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An Explanation of the Interplay Between the Statutory Rights and Collective Bargaining Agreement Rights

In the case of State ex rel. Ohio Assn. of Pub. School Emps. v. Willoughby-Eastlake City School Dist., 2022-Ohio-4242, the appellate court held that the trial court lacked jurisdiction to determine a “calamity day” dispute — to the extent an explicit conflict actually existed between the collective bargaining agreement (“CBA”) and statute — as the CBA’s calamity day provisions and grievance procedures prevailed.

In this case, the school board argues that the trial court lacked jurisdiction to adjudicate this case because the issue of “calamity days” was specifically addressed in the CBA and, therefore, disputes regarding calamity days must be resolved through the agreed upon final and binding grievance procedure set forth in the CBA. In response, the union argues that its complaint is based on the “calamity day” provisions of R.C. 3319.081(G) and not the CBA provision, thereby vesting the trial court with jurisdiction. The appellate court agreed with the school board.

In support of its decision, the appellate court first explained the following three general rules governing the interplay between the statutory rights and CBA rights: (1) when an explicit conflict exists between a CBA and statute, the CBA provision and grievance procedures prevail; (2) when a statute addresses a matter that is not addressed in a CBA, no conflict exists between the two, and the statute governs the parties as to that matter; and (3) when a CBA uses general language pertaining to a matter but does not use specific language explicitly demonstrating that the parties intended to preempt statutory rights, the statutory rights prevail.

Here, the appellate court applied the first general rule and concluded that the trail court lacked jurisdiction as “it is evident that R.C. 3319.081(G) does not provide the employees with any greater rights than they negotiated for and attained under the CBAs;” “even though the Union is asserting rights created by state law, the application of that law is dependent on an analysis or interpretation of the CBAs;” and “the exclusive method of resolution provided in the CBAs is the Grievance Procedure, which culminates in final and binding arbitration.” 2022-Ohio-4242 at ¶ 5.

To read this case, click here.

Authors: Matthew John Markling and the McGown & Markling Team.

Note: This blog entry does not constitute – nor does it contain – legal advice. Legal jurisprudence is like the always-changing Midwestern weather. As a result, this single blog entry cannot substitute for consultation with a McGown & Markling attorney. If legal advice is needed with respect to a specific factual situation, please feel free to contact a McGown & Markling attorney.




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