Superior Court Judge Brian Stern is expected to rule in the North Kingstown Fire Union's case against the town next week.
In December, Local 1651 filed a preliminary injunction against the town after the . Stern’s decision is anticipated on either May 4 or May 7.
. The new shift changes went into effect on March 11, moving firefighters from 10- and 14-hour shifts to 24-hour shifts and average 56-hour work weeks — adding 14 hours to their weekly schedule. The restructuring of the department could save the town approximately $1.2 million, according to Town Manager Michael Embury.
“I’m hopeful that the court rules in our favor,” said Local 1651 President Ray Furtado. “These 24-hour shifts are resulting in many guys working 48 hours in a row, sometimes 72 or even 96 hours. This creates a harmful situation for people in our town and the firefighters alike.”
Local 1651 also filed an unfair labor charge in December. According to Union President Ray Furtado, the state’s labor board has issued a formal complaint against North Kingstown. . Furtado asserts that the council’s move to pass the 24-hour shift as a town ordinance circumvents the collective bargaining progress and violates state law.
On April 30, the town and fire union will begin negotiations for next year’s contract.