International Association of Fire Fighters, Local No. 876

And

Spokane County Fire Protection District No. 1

Interest Arbitration

Arbitrator:      Clay S. Bleck

Date Issued:   04/29/1985

 

 

Arbitrator:         Bleck; Clay S.

Case #:              05540-I-84-00126

Employer:          Spokane County Fire District 1

Union:                IAFF; Local 876

Date Issued:     04/29/1985

 

 

INTEREST ARBITRATION                                )

BETWEEN                                                              )

                                                                                 )

SPOKANE COUNTY FIRE PROTECTION  )

DISTRICT #1                                                         )

"THE DISTRICT"                                                 )

                                                                                 )  DECISION AND AWARD

AND                                                                        )  OF ARBITRATION PANEL

                                                                                 )

INTERNATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF             )

FIRE FIGHTERS, LOCAL #876                          )

"THE UNION" OR "THE FIRE FIGHTERS"   )

                                                                                 )  INTEREST ARBITRATION

 

HEARING SITE:  Ridpath Motel

                                West 515 Sprague

                                Spokane , Washington

 

HEARING DATE:    February 14, 1985

 

ARBITRATION PANEL:

Impartial Arbitrator           For the                                For the

and Chairman                    Association                        Fire District

Clay S. Bleck                     C. H. Barnes                      Larry Adams

W 1125 Second Ave.         Gonzaga University           S. 911 Mariam

Spokane, WA 99204          E. 502 Boone                     Spokane, WA  99206

                                            Spokane, WA  99258

 

APPEARING FOR THE DISTRICT:

Mr. Dale Haye

Mr. L. Bruce Eggelston

 

APPEARING FOR THE ASSOCIATION:

Mr. Lanne Ulrick

Mr. D. Lobdell

Mr. Larry Rider

Mr. George Orr

Mr. H. Kellams

Mr. Don Ellis

Mr. Dave Hughes

Mr. Bill Anderson

 

EXHIBITS

1.         Where the District Gets Its' Money

2.         Estimated Resources 1984 Budget

3.         Typical City Functions

4.         Comparable Dept. Data

5.         Comparable Dept. Practices

6.u.      Memorandum of Authority

7.u.      Arbitration Statement

8.u.      Chart - Wages, Etc.

9.         Comparison: Firefighter to Chief

10.       Statute 41.56.420

11.       Washington Laws - 1983 53.18

12.       Newspaper Clipping:  VH 01/25/85

13.       Newspaper Clipping:  VH "Pay"

14.       Newspaper Clipping:  VH "4.5 M"

15.       Newspaper Clipping:  VH "Fire"

16.       Comparable 5-City Data

17.       Financial Projection

18.       Wm. Donahue Letter

19.       Labor Statistics - "Wage Change"

20.       Wage Settlements - 1985

21.       Weekly Earnings by Industry

22.       Consumer Price Index

23.       Comparison Index and Salaries

24.       Comparable Dept. Pay Scales

25.       1964 Worker Compensation Rates by Class

26.       Disability Comparison

27.       District Rules 07/15/74

28.a.    Job Descriptions

29.b.    Paramedical Trainee Description

29.       (Missing)

30.       Reduced Work Week Costs

31.       Non-Washington Departments

32.       Letter from Barry Ryan Addressed to Each Party

33.       Barry Ryan's Brief

 

      The Spokane County Fire District No. 1 and Local No. 876, IAFF,

reached an impasse in negotiations on eight issues which remain in

dispute,  the basis for this Hearing.  Arbitration was initiated

according to RCW 41.56.450.  The "District" was represented by Larry

Adams.   "The Fire Fighters"  ("Local")  were represented by C. H.

Barnes.  The Impartial Arbitrator and Chairman was Clay S. Bleck.

