Local 1637 retains Neal Goldstein, of F&L’s Labor Department
In 2011, AFSCME, District Council 33, Local 1637 retained Neal Goldstein, Co-Chair of F&L’s Labor Department as Counsel. Local 1637 represents over a 1000 members who work in the Philadelphia Police Department, the Philadelphia District Attorney’s Office and the Philadelphia Parking Authority. As with all new retainer relationships, F&L’s approach is to work closely with the client and to evaluate the best strategy to help the labor organization more effectively represent and protect the interests of its members. This often requires shop steward training and a careful analysis of pending cases to determine which matters should be pursued to arbitration.
Local 1637, like all of the labor organizations F&L represent, desires to have productive and mutually respectful relationships with employers with whom it has collective bargaining agreements. Unfortunately, in some instances establishing this status requires the union to demonstrate its willingness to aggressively pursue arbitrations and litigation. That has been the case with one of Local 1637’s employers the Philadelphia Parking Authority.
Last year two arbitrations involving termination actions were successfully litigated, resulting in awards requiring the employer to reinstate the grievants and pay them substantial back pay, nearly $100,000. The Authority has challenged one of the awards. According to Goldstein, the employer’s appeal has no merit and the back pay meter is still running.
Our experience at F&L is that some employers are slow learners, but eventually they come around. A classic example is F&L’s representation of the Newspaper Guild of Greater Philadelphia, CWA Local 38010. When F&L was retained by the Guild it successfully litigated 10 consecutive arbitrations involving both contractual issues and disciplines that generated hundreds of thousands of dollars of back pay awards for individuals and classes of employees before the employer figured out that instead of fighting the Guild cooperating would be more productive and far less expensive. Now the Guild and the employer enjoy a healthy and productive relationship and have avoided arbitration for more than two years,
Hopefully, the Parking Authority will learn that fighting Local 1637 is not in its best interests, or in the best interests of its employees.