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City cannot change call-back rules after lay-off

The City of Frankfort  sued the Police Officers Association of Michigan, seeking to overturn an arbitrator's award in favor of a laid-off patrolman.  The officer was laid-off at a time when the collective bargaining agreement (CBA) provided him with unlimited seniority rights for call-back.  During the lay-off period, however, the CBA was changed to limit to twelve months the time period during which an employee was subject to call-back.  During the negotiations of the CBA, the Union informed the City that it would acquiesce in this change if the immediately affected officer was exempted, and the City did not reply.

After amendment, however, the City attempted to apply the CBA to its previously laid-off employee.  The arbitrator rejected this effort and first the Circuit Court and this week the Court of Appeals upheld his decision.

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