City Wrongfully Reassigns Work Outside Of Firefighter Bargaining Unit

The City of Reno, Nevada created a new position titled “laborer (equipment parts runner)” to pick up equipment and parts for the Reno Fire Department’s Fleet Maintenance Shop. Local 731 of the International Association of Fire Fighters, which represents the Department’s firefighters, filed a grievance contending that the creation of the new position was impermissible subcontracting.

An arbitrator upheld Local 731’s grievance. The City argued that its actions fell within the scope of the management rights clause of the contract. The Arbitrator acknowledged there was tension between the management rights clause and the “maintenance of benefits” clause of the contract, which prohibited the City from unilaterally changing mandatory subjects of bargaining such as subcontracting. Given that the delivery of parts had historically been performed by members of Local 731, the Arbitrator found that the past practice should carry the day. The Arbitrator noted that on several occasions in the past, other arbitrators had rejected the City’’s attempt to civilianize functions associated with the Department’s Fleet Maintenance.

City of Reno, LAIG 6829 (Perea, 2010).

This article appears in the May 2010 issue