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NK Fire Union Files Fourth Labor Relations Board Complaint

Action stems from letter sent by town directly to firefighters offering a $14,000 payout to end a longstanding legal case.

The North Kingstown Firefighters Local 1651 have filed a fourth complaint with the Rhode Island State Labor Relations Board alleging unfair labor practices after a March 27 letter signed by the Town Council was sent directly to firefighters, bypassing the union and urging them to accept a settlement offer to end a lengthy legal battle.

In a release, the union said the council used the letter in an attempt persuade the firefighters to accept the terms of the offer by offering $14,000 "cash in hand." At the same time, the union said the letter describes settlement terms that differed from what the town presented to the union during closed-door negotiations.

"Despite the North Kingstown Firefighters well-documented legal success, the letter also tells the firefighters to 'consider where the last two years of litigation have gotten you,'" the statement read.

The longstanding dispute stems from the town's imposition of 24-hour shifts for firefighters two years ago. At the same time, the union says it came along with a 23 percent reduction in pay.

In the letter, the contract is described as a "big win for you and your families," noting that while they'd remain on a 56-hour schedule, base pay would increase by 20 percent if a settlement were reached. 

"This proposal will provide you with the richest benefits of any firefighters we know of," the letter states. "Your lifetime of monthly pension benefits will be increased by 30 percent over the life of this settlement agreement."

"We ask that you vote to ratify it," the letter states. "We would ask you to consider where the last two years of litigation have gotten you. It is time for both sides to stop paying lawyers and return to normal. We are simply asking you to seriously consider the merits of this proposal and we sincerely hope we can conclude this acrimonious process with an agreement that benefits all."

Other changes included a high deductible health insurance plan and the creation of health savings accounts with the town initially funding them and covering 50 percent of deductibles, family sick leave would be cleared away but 35 hours of additional vacation and sick time would be added, unused sick time payouts would be cut from 1250 to 11 hours, and "we have agreed that your union will be given the latitude to rearrange the schedule within the 3-division structure that works best for you," the letter states.

A hearing date on the new complaint is set for Sept. 18 at 9 a.m. The hearing is at 1511 Pontiac Ave., Building 73, Cranston. 

Politics Sheriff of NK July 01, 2014 at 02:23 PM
Yet the no-information NK moron (voter) will still vote "'publican' cuz of 'obama" and dolan and hueston and mckay and the nkgop can continue to trash this beautiful town. It's not those rodents fault, it's the zero-information voters.
Rhodeyresident0303 July 01, 2014 at 03:11 PM
Exactly !!! The majority of the voters care more about their beloved Wickford and it's art festival than a functional public safety system. What have these morons in the town council done? Approved a empty train station, left the post rd corridor a ghost town, put up a beautiful wind turbine, turned devils foot rd and Newcomb into south providence and completely destroyed the fire department. What more will they do? I for one have my house on the market and luckily plan retiring after 23 years in the engineering field. Like I said before my neighbor is a firefighter in north Kingstown. And it kills me to see his vehicle at the firestation day and night and not at home with his family. These men and women are over worked underpaid and treated like scum in this town.
Steve July 02, 2014 at 07:21 AM
How are they over worked? This is not Providence/Warwick. How many runs are they doing a day? They sleep at least 6 hours on their overnight shifts. What the NK fire Fighters are pissed off about is they can not work thier side jobs as carpenters/painters...... Let's be realistic, the TC will end up telling the FF we can'nt pay you the money we owe you. What happens then? Turn the Dept into Volunteers? For all of you complaining about the Republicans in the town maybe it is time for you to run for Town Council. Why is it the Democrats can not get someone to win a couple seats?
Politics Sheriff of NK July 07, 2014 at 09:29 PM
I thought Dan Kinder had this all sewed up and the republican council were going to save $$$ by "setting labor precedent" with the hundreds of thousands in fees to Kinder and associates. If they were so right with their "process" why the offer for all this "cash in hand"? Huh 'ol lady Dolan and 'oler lady Hueston?
highflyer July 08, 2014 at 08:01 AM
@PSofNk--Can you say stupid bribe? I guess you didn't see the great savings you received in your recent tax bill? You need to read between the lines. This is just another blip in the highway of NKTC, Embury and Kinder. They know better than the rest of us. They are doing a fine job--must be because the foolish voters put these people back in with a couple of others who are going for the ride. I think I am on the Titanic, go down with the ship or get out of here great choices. The town has gone to special interests and insiders its a shame.

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