???Portland Fire Fighters’ Assn. v. City of Portland

Summarized by:

  • Court: Oregon Court of Appeals
  • Area(s) of Law: Labor Law
  • Date Filed: 12-10-2014
  • Case #: A150768
  • Judge(s)/Court Below: DeVore, J. for the Court; Ortega P.J.; & Schuman, S.J.
  • Full Text Opinion

Under ORS 243.672(1)(g), it is an unfair labor practice for a party to fail to comply with the results of an agreed-upon binding arbitration.

The City of Portland appealed an Employment Relations Board order enforcing compliance with an arbitration award granting reinstatement and payment of disability benefits to a firefighter. The City of Portland and the Fire Fighters’ Association agreed to binding arbitration to dispute the validity of a return-to-work program as applied to an individual firefighter, which resulted in the firefighter’s loss of disability benefits and termination. In a separate case before this Court, the return-to-work program was struck down because it was unlawful. However, in this case, the Court specifically addressed the question of whether the arbitration was binding on the parties, and whether the arbitrator had the authority to decide issues of the firefighter’s employment status and disability benefits. Because (1) the scope of the issues presented to the arbitrator waived administrative procedures, (2) the city consented to the arbitration being binding, and (3) because the arbitrator acted within the authority delegated by both parties, the ERB held that the arbitrator’s award was valid. Because the ERB’s decision was supported by substantial reason, this Court affirmed the arbitrator’s award compensating the firefighter’s lost disability benefits. Affirmed.

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