New Haven Firefighters Prevail in Dispute With State Association

A Connecticut Superior Court judge has ruled that New Haven Firefighters IAFF Local 825 successfully disassociated itself from the Uniformed Professional Fire Fighters Association of Connecticut, Inc. and is not liable for dues after January 1, 2017.

The parties have been at odds for several years with Local 825 alleging it was not a member of the UPFFA, and the UPFFA claiming it was. Local 825 claims it agreed to pay “legislative dues” as far back as 2006, but withdrew from the UPFFA in 2016. The UPFFA hired a collection firm to recover the dues owed.

The dispute escalated over the 2017 Christmas holidays when the collection firm called the home of the parents of Local 825’s president, Frank Ricci. Local 825 filed suit in Superior Court earlier this year seeking a declaratory judgement on the issue of dues owed, as well as making allegations against the UPFFA for breach of fiduciary duties, negligent misrepresentation and innocent misrepresentation.

According to the decision:

In summary: the court finds as a matter of law that the International Association of Firefighters Local 825 has disaffiliated from the Uniformed Professional Firefighters Association of Connecticut, Inc. effective no later than January 1, 2017 and that, subject to any setoff found in this lawsuit, Local 825 owes the state union dues for the year 2016. The court finds the Uniformed Professional Firefighters Association of Connecticut, Inc. without legal basis to continue collection action against the International Association of Firefighters Local 825 of any claimed back dues during the pendency of this lawsuit. The court enjoins the Uniformed Professional Firefighters Association of Connecticut, Inc. from prosecuting its contractual complaint against Local 825 during the pendency of this lawsuit. The court declines without prejudice to award any monetary sum as a prejudgment remedy.

According to a press release issued by Local 825:

This brings to an end a struggle that started in 2016 by Local 825 to win their freedom from UPFFA, which insisted that Local 825 had not properly disaffiliated and must remain a member.

Here is a copy of the decision: IAFF Local 825 v UPFFAC Decision

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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