Arbitrator Finds 14-Year Delay In Filing Fire Union’s Grievance A Bit Too Untimely

In 1991, the City of Richmond Heights, Ohio Fire Department began to assign the duties of the Fire Prevention Officer, a bargaining unit position, to a variety of different individuals, some of whom were not in the bargaining unit. Local 2009 of the International Association of Fire Fighters discussed the issue with the City; it did not file a formal grievance challenging the transfer of the work. When the Association finally did file a grievance 14 years later in 2005, it contended that the grievance was timely because it had “continuously tried to work with the City to resolve this issue in a variety of forms without resorting to filing a formal grievance.”

An arbitrator was unconvinced. The Arbitrator held that “whatever argument might have legitimacy to question the day the event occurred, by any reasonable test, 14 years exceeds meeting the express terms and time limits decreed under the contract. Testimony and documentation entered into the record clearly indicates a past trail of not only a lack of pursuing resolution of the grievance, but demonstrates the Association acquiesced to the employer’s alternate means of providing fire protection services.”

City of Richmond Heights, Ohio and International Association of Fire Fighters, Local 2009, LAIG 6388 (Weisheit, 2006).

This article appears in the October 2006 issue