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Portland Police Association v. City of Portland

Summarized by: 

Date Filed: 02-08-2012
Case #: A146751
Hadlock, J. for the Court; Ortega P.J.; & Sercombe, J.
Full Text Opinion: http://www.publications.ojd.state.or.us/A146751.pdf

Labor Law: If a collective bargaining agreement (CBA) unambiguously makes the parties’ dispute subject to a grievance procedure involving arbitration, any ambiguity with respect to which subjects are arbitrable under the CBA is resolved in favor of arbitrability.

Petitioner, City of Portland, sought review of an order of the Employment Relations Board (ERB). In that order, the ERB held that the city committed an unfair labor practice by refusing to arbitrate grievances that the Portland Police Association (PPA) filed after the board of the city’s Fire and Police Disability and Retirement Fund (FPD&R Fund) changed the way in which certain pension benefits were calculated. The PPA asserted, and ERB agreed, that the pension-benefit challenges fell within the scope of the arbitration clause of the collective bargaining agreement (CBA), as such the city committed an unfair labor practice by refusing to arbitrate. The Court held that the pension-benefit dispute was subject to arbitration because the CBA unambiguously made the parties’ dispute over retirement-benefit calculations subject to the grievance procedure, which included arbitration. Additionally, the Court noted that even if the CBA was ambiguous with respect to whether an issue was arbitrable, the Court resolves that ambiguity in favor of arbitrability. Affirmed.