Arbitrator: Seekonk Town Administrator Violated Fire Contract By Failing to Pay Health Insurance Stipend

June 30, 2017

An independent arbitrator has seen through the Town of Seekonk’s attempt to pay less than what agreed to give firefighters who opt out of the Town’s health insurance. Atttorney James Hykel represented Seekonk Fire Fighters, Local 1931, IAFF in this arbitration against Town and its administrator Shawn Cadime.

In 2013, the Union and the Town negotiated contract language that provided employees who opt out of the Town’s health insurance would receive “a net amount of $2,500.” When it came time to pay firefighters, the Town only paid a gross – not net – amount, and also decided that only employees who opted out for at least a year would receive anything at all.

The Union did not back down from the Town's repudiation of its agreement. The Union pressed the matter to arbitration, where the Town implausibly argued it was “impossible” to pay a net amount. The Arbitrator was not convinced – every pay check the Town issues includes a net amount – and ordered the Town to comply with the clear contract language that it agreed to, including paying employees who did not receive the appropriate amount to date.

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James Hykel