A7033-369-02 – City of Ann Arbor
|Issue:||Wages – “Me Too” Clause|
This case involves contract interpretation of a “Me Too” Clause. The Local grieved that the employer violated their “Me Too” Clause not only when they provided a bargaining group (A.A.P.O.A.) a greater increase than provided in their AFSCME Contract but also when they provided the same increase to the Command Officers Association of Michigan (C.O.A.M.) as a result of the C.O.A.M. “Me Too” Clause.
There were a couple of different increases that AFSCME believed should be covered by their “Me Too” Clause and more that one grievance was filed. This was a very convoluted case but the issue boiled down to the benefit of longevity pay and a restructuring of the wage schedule.
This case is very interesting because it covers a time period of not only the Contract in which the grievance was filed, but also the time period of the previous contract. The language used by AFSCME for the “Me Too” Clause in each of these contract periods allowed, in part, for the Arbitrator to grant the grievance and a remedy covering both time periods.
The “Me Too” Clause stated:
If another bargaining unit receives an increase higher that the settlement with AFSCME, such increases will also be granted to AFSCME for this contract period as a “me too” on wages. If gained by Police or Fire bargaining units, a “me too” retro activity on wages for retirees. (emphasis added)
The employer raised an issue of timeliness regarding any back pay award. They claimed that the AFSCME group was provided copies of settlements with other bargaining units after they made F.O.I.A. request and did not file a grievance regarding the longevity pay and restructuring of the wage scale at that time. The Union did not disagree with the assertion, but argued that when C.O.A.M. was given their grievance remedy of their “me too” clause of the A.A.P.O.A. wages a “new event” occurred making their grievance timely and meritorious.
The arbitrator granted the Union’s grievance because of key language found in their “Me Too” Clause. The arbitrator stated the following:
The contract language in Appendix B (salaries) calls for me-too match “for this contract period.” Thus, the grievance timely filed in this case was not a continuing grievance, but rather, it was a grievance filed soon after “another bargaining unit” (i.e., COAM) had been granted increases not previously granted to AFSCME. The fact that earlier other bargaining units had also gotten similar increases does not void AFSCME’s exercise of its rights after the COAM got it increases. Once the triggering event occurs, that is the receipt of a higher increase by another unit, the AFSCME unit gets that increase for the entire contract period. Thus, the city’s claim of deleting contract language. He cannot ignore the me-too language that calls for a match “for this contract period.”
For all of these reasons, the grievance is granted, and the longevity/wage structure increases received by the COAM shall be awarded to AFSCME for the contract period from July 1, 1998, to June 3, 2001, and as extended by the parties.