State Agency Issues Complaint Against City of Holyoke For Not Bargaining With Local 1693

August 16, 2017

The City of Holyoke removed a critical fire engine from service without bargaining first with the Holyoke Firefighters Association, Local 1693, IAFF. Attorney Patrick Bryant successfully represented Local 1693 in the efforts to obtain a complaint alleging that the City's actions committed an unfair labor practice.

For several months, the City had been periodically removing Engine 2 from service in order to save money. This reduction in fire vehicles available to respond to an emergency has obvious implications on safety for residents and fire fighters. This occasional practice came to a head on New Year's Day when a fire tragedy ravaged the City. Engine 2 should have been one of first engines to respond and would have increased the number of engines that did respond -- had the Chief not deactivated Engine 2 that day to save money.

Despite this tragedy, the Chief's refused to seek money to restore Engine 2 and instead doubled down on his strategy. He proposed to permanently remove Engine 2. His plan led to an overwhelming majority of fire fighters voting no confidence in the Chief and Mayor.

The City ultimately adopted the Chief's plan to remove Engine 2, but on a temporary basis. The Union alleged that the City and Chief did so without honoring its obligations to fulfill its bargaining obligations under state law. An investigator assigned by the Department of Labor Relations agreed and issued a complaint. Now, the City has a right to a hearing to determine whether it violated obligations to the Union under state law for the manner it which it removed an engine from service.

Related Attorney: 
Patrick N. Bryant