Both the Fire District and the Union elected to file a post hearing

brief which were received by the Chairman on March 1, 1985.  The

hearing was tape recorded as required by RCW 41.56.450.  The following

issues were submitted for review, recommendation, and decision and

award:

      1.   Appendix A     Wages

      2.   ARTICLE V   Hours

      3.   ARTICLE XI Out of Class Pay

      4.   ARTICLE XII            Holidays

            ARTICLE XII            Paid Holidays

      5.   ARTICLE XXIV        Sick Leave Accrual for LEOFF II Employees

      6.   ARTICLE XV            Prevailing Rights

      7.   ARTICLE XV            ARTICLE XVI - Term of Agreement

      8.   New Provision            Disability Insurance For LEOFF II Employees

 

ISSUES, PROPOSALS, AND AWARD

      The Arbitration Panel met to discuss and formulate the award on

the 4th of March, 1985, at N. 901 Adams St., Spokane, Washington, at

2:30 p.m. Chairman Bleck had the partisans discuss each issue stating

the basis for their position.  A full discussion on each issue was

undertaken separately from the others with both partisans given an

opportunity to provide comment and argument.  The discussion led to

the formulation of an award for that issue.  The decision and award as

to each particular issue is as follows:

1.   WAGES:  (Appendix A to Agreement)

      PROPOSALS:

      The Local has proposed an 8.5% increase, based on employees

base salary.

      The District has proposed a 3-1/2% increase for each con-

tract classification.

      DISCUSSION:

      The panel held that although the Spokane County Firefight-

ers' wages were below those of most Washington cities exhibited in the

Union's presentation, their wages did compare more favorably to fire

fighters' wages in other cities and districts identified by the Dis-

trict in its testimony.  While both sides made strong arguments in

support of their respective position on wages, the panel felt that the

Union's request was excessive in view of recent wage adjustments to

Firefighters.  It also held that the District's offer was below that

necessary to compensate for a reasonable cost of living and equity

adjustment.

      AWARD:

      The panel agreed to a five (5) percent wage increase effec-

tive January 1, 1985.  This five (5) percent wage increase is to apply

equally to all job classifications within the bargaining unit.  The

Union was awarded a 5% wage increase as- follows: 4% cost of living

(COL) and a 1% equity adjustment.

 

2.   HOURS:  (ARTICLE V, Section 2)

      PROPOSALS:

      The Local proposes 4 (four) additional Kelly Days, for a

total of 6 per year.

      The District proposes that the current contract language be

maintained.

      DISCUSSION:

      The Union introduced evidence to support their request to

increase the number of Kelly Days by four (4) .  The work week in the

14 Washington cities and districts as evidenced in Union Exhibit 8

shows the average work week ranges between 42 and 56 hours.  The

District's summary (Exhibit 5) shows 11 of the 16 comparables had a 56

hour work week and 3 had a 55 hour work week.   Both Exhibits

illustrate that in many cases where a shorter work week exists

firefighters in those communities received fewer paid holidays than

the 9 provided to Spokane firefighters.  Furthermore, the District's

Exhibit indicated that where fewer hours were worked, the shift

schedule was more complex than that of the Spokane County fire-

fighters'  24/48 shift.  On this evidence, the panel felt that a

reduction of the 55 hour work week by additional Kelly Days was not

warranted.

      AWARD:

      No additional Kelly Days awarded to Union; language to re-

main as it stands in current contract.

      ARTICLE V

      Hours

      Section 2.  Beginning January 1, 1984, the hours of duty for all

personnel, except those who work a five day, forty hour week, will be

reduced by having two shifts off (Kelly days) during each calendar

year.  These days off will be scheduled at the District's discretion.

 

3.   OUT OF CLASS PAY:  (ARTICLE XI, Section 2)

      PROPOSALS:

      The Local proposes that the qualifying shifts for out of

class pay be reduced from 15 to 10 shifts, that E.M.T.'s filling a

vacant position on the Paramedic Truck be added to the out-of-class

schedule,  and that captains, when working as the shift-Battalion

Chief, be added to the out-of-class schedule.

      The District has proposed that this ARTICLE be deleted.

