Recently Jeff Rubin sent a letter to the editor at the WCT citing the Pinole Firefighters, Local 1230, lawsuit vs. the City of Pinole as “Un-American”.
The City of Pinole is embroiled in a multitude of legal actions, but this lawsuit is the only one Rubin felt was newsworthy.
If you’re keeping score, Rubin has been bashing the fire fighters for some time.
Letter to the editor:
Pinole is right to appeal decision
The city of Pinole is appealing a Public Employees Relations Board judge’s decision awarding Pinole firefighters overtime pay for work they didn’t perform at a fire station that was closed.
The city closed Station 74 because it could not afford to keep it open. The firefighters want to be paid — with interest — for overtime they supposedly lost when Station 74 closed, despite the fact no firefighters were laid off.
Local 1230, representing Pinole firefighters, filed 12 complaints against Pinole in 2011. Ten were dismissed. An administrative law judge decided in Pinole’s favor on one of the two remaining complaints and in Local 1230’s favor on the other, involving overtime pay.
I applaud the city for appealing. People question the city’s expenditure of additional legal fees, but had the union not filed these complaints, there would be no legal fees at all. Local 1230 is also appealing the decision it lost.
Local 1230 feels its firefighters are entitled to be paid for work not performed. I think it’s un-American.
Below is Vince Wells’, Local 1230 President, rebuttal to Rubin’s March 26 letter to the editor.
In the interest of equal time and truth, I am posting it here.
That is, after all, a very American thing to do.
In response to Jeff Rubin’s comments above, I would like to clarify his misrepresentation of the actions taken by Local 1230 against the City of Pinole. We filed several “unfair labor practice” charges against the City of Pinole to the Public Employees Relation Board because they broke the law. Under California Law, a public employer and the employees bargaining unit are both obligated to follow the law and bargain in good faith under the Meyer-Milias Brown Act (MMB). If this law is broken by either party, a complaint can be filed to the PERB. We filed several charges against the city, as is our right; and the Administrating Law Judge agreed with our charges on one of the two that went before him. We did not file charges based on lost overtime or on the act of closing Fire Station 74. We filed a complaint regarding the bargaining process leading up to the Station closure. You can look at this as if we “sued” the City for “bad faith” bargaining. When you get sued and lose there is a cost or a settlement. Is the writer suggesting that Pinole should be able to violate the law and not pay for it? Under the law, the judge is required to figure out away to restore what was ever lost by the unlawful action of the losing party. This is normal in any situation. Overtime pay only comes up because the judge must figure out a way to rectify the impacts of the unlawful act. The City has appealed the decision which is their right. The way to avoid the legal fees that are being paid by Local 1230 and the tax payers of Pinole to litigate this situation, would be for the city to bargain in “good faith” like the law requires. As the representative of Local 1230, it is my job to represent my members at the bargaining table and as an employee group in a lawful manner. The representatives of the City of Pinole are responsible for representing the city and its constituents lawfully as well. If this is not done, there is going to be legal costs. It seems that the writer is ignoring the fact that the judge ruled in our favor on the matter. He seems to be looking at this from a biased position. When MMB is violated, there is a price to pay. Whether overtime is the method the judge chooses to use to figure out the DAMAGES, is a moot point.
President, Contra Costa Firefighters
Local 1230, (925) 768-5374