Everett asks agency to dismiss firefighters union ruling

EVERETT — The city of Everett has asked a state labor-management agency to toss out its ruling that city officials refused to bargain with the firefighters union.

City and fire officials declined to comment on the 25-page request for appeal filed late last week.

The union Local 46 filed a complaint in 2011 alleging unfair labor practices. The Public Employment Relations Commission released a decision in December, saying the city changed policies regarding firefighter overtime and staffing levels without including the union, and then refused to negotiate the changes.

In its appeal, the city argued that the report ignored the way Everett staffs firefighters and that the union did not make “clear and coherent” requests to bargain.

The report also ordered the city to work with the union to calculate if the changes have cost firefighters overtime, and to pay any lost wages plus interest.

The city’s appeal says that negotiation would be troubled and would “impose a huge monetary penalty” and create “ornery tax-related issues.”

How everything shakes out could affect fire department operations and the city budget. Resolving the case could take months.

Rikki King: 425-339-3449; rking@heraldnet.com.

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