Recent Developments

11 February, 2019

It is a basic principle of labor law that a Union does not waive its right to enforce clear contract language simply because it chose to ignore past violations. Here, Attorney James Hykel successfully argued that the collective bargaining agreement clearly required the Plymouth Town Manager personally to meet with the Local 1768 about grievances, and that she could not outsource this contractual duty to her underlings.

The contract states that at Step 2 of the grievance procedure, "The Town

10 February, 2019

In recent contract negotiations with the Town of Stoughton, the Stoughton Police Patrolmen's Association, MCOP Local 446 sought to decrease the burdens on shift officers when prisoners are taken into custody. Prisoner watch causes pressure on shifts already stretched too thin.

6 February, 2019

A neutral arbitrator, after hearing arguments and evidence presented by the Chelsea Fire Chief, concluded that his four-day suspension of a veteran firefighter violated the collective bargaining agreement’s promise to discipline only for just cause. Attorney Leah Barrault represented Chelsea Firefighters, Local 937, in this arbitration. This Award flatly rejects the idea that sick leave use is excessive or abusive merely because the firefighters use more than their co-workers.

4 February, 2019

Bourne Fire Chief Norman Sylvester violated the collective bargaining agreement when he refused to send a full-time fire fighter to the full-time fire academy attended by all current and past Bourne firefighters. A respected, neutral arbitrator agreed with Local 1717 Attorney Patrick Bryant that Chief Sylvester could not rely upon a part-time fire academy to fulfill contractual obligations to train full-time firefighters.

15 January, 2019

A neutral arbitrator agreed with Attorney Leah Barrault that a collective bargaining agreement's effective ban on two-person crews was enforceable against the City of New Bedford. The New Bedford Firefighters, Local 841IAFF negotiated language in their contract that requires, per national standards, apparatus to be staffed by four-person crews and, under very limited circumstances, three-person crews. As such, two person crews were not allowed.

29 October, 2018

The Department of Transitional Assistance suspended an employee represented by SEIU Local 509 for 10 days after finding that she was responsible for a loud altercation in a state office and that she threatened coworkers anonymously. When finally provided a hearing before a neutral decisionmaker, Attorney Jillian Ryan showed that these claims were unfounded.

20 September, 2018

A hearing officer of the Massachusetts Department of Labor Relations has dismissed a complaint filed by the Town of Seekonk against IAFF Local 1931after Local 1931 asked a mediator to help with contract negotiations. Attorneys Leah Barrault and Patrick Bryant successfully represented Local 1931 during contract negotiations, mediation, interest arbitration, and this frivolous unfair labor practice. More than two years after negotiations began, Seekonk fire fighters refused to buckle to pressure.

29 August, 2018

The Commonwealth Employment Relations Board (CERB), the state agency that is the ultimate authority about the public sector collective bargaining law, found that the City of Boston violated the law when it unilaterally implemented a new mediation policy for citizen complaints against police officers. Patrick Bryant represented the Boston Police Superior Officers Federation (Federation) throughout bargaining and litigation. CERB ordered the City to rescind the policy as to patrol officers represented by the Boston Police Patrolmen's Association, Inc.

23 August, 2018

A neutral arbitrator has reversed the City of Holyoke's retaliatory demotion and five-day suspension of former Holyoke Fire President Chad Cunningham. Attorney Terence (Terry) Coles aggressively represented IAFF Local 1693 throughout this matter.

2 August, 2018

Employers should educate employees about changes in policies or practices, especially those policies that allow employers to exercise discretion. That's the standard principle cited by a neutral arbitrator in ruling that the Town of Barre, VT violated its collective bargaining agreement covering Emergency Medical Services employees. Attorneys Leah Barrault and Mark Macchi successfully represented Local 3702, IAFF, AFL-CIO/CLC, which is a member of Professional Fire Fighters of Vermont.