An arbitrator for the Manitoba Labour Board has come down decidely in favour of the Brandon Professional Firefighters/Paramedics Association regarding two grievances the union filed against the City of Brandon.
"We’re very happy with the ruling," union president Wade Ritchie said. "It sends us the message that we’re correct in our interpretation of our contract and that we’re correct in defending that contract."
The ruling upholds the union’s position that the city didn’t have the right to "underfill" the position of lieutenant within Brandon Fire and Emergency Services after no successful applicants were found following the first posting.
The collective bargaining agreement requires the city follow a lockstep process when hiring officers in the department, meaning the vacant lieutenant’s position must be filled by one of the four acting second-lieutenants at the hall.
After not finding a successful candidate following the first posting for the vacant position, the city reposted the job, allowing acting first-lieutenants to apply.
As a result of the second posting, Terry Parlow, who at the time was an acting first-lieutenant, was hired.
The hiring of Parlow was also grieved by the union during the three-day hearing earlier this month.
The labour board’s ruling says the hiring also violated the CBA because Parlow "was not permitted ... to apply for the lieutenant posting."
In one of three remedies from the board, Parlow will be stripped of his lieutenant’s position and returned to his former position of acting first-lieutenant.
The city will adhere to the remedies at "their earliest opportunity," said Allison Collins, director of communications for the city.
"The City of Brandon will respect the ruling of the arbitration board," Collins said.
It is unknown if the ruling will affect the city’s case regarding the firing of Ritchie on Jan. 26.
The city first suspended Ritchie for what it called deceitful conduct, but later fired him after it was alleged he harassed and intimidated Parlow about the promotion.
Ritchie signed letters to Parlow alleging that the promotion was in breach of the collective agreement — which has now been proven to be correct, according to the ruling by the arbitrator.
Republished from the Brandon Sun print edition May 1, 2012