Illinois Firefighters Sue To Block Staffing Cuts

Elgin Association of Firefighters, IAFF Local 439, filed suit last week seeking an injunction to block the city’s plan to cut two positions from minimum shift staffing. The city council voted to eliminate the positions when the collective bargaining agreement ends on December 31, 2017, in an effort to save $700,000.

The firefighters filed a grievance challenging the cuts on December 21, 2017. On December 22, 2017, they filed suit in Kane County Circuit Court seeking to block the staffing reduction until an arbitrator can decide the grievance. In court today on the union’s motion for a temporary restraining order, the city agreed to wait until January 3, 2018 when the case can be heard, before implementing the cuts.

Current shift staffing in Elgin is 34 firefighters plus a battalion chief. The proposed cuts would eliminate one firefighter from two stations, dropping shift staffing to 32 firefighters. Local 439 has also filed for interest bargaining.

More on the story.

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.

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