Salem Mayor Again Found To Violate Union Contract And State Law
City of Salem, Mayor Driscoll continues to disregard her legal obligations to the City of Salem employees and its Unions. In March 2012 an arbitrator found that the City of Salem violated the Salem Police Superior Officers contract and past practice when Mayor Driscoll refused to pay a Police Captain, retiring after 30 years of service to the City’s Police Department for the earned benefits which all other retirees had received for over 25 years. The Mayor again disregarded her legal obligations when she removed Police Sergeant Peter Gifford from the Harbormaster position which he had held since 2001 and replaced him with a civilian employee. This was done without any bargaining with the Union as is required by state law. On August 24, 2012, the second arbitrator found, that based on 10 years of past practice that “the Superior Officers’ ‘own’ the Harbormaster work and the Employer is constrained from unilaterally removing that work from the bargaining unit.” The Arbitrator also stated that the “City violated the collective bargaining agreement and state law when it removed Sergeant Peter Gifford from the position of Harbormaster and replaced him with a civilian, non bargaining unit employee.”
Therefore twice in one year the Mayor has been found by an arbitrator to be in violation of her legal obligations to the working men and women of the City of Salem. By disregarding her legal obligations and ignoring the rights of the employees, the Mayor has also compelled the Salem Police Superior Officers Association and the City of Salem to expend its resources to fight over its employees clear rights. The mayor’s approach is clearly wrong and it is not working. Hopefully, the Mayor will finally learn to show the Union workers some respect and will act to meet her legal and contractual obligations.
The Salem Police Superior Officers Association is a Local of the Massachusetts Coalition of Police (MCOP) and is represented by Sandulli Grace Attorney Susan Horwitz.