOA members, as part of a criminal investigation. The UFOA claimed the city violated the CBA because its agency failed to comply with the requisite procedures and filed a request to arbitrate the grievance. The city challenged the request before the New York Board of Collective Bargaining (BCB), but the BCB found the dispute arbitrable. The city commenced a special proceeding pursuant to New York procedural rules seeking to annul the BCB’s determination and enjoin arbitration. The city claimed it never agreed to arbitrate procedures the DOI used in conducting criminal investigations, the CBA could not supplant or impair those procedures as a matter of public policy, and arbitrating the grievances would violate public policy. The trial court set aside the BCB’s determination and enjoined arbitration on public-policy grounds, and the appellate court affirmed. The UFOA appealed to New York’s highest court. Meanwhile, the UFOA did not try to stay any interrogations or investigative proceedings, and DOI completed its investigation.

Rule of Law

Issue

Holding and Reasoning (Wesley, J.)

Dissent (Kaye, C.J.)

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