      DISCUSSION:

      The Union went to some length to support their request to

reduce the number of shifts to ten (10).  Evidence was introduced by

both the Union and the District which supported the Union's claim that

15 out of class shifts before compensation was excessive.  Testimony

at the hearing gave further evidence of the frustration Firefighters

experienced over this condition of employment.

      AWARD:

      The Bargaining Unit was awarded the reduction from 15 to 10

shifts to qualify for out of class pay.

 

4.   HOLIDAYS:  (ARTICLE XII)

      PROPOSALS:

      The Local proposes that there should be one additional holi-

day, making a total of 10 paid holidays.

      The District proposes that the number of-holidays recognized

in the current contract be maintained.

      DISCUSSION:

      Both parties made reasonable arguments in support of their

position.  And both parties presented, by way of Exhibits, evidence in

support of their argument.  The panel had some difficulty in determin-

ing the total paid hours from the Union's Exhibit 8 while the Dis-

trict's Exhibit 5 converted the paid holidays in paid holiday hours.

The panel feels that the nine (9) paid holidays currently received is

reasonable.  Furthermore, in the opinion of the panel, the federal

holiday  celebrating  the  death  of Dr.  Martin Luther King to be

officially recognized in January, 1986 is an issue that may be ad-

dressed at a later time.

      AWARD:

      No additional holidays were awarded; number of holidays re-

cognized in the current contract is to be maintained.

      PAID HOLIDAYS: (ARTICLE XII)

      PROPOSALS:

      The Local proposes that Section 2 of the current contract

apply to all Union personnel.

      The District proposes that Section 2 of the current contract

apply only to shift personnel.

      DISCUSSION:

      The panel felt that a reduction in holiday premiums among

day personnel to accommodate the District's position would be inequit-

able to those two positions affected.  Taking any holiday premiums

which have been paid for a number of years would require greater

justification than was offered in the District's argument.

      AWARD:

      ARTICLE XII, Section 2 of the contract is to remain the un-

changed.

      ARTICLE XII

      Paid Holidays

      Section  2.   All personnnel  shall  receive

holiday pay in the amount of 1/20th of a fourth

year firefighter's monthly salary for each of the

days hereinafter noted as holidays and shall be

paid whether or not said holiday falls on a work-

ing day, day off or within a vacation period.

Said holiddays shall be;  New Year's Day, Washing-

ton's Birthday, Easter, Memorial Day, Independence

Day, Labor Day, Verteran's Day, Thanksgiving Day

and Christmas.  Holiday pay will be paid once

yearly on December 5th.

 

5.   SICK LEAVE:  (ARTICLE XXIV, Section 1)

      PROPOSALS:

      The Local proposes that the rate at which sick leave is

accrued by L.E.O.F.F. II employees be raised from 12 hours per month

to 24 hours per month.

      The District proposed that this ARTICLE remain unchanged.

      DISCUSSION: Evidence was presented by the Union in testi-

mony and through Exhibit 8 supporting their request to increase the

rate by which sick leave is to accrue for L.E.O.F.F. II employees from

12 hours per month to 24 hours per month.  The panel found the weight

of the Union's evidence convincing.  L.E.O.F.F. II employees have been

unable to accummulate sick leave protection at the rate comparable to

that of L.E.O.F.F. I employees.  The concerns regarding the potential

financial burden voiced by the District were considered.  Yet, the

panel found for the Union.

      AWARD:

      The Local was awarded one full shift (24 hours per month)

sick leave for L.E.O.F.F. II employees.

 

6.   PREVAILING RIGHTS:  (ARTICLE XV, Section 1)

      PROPOSALS:

      The Local proposes that ARTICLE XV, Section 1 of the current

contract remain as is.

      The District has proposed that Section 1 of this ARTICLE be

deleted.

      DISCUSSION:

      The District argued that Section 1 of ARTICLE XV which was

valuable in the declaration and protection of employee rights in years

past has lost its useful purpose and should therefor be deleted from

the contract.  The District further felt that employees' rights and

privileges were addressed through other parts of the labor agreement.

