3 CIR 406 (1978).



Plaintiff, |
NEBRASKA, A Municipal |
Corporation, |
Defendant. |

Filed February 24, 1978.


For the Plaintiff: Les Seiler

For the Defendant; William A. Harding

Before: Wall, Kratz & McGinley, J.J.


This case brings before us the dispute between the City of Hastings and its firefighters as to the proper wage for firefighters in the 1977-78 fiscal year. We find that we have jurisdiction of the parties and of the subject matter.

After this action was filed, the defendant City of Hastings unilaterally raised wages for its firefighters. The plaintiff is thus unable to carry its burden of proof that the maximum salaries differ from the prevalent. We find, however, that plaintiff has carried its burden of proof that the minimum salaries for firefighters and captains differ from the prevalent, and that such salaries should be increased.

Both parties urge us to accept Lincoln as a comparable for the array. We find that inclusion of a city more than six times the size of the defendant to be more than we can accept. Plaintiff's expert testified that Hastings' department would be comparable to one of Lincoln's battalions. Defendant's expert on pay scales gratuitously testified that Lincoln was comparable. We cannot credit this testimony any more than we can credit his testimony that Fairbury and York, less than one-fourth the size of defendant, are comparable.

We thus have an array of Grand Island, Fremont, Beatrice, North Platte and Norfolk. The median of the firefighter's minimums is $733.00 or 2.2% and the mean is 4750.00 or 4.6%. We set the increases at the mid-point, or 7.8%. In both instances, we spread the differential over the intermediate steps.

Both parties have provided us with alleged "comparability factors" from the 1970 census. The data are stale and of questionable validity now, eight years later, in any event. We have done linear correlation coefficient tests on the sample in defendant's Exhibit 16, it being the largest, and thus least susceptible to skewing. In all cases, firefighters salaries were compared. Population came out with a value of .0001418, or almost sheer chance. Percent of manufacturing computes to - .23501876, an inverse relationship, but short of the significant level of .6614. Percentage of white collar employment computes to -.00062409, or again, almost sheer chance. Percentage in governmental employment shows a high correlation of .70742048, but since the universe is only seven, the significance level here is .7456, and again the computation falls short. The percentage unemployed comes out at .05275355, or close to pure chance. The percentage below the poverty level computes to -.31609811, an inverse relationship, but well below the significance level. Even if any of the figures had come out above the significance level, we still have not been provided with any indication of causality, of similarity of the data pools being sampled (which would really be of aid to us) or of which way an adjustment, if any, should be made.

For future cases, if the parties desire to introduce evidence of factors which they believe require an adjustment to the final result, if they wish us to consider the evidence, they will have to supply us with either expert testimony or statistical computations showing the correlation, the cause, and the type of adjustment the party believes is required. We will no longer work with raw data except to spot check the parties' computations.

We now turn to an examination of fringe benefits.

Vacation. Hastings does not vary sufficiently from the mean or median to require us to make an adjustment.

Holidays. The median of the array is 8, the mean is 8.25. We do not find the defendant to be so far out of the mainstream as to require a change.

Uniform Allowance. The median of the array is $155.00, and the mean of the array is $215.00, both below Hastings. No change is warranted.

Sick Leave and Accumulation. Hastings does not differ as to the rate of sick leave allowed. The median of the array is a maximum accumulation of 53 days. The mean of the array is 51+. We direct an increase to the mid-point, or a maximum accumulation of 52 days.

Major Medical. We find no deviation from the mean or the median and direct no change.

Health Insurance Contribution. The median of the array is $49.69. The mean is $42.28. We direct an increase to the mid-point, $45.99, for as much family coverage as that contribution will purchase.

Plaintiff requests us to order a dues check-off for those members of the union as have requested it on Exhibit 15, pursuant to ยง 48-224, R.R.S. 1943. Only two of the array have dues check-off. The statute provides that union dues may be deducted if the governing body approves the organization. No other discretion is vested in the governing body. Here, the governing body has recognized, voluntarily or by election, the plaintiff as bargaining agent. We deem this sufficient "approval" and order the dues checkoff.

The new pay schedules are attached as Annex "A".

We have examined all of the factors which we are required to examine, whether verbalized herein or not. We determine the total compensation as ordered herein, including fringes, to be comparable to the prevalent.

Ordered , that the dispute herein be settled as hereinabove set forth.