Fire District 1 files unfair labor practice complaint against firefighters union

Fire-District-1-logoSnohomish County Fire District 1 on Wednesday announced it has filed an unfair labor practice complaint with the state Public Employment Relations Commission (PERC) against International Association of Fire Fighters Local 1828, the union representing the district’s firefighters.

The fire district provides fire and emergency medical services to 200,000 residents in Edmonds, Mountlake Terrace, Brier and unincorporated South Snohomish County,

Fire District 1 alleges that the union has violated its statutory bargaining obligations by refusing to execute the written agreement developed by the union’s chief negotiators and the fire district, and approved by Fire District 1 Commissioners. That agreement would yield a new labor contract for 2015-17, the fire district said in its announcement.

The complaint asks PERC for a two-part remedy. First, the union would be ordered to cease violating its bargaining obligations. Second, the union would be ordered to execute the agreement reached by the chief negotiators.

Bargaining for a new contract was a 19-month process that started in May 2014 and continued for 19 months. It included 23 bargaining sessions, including 18 mediations sessions under the auspices of PER, the fire district said. In January 2016, Fire Fighters Local 1828 members voted down a total contract settlement. After that, representatives of the two sides in early February created the agreement that is the subject of the complaint.

“Fire District 1 Commissioners are disappointed and believe that the public interest is best served by pursuing the complaint,” said Fire District 1 spokeswoman Leslie Hynes. “At the core of the dispute is the availability and quality of emergency services to our community in the form of extra coverage during times of higher emergency calls.”

We requested a response Wednesday morning from Local 1828 on the unfair labor practices complaint but have not yet heard back.

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