The? employee? in ?this ?case? was ?a? Snoqualmie Police Department sergeant.? ?He was discharged for misconduct. ?His union filed a grievance. ?The arbitrator held the City lacked just cause for termination.?? ?He concluded the appropriate punishment was a 60-day unpaid suspension with a ?return ?to ?duty? ?as ?a ?lower? paid ?police? officer rather than as a sergeant. ?He also ordered the City to make the employee whole except for the wages and benefits due to the 60-day suspension.
The ?City? argued ?that ?backpay? should ?be ?at ?the lower pay for a police officer. ?The Union argued that?? the sergeant rate should apply because the employee was terminated as a sergeant and the reduction in grade shouldn?t take effect until he returned to duty. ?Both sides moved for summary judgment.?? The Superior Court granted the City?s motion.
Division One held that arbitration award was ambiguous on its face and remanded it to arbitrator for clarification.? ?The court rejected the City?s argument that the Union had waived this remedy by not requesting it until its motion for reconsideration in the Superior Court.?? The panel held? ?that? ?because? ?remand? ?was??? merely? ?an alternative remedy rather than a new legal theory the Union did not waive it. Because the arbitrator?s award was ambiguous, the court held there was no possibility for the Union to collect double damages from the City?s failure to make the disputed payments.
Snoqualmie?? ?Police?? ?Association?? ?v.?? ?City?? ?of ?Snoqualmie, 165 Wn. App. 895, — P.3d– (Div. 1 1/17/12) (Cox, Ellington, Grosse)