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Supreme Court Rules Against North Kingstown Firefighters

NKFFA Local 1651 IAFF Union today received the RI  Supreme Court decision on a stay of execution in place, thwarting the department's return to its previously held structure as ordered by Judge Brian Stern in his "Unring the Bell" decision in December 2012. The RI State Labor Relations Board  concurred with Stern in September 2013. (Photo Credit Tracey C. O'Neill)

NKFFA Local 1651 IAFF Union today received the RI Supreme Court decision on a stay of execution in place, thwarting the department’s return to its previously held structure as ordered by Judge Brian Stern in his “Unring the Bell” decision in December 2012. (Photo Credit Tracey C. O’Neill)

Breaking – The Rhode Island Supreme Court in a 25-page decision today ruled in favor of the Town of North Kingstown in its years-long battle with its firefighters, IAFF NKFFA Local 1651.

The heated discord between town and union began over the town’s unilateral implementation of changes to the department’s wage, shift and platoon schedules.

The decision, predicated on the Town’s aversion of the right to make managerial decisons, held that,

“After review of the record and in light of our consideration of the particular circumstances that have given rise to the long and bitter conflict between these parties, we hold that the decision to implement the three-platoon structure is a management right of the town.”

Touching upon the issue of the Town’s implementation outside of the collective bargaining structure, the court in examining similar cases found,

“Nonetheless, while the decision to implement the three-platoon structure is a management right, it remains that the effects of that decision are subject to the FFAA’s bargaining requirements…Still, it is also true that a city or town’s obligation to bargain is predicated on a union’s compliance with certain prerequisites. .”

Based on a question of timeliness raised by the Town well into the already established court process and arguments, the Supreme Court held that “the union’s failure  to comply with statutory timeline mandates, (§ 28-9.1-13), vitiated any obligation of the town to bargain regarding any matter requiring the appropriation of money.”

FULL STORY TO FOLLOW

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