Recent Developments

1 May, 2017

The collective bargaining agreement between Town of Chelmsford and Chelmsford Firefighters Union Local 1839, IAFF, entitles fire fighters to bid on shifts and apparatus by seniority. The agreement also allows the Chief to veto any selection for "just and sufficient cause."

Here, an independent arbitrator was persuaded by Attorney Leah Barrault that unfounded allegations of misconduct were not a sufficient basis for the Chief to veto Fire Fighter A's shift bid.

3 April, 2017

On April 3, 2017, U.S. District Judge George O'Toole dismissed as untimely a duty of fair representation charge that had been filed by a member against USW, Local 8751. The case, which was argued by Pyle Rome attorneys Al Gordon O'Connell and Jill Ryan on behalf of the Union, reiterates the requirement that a member must file such claims within six months of when he knew or should have known of the claim or see his claim dismissed.

28 February, 2017

Attorney James Hykel has aided the Boston Police Superior Officer Federation's effort to force the Boston Police Department to comply with Civil Service law. Hykel and the Federation produced evidence that the BPD was failing to fill vacancies under the specific process outlined in Chapter 31. A Massachusetts Superior Court in Suffolk County has agreed that the Civil Service Commission erred when simply dismissed the Federation's complaint against the BPD without taking evidence.

5 February, 2017

A career-ending accusation against an individual working in health and human services involves sleeping on the job. Some employers consistently terminate such employees who sleep while working. A union, such as 1199SEIU United Healthcare Workers East-Massachusetts helps an employee fight back when facing false or unsubstantiated allegations that they are sleeping.

31 January, 2017

A major benefit of union representation is that employees can have access to independent review of an employer's claims for discipline. An arbitrator usually determines whether the employee engaged in the misconduct alleged by the employer and, if so, whether the discipline is appropriate under the circumstances. Here, Massachusetts state agency, the Department of Children and Families, fired the Grievant, an experienced social worker, after it determined she was speeding more than 100 miles per hour while transporting a teenager under state supervision.

25 January, 2017

Massachusetts public employers having been trying a new tactic when public safety unions are unwilling to accept take-it-or-leave-it contract proposals: suing when unions ask for a mediator. Thankfully, Attorney Leah Barrault, has defeated two of these charges. Last December, the Department of Labor Relations dismissed a charge against Seekonk Fire Fighters based on the Union's request for Joint Labor Management Committee mediation of the bargaining dispute.

17 January, 2017

A regional office of the National Labor Relations Board affirmed that Duke University PhD students have the right to form a union because they, like common-law employees, work in exchange for compensation. Attorney Patrick Bryant, at the request of Service Employees International Union, assisted the primary attorneys, Patterson Harkavy, LLP, and SEIU Fellow Trisha Pande, to advocate for the rights of graduate workers. This parallels graduate student organizing drives at Columbia, Yale, and Harvard Universities.

3 January, 2017

The Partners of Pyle Rome are proud to start the new year by welcoming Jim Hykel as our newest partner. Jim, who is licensed to practice in both Massachusetts and Maine, has worked tirelessly defending the rights of unions and employees for a decade, the last three years of which have been with the firm.

11 December, 2016

An investigator with the Department of Labor Relations, following an evidentiary hearing, issued a three-charge complaint against the Town of Mendon alleging misbehavior by the Board of Selectmen toward the President of Mendon Permanent Firefighters Association, Local 4936 IAFF. Attorney Patrick Bryant represented Local 4936 at the DLR.

11 December, 2016

After contract negotiations with the Town of Seekonk were headed nowhere, Seekonk Fire Local 1931, IAFF asked the Joint Labor Management Commitment (JLMC) for help. The legislature established the JLMC to help public safety unions and employers resolve contract bargaining disputes.