International Association of Fire Fighters, Local No. 876
Arbitrator: Clay S. Bleck
Arbitrator: Bleck; Clay S.
Case #: 05540-I-84-00126
Employer: Spokane County Fire District 1
Date Issued: 04/29/1985
INTEREST ARBITRATION )
DISTRICT #1 )
"THE DISTRICT" )
) DECISION AND AWARD
AND ) OF ARBITRATION PANEL
INTERNATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF )
FIRE FIGHTERS, LOCAL #876 )
) INTEREST ARBITRATION
HEARING SITE: Ridpath Motel
West 515 Sprague
Impartial Arbitrator For the For the
and Chairman Association Fire District
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
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
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
28.a. Job Descriptions
29.b. Paramedical Trainee Description
30. Reduced Work Week Costs
31. Non-Washington Departments
32. Letter from Barry Ryan Addressed to Each Party
33. Barry Ryan's Brief
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
Barnes. The Impartial Arbitrator and Chairman was Clay S. Bleck.
Both the Fire District and the
which were received by the Chairman on
hearing was tape recorded as required by RCW 41.56.450. The following
issues were submitted for review, recommendation, and decision and
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
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)
The Local has proposed an 8.5% increase, based on employees
The District has proposed a 3-1/2% increase for each con-
The panel held that although the
ers' wages were below those of most
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
Firefighters. It also held that the District's offer was below that
necessary to compensate for a reasonable cost of living and equity
The panel agreed to a five (5) percent wage increase effec-
equally to all job classifications within the bargaining unit. The
2. HOURS: (ARTICLE V, Section 2)
The Local proposes 4 (four) additional Kelly Days, for a
total of 6 per year.
The District proposes that the current contract language be
increase the number of Kelly Days by four (4) . The work week in the
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
Exhibit indicated that where fewer hours were worked, the shift
was more complex than that of the
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
No additional Kelly Days awarded to
main as it stands in current contract.
Section 2. Beginning
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)
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.
reduce the number of shifts to ten (10). Evidence was introduced by
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.
The Bargaining Unit was awarded the reduction from 15 to 10
shifts to qualify for out of class pay.
4. HOLIDAYS: (ARTICLE XII)
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.
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
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.
No additional holidays were awarded; number of holidays re-
cognized in the current contract is to be maintained.
PAID HOLIDAYS: (ARTICLE XII)
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.
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.
ARTICLE XII, Section 2 of the contract is to remain the un-
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-
Birthday, Easter, Memorial Day,
Day, Labor Day, Verteran's Day, Thanksgiving Day
yearly on December 5th.
5. SICK LEAVE: (ARTICLE XXIV, Section 1)
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
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
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
found for the
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)
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
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.
It was awarded that the language in ARTICLE XV, Section 1 of
the current contract remain.
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)
The Local proposes the new contract be for a term of one
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.
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.
tract was never presented beyond the District's request for a three-
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
We feel that a multi-year labor agreement is in the best
of both the District and the
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.
The Arbitrator stipulates that the term of the contract in
question be limited to one-year
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.
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
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
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.
Clay S. Bleck
Impartial Arbitrator and Chairman