Reno Firefighters Sue to Block Layoffs

Reno Firefighters IAFF Local 731 have filed suit against the city of Reno in an effort to block layoffs planned for July 1. At issue is whether the city’s move to eliminate 33 positions violates the collective bargaining agreement.

The city made the decision to layoff the firefighters following the loss of a SAFER grant that would have funded 50 positions. It claims it cannot afford to fund more than 17 of the 50 positions – a claim the union disputes. The union points out that the city’s proposed budget calls for paying off loans early and increasing its cash reserves while laying off firefighters.

IAFF Local 731 Vice President Seth Williams was quoted as saying “To make the claim they have no money while increasing their savings account is disingenuous. No one is out there advocating for public safety. This is about keeping firemen in the fire stations.”

In conjunction with the layoffs, the city plans to close three fire stations on July 1. The union is seeking an injunction to block the plans. The suit was filed last Thursday in 2nd Judicial District Court in Washoe County.

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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