Filed August 7, 1981.
Appeal from the Nebraska Commission of Industrial Relations. Reversed and remanded with directions.
Nelson Harding, Donald L. Knowles, Douglas County Attorney, H. L. Wendt, and John J. Reefe, Jr., for appellants.
John B. Ashford of Bradford Coenen for appellee.
Heard before KRIVOSHA, C.J., BOSLAUGH, McCOWN, CLINTON, BRODKEY, WHITE, and HASTINGS, JJ.
In argument on the motion for rehearing, appellee maintains that the language of our opinion previously adopted and appearing at 208 Neb. 511, 304 N.W.2d 368 (1981), with regard to the obligation of the public employer to the public employee over subsequent years' raises, is ambiguous. In an effort to clarify our position, we substitute the following language to our opinion, in lieu of that language which now appears as the last full paragraph of the opinion:
It is the holding of this court that once a public employer has established a rate of pay for the performance of a particular job in a specific year by granting an across-the-board, cost-of-living wage increase to a group of employees, it may not withhold paying that salary to an employee of the classification granted the raise and performing that work, who would otherwise be entitled to payment at the increased rate of pay, solely on the basis that at the time the payment should otherwise be made the public employer and the bargaining representative of the employee are then engaged in a labor dispute. BY SO declaring, we intend that the wage which should be paid to a public employee by a public employer during a dispute is that wage which the public employer has declared as the appropriate wage to be paid and which it would otherwise agree to pay the public employee if no dispute then existed. As an example, if in the instant case all county welfare employees were granted an increase of 7 percent across the board as a cost-of-living wage increase, the county may not pay the increase to nondisputing employees while escrowing the funds belonging to disputing employees until the dispute is terminated. Such a declaration may, in fact, cause some disputes to become moot. It would occur to us that that would be in keeping with the policy of the entire act and consistent with the Legislature's desire that the public policy of this state be such that there be no interruption of public service. The order of the CIR in the instant case is reversed and the cause remanded for further proceedings in accordance with this opinion, if necessary.
REVERSED AND REMANDED WITH DIRECTIONS.