Now that our contract has been funded, I wanted to update you on the status of the recruitment and retention pay that members in certain job classifications and at certain facilities had been receiving under our previous collective bargaining agreement.

The arbitration decision “tentatively eliminates location pay” but gives the employer the discretion to retain it or not, provided that the Department exercises that discretion in a non-arbitrary way.

The award states that:

“At its discretion” means that the only permissible grievance of such a decision is limited to whether or not the decision in question was arbitrary and capricious…

The DOC has not formally notified us about whether or not it will retain the recruitment and retention premium; however, we have received some communications which suggest that the Department does not intend to retain the premium.

We do not know what, if any, analysis the Department has undertaken relative to this issue. As stated above, the arbitrator’s award gives us the right to grieve the elimination of recruitment and retention pay if it is eliminated in an “arbitrary and capricious” manner.

In other words, the DOC must present a rational, evidence-based justification for its decisions regarding the retention or elimination of recruitment and retention pay.

If the Department fails to meet this standard, we will exercise our right under the arbitrator’s award to challenge the decision through the grievance and arbitration process, to ensure compliance with the terms of the Award.

As soon as we receive official notification from the DOC over this issue, we will let you know.

You can read the entire section regarding recruitment and retention pay on pages 24-26 of the arbitrator’s award here.