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Arbitrator orders member’s reinstatement with back pay

By SHERRY HALBROOK

A decision by an arbitrator in February ended nearly three years of suspension without pay for a PEF steward working for a state office in New York City.

Arbitrator Mary Crangle found just cause for discipline, but the appropriate penalty is a six-month suspension without pay, and the state lacked the requisite probable cause to suspend while the matter was pending. She also dismissed some of the counts against the steward. He has returned to work and expects to receive more than $230,000 in back pay.

“I consider it an important victory, not only for myself, but also for PEF and all union stewards,” the member said.

A member of PEF since 1979, the steward earned a reputation over the ensuing four decades as a steadfast and fearless defender of his fellow members and of union rights. And it was his use of time and state equipment for union business that were cited by the employer in its notice of discipline and effort to fire him.

The member expressed high praise and gratitude to the union and to the PEF attorney who represented him in this matter.

“PEF attorney John Kershko did an absolutely stellar job on this case.  He is one of the most competent, hardworking attorneys I’ve ever met — an ultimate professional,” the steward stated.

He also said, “The travail was certainly worth it. I have no regrets. It is an honor to take a measured hit for the privilege of advocating forcefully on behalf of my fellow workers.”

He added that he felt the discipline “was pure retaliation for union activity, and I plan to resume my union advocacy with renewed energy and increased vigor.”


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