Arbitrator Orders Overtime Payments to Chelsea Deputy Chiefs Due to City's Change in Practice

October 10, 2017

On October 10, 2017, an arbitrator issued a decision finding that the City of Chelsea violated the firefighters' contract when it stopped backfilling for the Deputy Chief of Training and Safety when he was out on leave. Pyle Rome partner Leah Barrault serves as counsel to the Chelsea Fire Fighters Association, Local 937, and her partner Al Gordon O'Connell represented the Union in this case.

The situation arose when the City's new fire chief sought to reorganize the command staff of the Department and struck a deal with the Union to avoid the loss of overtime opportunities that the Union feared would result. Several months later, the Chief unilaterally stopped backfilling for the Training Deputy, despite the fact that he had agreed to do so and despite the fact that the automatic backfilling had become the parties' practice. The Union grieved the matter, and the arbitrator found both that the Chief violated the practice and that he failed to satisfy other contractual requirements prior to eliminating the overtime opportunities.

The arbitrator ordered that the Deputy Chiefs be made whole for the loss of overtime opportunities since November 2016.

Related Attorney: 
Alfred Gordon O'Connell
Related Attorney: 
Leah M. Barrault