Firefighting, Legal

Judge refuses Providence Firefighters’ Request for Restraining Order on Shift Changes

A judge refused to issue a temporary restraining order sought by Providence firefighters to stop the city from moving ahead with shift changes, reports

Mayor Jorge Elorza on Sunday implemented a new schedule that has firefighters working a 56-hour work week. At the same time, the number of platoons has been reduced from four to three.

Elorza said the scheduling changes are designed to help reduce overtime costs in the Providence Fire Department.

Firefighters argued they’re being asked to work more hours, so they should be paid accordingly. The mayor offered an 8 percent raise, but firefighters said their new shifts are 33 percent longer.

At this point, there’s no deal.

Elorza said the city needs to reduce out of control overtime, which is estimated as high as $1 million a month. One single firefighter earned $100,000 in overtime alone, he said.

Yet, the judge indicated that it’s likely that firefighters have a valid contract still in place. The city has argued that the current contract is void based on several legal technicalities.

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