The ongoing union paid leave dispute between the state's prison officers' union and the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation is entering a new phase next week, when a Sacramento court will rule whether the the matter should go to binding arbitration.
CDCR says that the California Correctional Officers Peace Association's owes $4.4 million to reimburse the state for pay and benefits paid to employees who are on leave to conduct union business. The tab built up over the last five years, CDCR says, and the union has paid less than 5 percent on the outstanding charges.
The state filed a lawsuit against CCPOA earlier this year. The union says the figure owed is inflated and argued in this May 14 brief that the disagreement is contractual. That means, CCPOA says, that the matter should go to an arbitrator, not a judge.
CDCR counters in this Dec. 3 court filing that the union doesn't have a contract. In the absence of a contract, the department and the union agreed to a separate UPL deal and then extended it with an oral agreement. Those terms have been violated and the union now must pay up, CDCR contends.
On Tuesday Judge Kevin Cohane will rule whether to send the case to arbitration, CDCR spokesman Paul Verke said.