Fire Department Not Allowed To Restrict Vacation Slots

In 2006, the Providence, Rhode Island Fire Department restricted the number of firefighters who would be allowed to take single-day vacations. Though the City subsequently rescinded its new rule, Local 799 of the International Association of Fire Fighters challenged the rule in arbitration.

In arbitration, the City contended that Local 799’s grievance was not filed within the time limits required by the contract. Not only did the Arbitrator disagree with this contention, he also found that the City had waived the right to claim a lack of timeliness by not raising it until the arbitration hearing.

On the merits of the grievance, the Arbitrator concluded that the contract explicitly allowed firefighters to take a maximum of eight single-day vacations per calendar year. However, the Arbitrator declined to order any remedy because the City had rescinded the change in a past practice.

City of Providence, Rhode Island and Providence Firefighters, Local 799, LAIG 6631 (Grossman, 2007).

This article appears in the November 2008 issue