The Supreme Court of Washington ruled last week that a decision by the Court of Appeals holding that staffing is a bargainable subject for firefighters, will not be overturned. The case was brought by the City of Everett in an effort to overturn a decision by the state’s Public Employment Relations Commission.
PERC concluded that a Union proposal to increase the minimum crew on duty for each shift was a mandatory subject of bargaining. More specifically, PERC concluded that staffing is a mandatory subject for bargaining when it has “a demonstratedly direct relationship” to workload and safety, as is the case for firefighters.
The city argued that staffing was a management prerogative that it could not be forced to bargain over, and/or submit to arbitration. Five justices unanimously agreed that the Court of Appeals decision upholding PERC would stand, and refused to hear the appeal of the city. Here is a copy of the Supreme Court’s order.