More Than One Firefighter Allowed To Use Leave Per Shift

The Town of Kingston, Massachusetts Fire Department issued a rule prohibiting more than one firefighter from using personal or vacation leave per shift. Local 2237 of the International Association of Fire Fighters challenged the rule in arbitration.

In arbitration, the Town relied on its management rights with respect to staffing. However, the Arbitrator cited specific contract language allowing the Town only to forbid the use of leave when the “needs of the Department” required such an action.

In the Arbitrator’s judgment, a blanket policy forbidding more than one firefighter from using leave on a shift – without regard to whether the Department’s needs would be impacted – reached too far and violated the contract. The Arbitrator also found that the Town’s policy “ignores the contract language that provides before a vacation request is to be denied, the Department will attempt to find a qualified Firefighter to fill the shift.”

Town of Kingston, Massachusetts, LAIG 6360 (Altman, 2005).

This article appears in the August 2006 issue