(CN) – A Pennsylvania city can’t ban its police officers from using tobacco without negotiating with the union, the state Supreme Court ruled.
Ellwood City Borough Council passed a ban on the use of all tobacco products in its building and vehicles.
The police union responded with a charge of unfair labor practice with the Pennsylvania Labor Relations Board, which ruled for the union.
The city took the case to Commonwealth Court, which reversed the board’s decision. The court recognized the city’s right to promote the general health and welfare of its citizens.
However, Justice Debra McCloskey Todd reversed the lower court’s decision, citing the Pennsylvania Labor Relations Act and the Collective Bargaining by Policemen and Firemen Act.
“A municipal employer’s ban on the use of tobacco products by members of the police labor organization is a mandatory subject of bargaining and is not an inherent managerial prerogative,” Todd wrote.