Providence Firefighters Sue to Stop Increased Hours

Providence Firefighters IAFF Local 799 filed suit yesterday to block Mayor Jorge O. Elorza’s efforts to force an increase in the firefighter’s hours without additional compensation.

Earlier this month, Elorza announced he planned to eliminate an entire shift and require all line personnel to begin working 56 hour workweeks. He claims he has the right under a Rhode Island Supreme Court ruling issued earlier this year in the case of Town of North Kingstown v. IAFF Local 1651.

Under the collective bargaining agreement between Local 799 and the city, firefighters are schedule to work 42 hours per week. That contract is valid through June 30, of 2017. Elorza has reportedly offered the firefighters a flat $50 per week to compensate them for the additional 14 hours.

The suit was filed in Providence County Superior Court on Monday.

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Here is a copy of the complaint: Doughty v Elorza

About Curt Varone

Curt Varone has over 40 years of fire service experience and 30 as a practicing attorney licensed in both Rhode Island and Maine. His background includes 29 years as a career firefighter in Providence (retiring as a Deputy Assistant Chief), as well as volunteer and paid on call experience. He is the author of two books: Legal Considerations for Fire and Emergency Services, (2006, 2nd ed. 2011, 3rd ed. 2014) and Fire Officer’s Legal Handbook (2007), and is a contributing editor for Firehouse Magazine writing the Fire Law column.

  • DaGonz

    He’s offering an additional $3.57 an hour. for the extra 14 hours.. whoop dee doo….

  • heroprep

    This is wrong on so many levels. Providence firefighters work tirelessly around the clock serving the city and this is how their repaid….

  • Steve

    Typical politicians, utterly despicable. I’ll bet Mr. Mayor would be more than offended at an offer of $3.57 an hour if an extra 14 hours was mandated to his already busy schedule. Unfortunately for fire departments the perception that we lie around doing nothing until the bell rings is alive and well thanks to boobs like Mr. Mayor. Add the fact that fire departments don’t “produce” anything and we are easy targets, plus we don’t have the luxury of police departments that always seem to get everything they want/”need”. Crime is down? We need more cops to keep it down! Crime is up? We need more cops to get it down! To Local 799, this is beatable, but it sure as hell won’t be easy. Local 36, DC Firefighters Association, just won a HUGE case dealing with work hours and overtime, it took 11 stinkin’ years but it got done. Of course, the courts down south don’t appear to be as corrupted as the courts up north. If Providence Firefighters have not reached out to the International, they need to do it YESTERDAY!

  • CurtVarone

    Not sure I’d call the court liberal any more. It may have been once upon a time. Today they are quite clearly anti-public employee and anti-labor, and appear to have no quams about making poorly reasoned decisions to reach their desired political end.

  • Mike in Ca.

    Usually, it seems that the Courts require a “Meet and Confer” to change the wages and working conditions.

    Even with the Bankruptcies the City’s of Vallejo, Stockton and San Bernardino, Ca., an “approved imposition'” by the Courts has not happened out here.

    That’s what Collective Bargaining is about. Maybe someone in RI needs to remind this Mayor and Court.


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