In November 2017, Fall River Fire Lieutenant Joshua Hetzler was elected to the City of Fall River School Committee. On the same day and in the same election, Fall River amended its charter prohibit City employees from serving on the School Committee. Attorneys Ian Russell and James Hykel persuaded a federal judge to issue an injunction preventing the City from enforcing that amended charter against Hetzler. The decision stands as an affirmation that even public safety employees have First Amendment rights.
Many employees in the public and private enjoy the ability to eat and drink while they work, whether at a desk, in a work vehicle, or in other work areas. This is a small, but critical convenience, that allows employees to stay refreshed while enduring the drudgery of work and spares many employees the need to exhaust a formal break when they just want to nibble.
The City of Boston and SENA
negotiated a new policy that reduced how much vacation leave is accrued when employees are on certain types of paid or unpaid medical leave for at least 12 weeks. However, a few years later, the City unilaterally decided to count all absences, including vacations, personal time and suspensions, toward this threshold.
After UNITE HERE Local 26successfully went on strike against Marriotthotels to protect and improve pay and benefits, the Marriott-operated Aloft Hotel in Boston terminated a few workers on a highly questionable basis. Attorneys Patrick Bryant and Jillian Ryan persuaded neutral arbitrators to reinstate them.
A Cambridge area hospital terminated a 31-year beloved employee for allegedly failing to report to work for two days and for checking her email during a time she was required to observe a patient. A neutral arbitrator hired by 1199SEIU United Healthcare Workers East and the hospital threw out the first allegation entirely and reduced the discipline for the second offense to a two-week suspension. Attorney Jillian Ryan represented the Union throughout the proceedings.
On June 10, 2019, the Commonwealth Employee Relations Board (CERB) upheld the dismissal of charges filed by the City of Melrose against IAFF, Local 1617 alleging that the Fire Union had violated the state Collective Bargaining Law by refusing to bargain over mid-term changes to promotional criteria. Pyle Rome attorney Al Gordon O'Connell represented the Union at the investigation and in the appeal.
On July 3, 2019, an arbitrator issued a decision in favor of UFCW, Local 1445 that Gorton's violated the parties' collective bargaining agreement and the National Labor Relations Act when it suspended a union steward for calling the HR manager a "f@#^ing piece of sh#t." Attorney Al Gordon O'Connell represented the Union in the case.
On June 13, 2019, Pyle Rome attorney Al Gordon O'Connell convinced a federal judge in Maine to issue an order blocking Consolidated Communications Inc. (CCI) from selling off its Operator Services/Directory Assistance unit to a call center in Illinois until IBEW, Local 2327 can arbitrate whether the so-called "sale" amounts to improper subcontracting. In achieving this result, the Union and Attorney Gordon O'Connell surmounted an extremely high burden and saved the jobs of fourteen telephone operators in Portland, Maine.
Global corporation Stop and Shop lacked just cause to terminate a meat cutter represented by UFCW Local 1445 simply because he was incarcerated for driving with a suspended license. Attorney Patrick Bryant represented Local 1445 during the hearing before a neutral arbitrator. Local 1445 recently helped coordinate a massive and successful work resistance against Stop & Shop this Spring, during the arbitration.
A landmark collective bargaining agreement negotiated by SEIU Local 509 for contingent faculty required Northeastern University to pay severance to adjuncts displaced by new full-time faculty. Attorney Patrick Bryant persuaded a neutral arbitrator that Northeastern violated the agreement when it refused to pay these severance fees for Spring 2018 courses previously taught by an adjunct. The arbitrator rejected the University's excuse that it was not required to pay the fees because the full-time faculty member who displaced the adjunct was hired in Fall 2017 rather than Spring 2018.