Victory for Town of Braintree in Department of Labor Relations Case

Attorney Brian Maser successfully defended the Town of Braintree in an important case before the Department of Labor Relations relating to a charge of prohibited practice. The Town’s patrol officers’ union filed a charge concerning the Police Chief’s decision to reduce minimum staffing levels on weekend day shifts starting in November 2014. The DLR issued a Complaint following an investigation at which the union contended that the Town’s conduct violated a past practice in place between the parties and the change impacted officer workload. Over the course of a three-day hearing, the Town presented evidence that demonstrated the Department had historically increased and decreased minimum staffing levels across the various patrol shifts via written memoranda without providing the union notice and an opportunity to bargain. In response to the union’s proffer that the reduction in staff increased officer workload, the Town offered several years of call data on the weekend day shift that showed officers’ workloads did not increase due to the decrease in weekend day shift staffing. The hearing officer credited the Town’s position, concluded that the union did not establish a violation of either G.L. c. 150E, §§10(a)(5) or 10(a)(1), and dismissed the Complaint. We are pleased to have secured this result for the Town of Braintree as it confirms and preserves the Chief’s managerial right to determine appropriate staffing levels across the Department’s patrol shifts.