Employment & Labor Law for Public Safety Agencies

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Minimum Staffing Requirements

     Monthly Law Journal Article: Minimum Staffing Requirements Law Enforcement & Corrections, 2010 (7) AELE Mo. L. J. 201.
     Monthly Law Journal Article: Minimum Staffing: Firefighters & EMS, 2010 (9) AELE Mo. L. J. 201.
     A state labor relations board correctly ruled that a Village committed an unfair labor practice in failing to bargain in good faith with a firefighters union over the inclusion of a "minimum manning" section in a collective bargaining agreement. A balancing test was properly applied in determining that the issue was a mandatory subject of collective bargaining. Village of Oak Lawn v. Illinois Labor Relations Board, #1-10-3417, 2011 IL App (1st) 103417, 2011 Ill. App. Lexis 974 (1st Dist.).
     Arbitrator finds that management violated the bargaining agreement when the fire chief unilaterally discontinued the use of overtime to maintain minimum staffing levels mandated by the agreement. La Pine Rural Fire Prot. Dist. and IAFF L-3387, 126 LA (BNA) 1583 (Reeves, 2009).
     Arbitrator orders a county to pay $599,167 in overtime to fire captains and lieutenants who would have been assigned to work overtime in order to meet a contractual staffing requirement of a minimum of 24 fire rescue officers per shift. Broward County and Prof. Paramedics & F/F, IAFF L-3333, FMCS Case # 05/50342, 125 LA (BNA) 1323 (Hoffman, 2008).
     Arbitrator finds that management violated the bargaining agreement when it did not maintain a manning level of 21 firefighters, where there was a past practice for 15 years, under five contracts, to assign 21 employees per shift. Vil. of Oak Lawn, Illinois and Prof. F/F Assn., IAFF L-3405, FMCS Case #08/55365, 125 LA (BNA) 994 (Kravit, 2008).  
     In a decision where one grievance was dismissed and the award was for one hour of pay in two other grievances, the arbitrator concludes that the "Union must return to common sense application of its CBA during extraordinary events or because of extenuating circumstances." Union Township, Ohio and Firefighters L-3412, 124 LA (BNA) 403, FMCS Case #07/03565-8 (Frockt, 2007).
    Three Michigan appellate courts have ruled that minimum staffing of fire trucks is a mandatory subject of bargaining. Detroit v. Det. F/F Assn., 204 Mich. App. 541, 517 N.W.2d 240, 1994 Mich. App. Lexis 183. Also see Manistee v. Man. F/F Assn., 174 Mich. App. 118, 435 N.W.2d 778, 1989 Mich. App. Lexis 24 and Trenton v. Trenton F/F Assn., 166 Mich. App. 285, 420 N.W.2d 188, 1988 Mich. App. Lexis 98. {N/R}
     OSHA mandates two firefighters inside and two outside when suppressing interior fires. Rule must be adopted by states. Respiratory Protection Rule, 63 (5) Fed. Reg. 1152 at 1273-4 (Jan. 8, 1998) or via Internet on OSHA's WebPage at and download document: fr08ja98-6 [1998 FP 40-1]
     U.S. Dept. of Labor reaffirms 2-in, 2-out rule for structural fires: OSHA requires a minimum of four individuals, consisting of two working as a team in the hazard area and two outside the hazard area (for assistance or rescue). The four need not be assigned to the same rig. Open letter of Asst. Secy. Joseph Dear to Int. Assn. of Fire Chiefs (Mar. 1997) citing Respiratory Protection Standard, 29 C.F.R. 1910.134. {N/R}
     Michigan appellate court rules that a city must bargain over the number of firefighters assigned to a company; NFPA Standard requiring a four-person minimum is adopted. Detroit v. Det. Fire Fighters Assn., 204 Mich. App. 541, 517 N.W.2d 240, 1994 Mich. App. Lexis 183, 147 LRRM (BNA) 2215. (Mich.App. 1994). [1995 FP 59-60]
     Massachusetts court overturns arbitration award; minimum staffing levels for city fire dept. are not subject to bargaining and are a "management prerogative." Chelsea Firefighters Assn. L-937 v. City of Chelsea, Suffolk Co. Super. Ct. #91-4334-F, 30 G.E.R.R. (BNA) 342 (2/20/92). See also: Erie, City of v. IAFF L-293, 459 A.2d 1320 (Pa.Cmwlth. 1983); IAFF L-669 v. City of Scranton, 448 A.2d 114 (Pa.Cmwlth. 1982); IAFF L-589 v. Helsby, 399 N.Y.S.2d 334 (A.D. 1977); Portland Firefighters Assn. L-740 v. City of Portland, 478 A.2d 297 (Me. 1984); Trenton, City of v. Trenton FF Union L-2701, 420 N.W.2d 188 (Mich.App. 1988); Sault Ste. Marie, City of v. F.O.P., 414 N.W.2d 168 (Mich.App. 1987). [1992 FP 89]
     Arbitrator rules city must hire additional firefighters if ambulance duties are assigned to the fire department. City of Wilkes-Barre and International Association of Fire Fighters Local 104 (1974).
     City required to bargain over staffing cut from 3 to 2 firefighters per shift; also must bargain over using non bargaining unit volunteers to improve staffing levels. City of Manistee v. L-645, I.A.F.F., 435 N.W.2d 778 (Mich. App. 1989).
     Labor board allows N.Y. City to reduce all fire engine-company crews from five to four; ladder trucks will continue with five firefighters. Uniformed Firefighters Association and City of New York, Bd. of Coll. Brg., City of N.Y. (12/19/89). N.Y. Times Dec. 20, 1989, P. 28 Col. 1.
     Michigan appellate court orders fire chief to bargain with union over reduction of number of firefighters on duty each shift. Staffing levels affect employee safety. City of Trenton v. Trenton F/F Union, L-2701, 420 N. W. 2d 188 (Mich. App. 1988).
     Police union's demand that a city could not assign patrol cars to cover more than one sector, when all sectors could be filled by overtime assignments, was a nonmandatory subject of bargaining. It interfered with management's right to establish staffing and deployment. City of New Rochelle and Police Assn. of N.R., NY-PERB #U-10093 (ALJ decis.), 21 NYPER (LRP) ¶ 4592, 1988 NYPER (LRP) Lexis 2235. {N/R}
     City need not bargain over number of firefighters on a shift or truck; safety depends on manpower at a particular task. Portland Firefighters Assn. L-740 IAFF v. City of Portland, 478 A.2d 297 (Me. 1984).
     Oregon rules that rig manning is a mandatory subject of bargaining, not a managerial prerogative. International Assn. of Firefighters L-314 v. City of Salem, Case #C-61-83, Ore. Emp. Rel. Bd. (1983).
     Pennsylvania holds that number of firefighters per rig affects safety and is proper subject of bargaining. City of Erie and IAFF L-293, 459 A.2d 1320 (Pa. Cmwlth. 1982).
     Appellate court affirms arbitration ruling requiring city to maintain minimum force of 215 firefighters. IAFF Local 669 v. City of Scranton, 448 A.2d 114 (Pa. Cmwlth. 1982).
     Size of department not a safety issue requiring arbitration; number of persons on an assignment could be. Intern. Assn. of Firefighters Local 669 v. City of Scranton, 429 A.2d 779 (Pa. Cmwlth. 1981).
     Wisconsin holds minimum manning requirements was unrelated to safety or working conditions; not a mandatory subject of bargaining. City of Manitowoc and Manitowoc Prof. Firefighters Assn. Local 368 IAFF, Wisc. Emplmnt. Rltns. Cmsn. Case XXXVII #25608, Decision #18333, 1981-82 PBC (CCH) ¶ 42,294.
     New Jersey Board finds that manning of fire apparatus is not a mandatory subject of bargaining. City of East Orange and L-23 Firemen's Benev. Assn., PERC #81-11, Docket #SN-80-61, 1979-80 PBC (CCH) ¶ 40,138, 6 NJPER (LRP) 378 (1980).
     New York appellate court "modifies" position against mandatory bargaining and arbitration of minimum manpower requirements in the fire dept. City of New Rochelle v. Crowley, 403 N.Y.S.2d 100 (A.D. 1978).
     Meaning of requirement that captain be in charge of equipment. Landreneau v. St. Landry Parish, 355 So.2d 978 (La. App. 1977).
     Manning requirements - as a condition of Employment. City of Alpena v. IAFF L-623, 224 N.W.2d 672.
     Manning requirements: Sickness and vacations. City of Schenectady and City Firefighters Union, Local 28, IAFF, PERB Case #A7535 (1975).

