Grievance involving some part-time Cornwall police staff

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(Newswatch Group/File)

Editor’s note: This story has been corrected from an earlier version to clarify that the part-time employees are civilian employees and not officers.

CORNWALL – The city’s deputy chief says the force is expecting a decision within the next three months concerning a grievance from some part-time staff.

Danny Aikman indicated that an arbitration hearing, held on Jan. 21, 2016, had already been held for both sides to state their position on compensation for part-time workers.

The issue came up Wednesday (Mar. 2) as the police board agreed to pay the $11,494.93 legal bill for their portion of the hearing.

The employees are represented by the Cornwall Police Association.

CPA President Dave MacLean told Cornwall Newswatch it concerns pay in lieu of benefits for former full-time retirees that have returned to the force after retirement.

Current part-timers get four per cent of their total paycheque in lieu of vacation – a standard workplace practice – plus they get eight per cent in lieu of a benefit package because one is not offered by the force for part-time workers.

“Somewhere along the line a decision was made by management, without the association’s knowledge, that people who are former (full-time) employees or retirees who no longer work for the organization however have retiree benefits. They decided that they weren’t entitled to that (eight per cent) and our opinion and our legal opinion was, they can’t arbitrarily make that decision,” MacLean said.

He said it went to arbitration because both sides had essentially “drawn their line in the sand.”

“We are going by the letter of the law. It doesn’t defer anything when it comes to a retiree who may (already) have benefits,” MacLean said.

There are five employees involved in the grievance, the CPA president added.

MacLean said it was by a “fluke” that one of the members had come across the discrepancy (not receiving the eight per cent) and then the Cornwall Police Association started investigating.

The association is hoping for a decision from the board of arbitration by the end of March though Deputy Chief Aikman had indicated it could be as long as 90 days from the date of the arbitration hearing.