FREEDOM OF INFORMATION COMMISSION
OF THE STATE OF CONNECTICUT
In the Matter of a Complaint by Final Decision
George Brey and AFSCME Local 1565,
against Docket #FIC 93-12
Board of Mediation and Arbitration State of Connecticut, Department of Labor,
Respondent August 25, 1993
The above-captioned matter was heard as a contested case on May 21, 1993, at which time the complainants and the respondent appeared, stipulated to certain facts and presented testimony, exhibits and argument on the complaint.
After consideration of the entire record, the following facts are found and conclusions of law are reached:
1. The respondent is a public agency within the meaning of 1-18a(a), G.S.
2. By letter of complaint dated April 8, 1993 and filed with the Commission on April 13, 1993, the complainants appealed to the Commission, alleging that the respondent failed to respond to, or comply with, a March 29, 1993 request for specified records.
3. It is found that by letters dated November 10, 1992 and March 29, 1993, the complainants requested that the respondent provide the following information relating to NP-4 bargaining unit grievances:
(a) the number of arbitration cases in locals 387,
391 and 1565, which are currently pending, and
the grievant's name, case number, date of filing
and local, where possible;
(b) the total number of arbitrations held since
July 1, 1985 concerning locals 387, 391 and 1565;
(c) the reasons that two specified cases were heard
by the respondent board before existing cases; and
(d) whether suspension cases are given priority for
hearing, and if so, by what authority.
Docket #FIC 93-12 Page 2
4. The respondent made a motion to dismiss items 3(c) and 3(d), above, of the complainants' request on the ground that the complainants sought answers to questions rather than records.
5. It is found that with respect to items 3(c) and 3(d) of the complainants' request, as set forth in paragraphs 3(c) and 3(d), above, the complainants were seeking answers to questions rather than access to records.
6. It is concluded that the remaining requested records are public records within the meaning of 1-18a(d), G.S.
7. At hearing the complainant Brey clarified the records request by stating that data related to collective bargaining, or strategy and negotiation with respect to collective bargaining were not being sought.
8. The respondent claims that the requested records are exempt from disclosure pursuant to 31-100, G.S., which provides in relevant part that: "[t]he [respondent] board shall hold confidential all information submitted to it by any party to a labor dispute and shall not reveal such information unless specifically authorized to do so by such party."
9. The respondent maintains that the "parties" to the grievance are the union and the employing agency, and therefore the requested information could be disclosed, pursuant to 31-100, G.S., to the duly authorized union representative who has been service representative, Ed Mackey.
10. Complainant Brey maintains that while Mr. Mackey is the service representative for local 1565, and he acts at the request of the local when it believes his intercession is neccessary, for purposes of this records request he, not Mackey, was duly authorized by local 1565's executive board.
11. The complainants also argue that 31-100, G.S., does not create an exemption for the requested records that is applicable to them.
12. It is found that in connection with its arbitration proceeding investigation, complainant Brey was duly authorized by local 1565's executive board to obtain the records at issue in this case.
13. The respondent concedes that the complainant Brey was given the opportunity to review arbitration files and arbitration awards for the NP-4 bargaining unit.
Docket #FIC 93-12 Page 3
14. The respondent further concedes that while the records identified in paragraph 3(a), above, were not provided to the complainants, a request for the number of all pending grievances, including NP-4 grievances, would have been provided to complainant Brey, and was provided to Ed Mackey.
15. It is found that under the facts of this case, 31-100, G.S., does not permit the respondent to withhold disclosure of the records requested in paragraph 3(a), above, from complainant Brey as the designated union representative in this matter.
16. It is further found that under the facts of this case, 31-100, G.S., would not create an exemption to disclosure of the total number of pending arbitration cases, including those in locals 387, 391 and 1565.
17. It is therefore concluded that the respondent violated 1-15 and 1-19, G.S., by failing to disclose the number of arbitration cases from the NP-4 bargaining unit currently pending, including the grievant's name, case number, date of filing and union local, where possible.
18. The respondent claims that no tally or compilation exists concerning the total number of arbitrations held since July 1, 1985, involving locals 387, 391 and 1565.
19. It is found that the record requested in paragraph 3(b), above, does not exist.
The following order is hereby recommended on the basis of the record concerning the above-captioned complaint.
1. The complaint is hereby dismissed as to items 3(c) and 3(d) of the complainants' request as set forth in paragraphs 3(c) and 3(d) of the findings, above.
2. The respondent shall forthwith provide to the complainants, at no cost, a copy of the record(s) identified in paragraph 3(a), of the findings, above.
Approved by Order of the Freedom of Information Commission at its regular meeting of August 25, 1993.
Debra L. Rembowski
Acting Clerk of the Commission
Docket #FIC 93-12 Page 4
PURSUANT TO SECTION 4-180(c), G.S. THE FOLLOWING ARE THE NAMES OF EACH PARTY AND THE MOST RECENT MAILING ADDRESS, PROVIDED TO THE FREEDOM OF INFORMATION COMMISSION, OF THE PARTIES OR THEIR AUTHORIZED REPRESENTATIVE.
THE PARTIES TO THIS CONTESTED CASE ARE:
George Brey and AFSCME Local 1565
970 Flanders Road
Coventry, CT 06235
Board of Mediation and Arbitration, State of Connecticut, Department of Labor
c/o Asst. Atty. Gen. Sharon A. Scully
55 Elm Street
Hartford, CT 06141-0120
Debra L. Rembowski
Acting Clerk of the Commission