Members of the North Kingstown Firefighter’s Association (NKFFA) IAFF Local 1651 met late last week with Town Manager, Mike Embury and recently reappointed legal counsel, Daniel Kinder in the first step towards negotiating a Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA) for fiscal year 2013-2014.
The brief meeting saw the parties coming together after NKFFA President, Raymond Furtado delivered a letter expressing the intentions of the Union to enter into negotiations for the coming year. The negotiations specific to resolving contractual issues left on the table at the expiration of the prior contract will revisit the impasse resulting in the nearly year-long shift, wage and platoon structure.
Scheduled to begin in the New Year, the parties agreed to three meetings to take place on January 9th, 10th and 11th.
Several issues remain on the table, including the recent decision of Judge Brian J. Stern, striking down the Town’s implementation of a 24 hour shift schedule, seeing Town firefighters working an average of 56 hours per week. The Town’s unilateral implementation, facilitated outside the realm of collective bargaining, included a decreased platoon structure, coupling extended shifts with diminished manpower.
The union and town will have 30 days to come to agreement on any unresolved issues that may include the return to the structure in place prior to March 4, 2012.
“We are hopeful that the negotiations will resolve all outstanding contractual issues including those addressed by Judge Stern,” said Furtado in phone interview this week. “We are entering into the negotiations with a positive attitude in the hope of achieving a successor Collective Bargaining agreement and resolving this situation once and for all.”
The Town is currently operating under a 30-day stay of the Judge’s order in determining whether it will comply with the return to prior shift and wage structure or seek review by the Supreme Court.