The panel in its deliberations found that removal of Section 1 may

lead to confusion and misunderstanding regarding the rights and

privileges of employees.

      AWARD:

      It was awarded that the language in ARTICLE XV, Section 1 of

the current contract remain.

      ARTICLE XV

      Prevailing Rights and Management Rights

      Section 1.  Rights Retained Unaffected:  All

rights and privileges for personnel of the Dis-

trict at the present time which are not included

in this agreement shall remain in force, unchanged

and unaffected in any manner by this agreement.

 

7.   TERM OF AGREEMENT:  (ARTICLE XVI)

      PROPOSALS:

      The Local proposes the new contract be for a term of one

year.

      The District has proposed that the new contract be for a

term of 3 years, with negotiations allowed for wage increases only to

apply to the 2nd and 3rd year of the agreement.

      DISCUSSION:

      The panel found this issue to be complex and frustrating.

The parties must have been aware of their differences over the term of

the agreement.  Testimony by both parties indicated an awareness of

the District's interest in negotiating a three-year contract.  Yet, no

evidence beyond a wage proposal offering a 3% increase in the first

year to reopen in years 2 and 3 on wages was presented.

      The Union took the position that a bonafied multi-year con-

tract was never presented beyond the District's request for a three-

year contract.

      This leaves the panel with much confusion and some debate as

to whether a three-year contract covering the issues was ever negoti-

ated.  Without evidence to substantiate the District's basis for

imposing a three-year contract on the parties, the panel felt it was

not at liberty to fashion a contract for more than one-year.

      However, the panel recognizes the frustration experienced by

the District in its effort to receive a multi-year agreement.  The

panel further feels that the parties have a primary obligation to con-

duct their negotiations with a mutual and common understanding as to

the term under which the contract is to be negotiated.  For one party

to negotiate on multi-year terms while the other party considers only

a single year agreement can only lead to the deterioration of the

collective bargaining process.  Respect for the bilateral process that

negotiations foster as well as respect for each other behooves the

parties to come to agreement on the length of the contract early in

their negotiations and not defer such discussion to the arbitration

board.

      We feel that a multi-year labor agreement is in the best

interest of both the District and the Union.  The cost, both financial

and emotional, associated with annual collective bargaining and impass

are a burden that neither party should have to bear.  Thus, we

encourage the parties to make known, at the outset of negotiations,

the terms of the agreement.

      AWARD:

      The Arbitrator stipulates that the term of the contract in

question be limited to one-year

 

8.   DISABILITY:

      PROPOSALS:

      The Local proposes that the District pay the $12.00 per

month Disability Insurance Premiums, for all L.E.O.F.F. II employees.

      The District has proposed that this new benefit should not

be added to the contract.

      DISCUSSION:

      The panel carefully reviewed the arguments presented by both

parties in this part of their testimony.  The District's argument that

L.E.O.F.F. II employees are covered under the Washington State Work-

ment's Compensation plan while L.E.O.F.F. I employees were exempt has

merit.  The District has incurred a significant financial burden pro-

viding Workmen's Compensation for L.E.O.F.F. II employees.  Yet, the

exposure for L.E.O.F.F. II employees is much greater than L.E.O.F.F. I

employees evidenced by the testimony and accompanying Exhibit 26 of

Local #676.  In our opinion, the differences between disability cover-

age for L.E.O.F.F. I and L.E.O.F.F. II employees should be narrowed

with the employee and the employer sharing the disability insurance

premium cost.

      AWARD:

      The panel agreed that the District pay 1/2 (one-half) of the

Disability Insurance Premium, up to and not exceeding $6.00 for all

L.E.O.F.F. II employees.  This language to appear in a new ARTICLE

incorporated into the agreement.

      All eight issues being decided and awarded by the Arbitrator, the

Hearing was adjourned.

 

      Respectfully submitted this 29th day of April, 1985.

 

                                                   /s/

                                                   Clay S. Bleck

                                                   Impartial Arbitrator and Chairman