     City of Oakland did not make an impermissible use of neighborhood patrol tax funds by indirectly hiring and training new officers to replace veteran officers who were assigned to neighborhood beat positions. The city was required to appropriate funds, but not actually staff the police force with the minimum number of officers specified. Sacks v. City of Oakland, #A126781, 2010 Cal. App. Lexis 2077 (1st Dist.).

     Management did not violate a minimum staffing requirement of six detectives, when it reassigned a uniform officer serving as the bureau's identification officer, from that unit, and replaced him with one of the detectives. The function was still in the same bureau. Hamtramck (City of) and Hamtramck FOP, AAA #54-390-00625-00 115 LA (BNA) 1192 (Daniel, 2001). {N/R}
     Michigan arbitrators are bound to enforce a minimum manpower agreement after a contract expires. The issue is a mandatory subject for bargaining and arbitration. Oak Park and P.O.A., 110 LA (BNA) 689 (McDonald, 1998). [1998 FP 169]
     NJ Police dept. was not required to perpetuate a contract provision mandating a two-officer minimum per shift, and did not have to negotiate minimum staffing on expiration of the agreement. Readington Twp. and PBA L-2773, PERC #84-7, 9 NJPER (LRP) ¶ 14,218 (1983).
     NJ County did not have to bargain with the union over the number of deputy sheriffs assigned to guard prisoners in the hospital ward. Although the number of officers "has a relation to employee safety" and a deputy, working alone, was killed by an inmate at the hospital, the assignment decision is a managerial right. Bergen Co. Sheriff and PBA L-134, PERC #83-110, 9 NJPER (LRP) ¶ 14,071 (1983).
     Massachusetts Supreme Court holds that arbitrator could not decide one vs. two-man patrol car issues; decision was a management prerogative. City of Boston v. Police Patrolmen’s Assn., 403 Mass. 680, 532 N.E. 640 (Mass. 1989).
     City need not bargain with union on number of officers in a patrol car or minimum number of officers on duty each shift. City of Sault Ste. Marie v. Frat. Ord. of Pol., 414 N.W.2d 168 (Mich. App. 1987).
     Sheriff loses case seeking additional deputies; state and national manpower studies inadmissible as evidence. Cunningham v. Moore Co., 604 S.W.2d 866 (Tenn. App.).
     NYC impasse panel upholds solo police cars for sergeants and lieutenants except in high-risk precincts. Sergeants Benev. Assn. and the City of New York, Case I-145-79, City of New York OCB Panel (1980).
     Sheriff's dept. could not abolish patrol and investigation divisions; minimum manpower clause controls. Local 502 Natl. Union of Police Officers and Co. of Wayne, AAA Case #54-39-0141-81 (Friedman, 1981).

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