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Mayor Williams Taking Steps to Classify Firefighters as Non-Contractual Employees

Updated 35 weeks ago by Tony E. Rutherford, News Editor
Mayor Williams Taking Steps to Classify Firefighters as Non-Contractual Employees

Huntington Mayor Steve Williams has, according to Ray Canafax, president of Local 289 of the IAFF,  taken steps to "apply"   non-contractual (non-union) working conditions, rather, than extending the expired collective bargaining agreement.

Canafax clarified, "He has not invoked anything so far. Just informed us that he has directed his staff to "take steps to apply Article 200 of the City's Code of Ordinances to members of the Huntington Fire Department"

You can read Article 200 which covers insurance, sick leave and more  by clicking on this link:

https://www.municode.com/library/wv/huntington/codes/code_of_ordinances?...

For instance, under the definitions section of Article 200, the work week is defined as 40 hours.

(b)

Work week. The work week shall consist of five consecutive eight-hour working days and shall begin on Monday. Any work performed in excess of 40 hours per week shall be subject to the current compensatory time and overtime policy.

Mayor Williams Taking Steps to Classify Firefighters as Non-Contractual Employees

(c)

Non-contractual employees. Non-contractual employees shall include all professional and administrative positions not covered under a collective bargaining agreement.

Before Article 200 could be applied approval of revisions  by city council would be necessary.

Canafax and Lt. Larry Zimmerman., vice president of Goldstar Lodge 65 of the FOP,   spoke to Huntington City Council members during good and welfare urging them to not support proposals that would be detrimental to firefighters or the police.

A large contingent of firefighters stood in support of the speakers.

Canafax told council that firefighters were still "willing to come to the table," although not thrilled about the city insurance offer.   The number of firefighters to protect the community is now substandard, which, he said, is a pivotal contractual issue. 

The city's "what's mine is  mine and what's yours is negotiable is not a healthy way to conduct business," Canafax said. "I urge council to get the city back to the table."

He called the administration's response to the 75-3 rejection of the proposed contract as "perceived retaliatory action.

Williams had previously issued a strong statement Friday there will be no further negotiations. "That was our last, best and final contract offer."

Lt. Zimmerman told council that the department filed for an injunction Thursday in Circuit Court to block health care alterations for current and retired police officers.

He explained that the recent layoffs have diminished recruiting and are sending some current officers to seek employment elsewhere.

"Please start looking for alternative revenue sources other than current employee cuts and/or taxes," he said to council members. "We need to begin thinking outside the box."  As an example, Zimmerman asked for reconsideration of riverboat gambling.

The legal filing has stopped labor negotiations with members of HPD.

Members of AFSCME vote Tuesday on the city's offer.

Mayor Williams is speaking in Washington, DC and not available for comment. The Herald Dispatch could not obtain a comment from Bryan Chambers, communications director.

Council takes up the fiscal 2018 budget Thursday at 5 p.m. in a special call meeting at City Hall, specifically council proposals to strengthen both departments.

 

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