Minnesota Union Sues to Block Hiring of Firefighters

A union representing part-time firefighters in Brooklyn Park, Minnesota is suing the city to block the planned hiring of 18 new full-time firefighters. American Federation of State, County, and Municipal Employees Council No. 5 filed the suit claiming the city had been stalling negotiations and bargaining in bad faith while implementing plans to reduce reliance on part-timers in favor of more full-time personnel.

The suit pits AFSCME Council No. 5 against Brooklyn Park Firefighters, International Association of Firefighters Local 5031, who are looking to increase the size of their membership with the additional 18 personnel.

The StarTribune quoted IAFF Local 5031 president Rob Miller as saying:

  • “Typically, unions look at full-time positions as a good thing for employees all the way around.”
  • “For a union to be suing the city over adding full-time positions, I am not sure why that is occurring”
  • “IAFF Local 5031 has a very good working relationship with the city.”

AFSCME’s attorney Gregg Corwin was quoted as saying:

  • “The big issue in the lawsuit is whether this delay is intentional.”
  • “We organized this group of part-timers.
  • “After we did this, everything slowed down. We couldn’t get them [city officials] to the table to bargain. Then they announce they would be hiring full-time and less part-time. We think they are basically trying to demonstrate they are in control, not us.”

I am trying to get a copy of the complaint and will post it here.

Here is more on the story.

About Curt Varone

Curt Varone has over 45 years of fire service experience and 35 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, 4th ed. 2022) and Fire Officer's Legal Handbook (2007), and is a contributing editor for Firehouse Magazine writing the Fire Law column.

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