Wednesday, July 21, 2021
When faced with serious labor-management disputes involving working conditions and emergency medical service delivery, Connecticut State Fire Fighters Local S-15 members turned to the Uniformed Professional Fire Fighters Association (UPFFA) of Connecticut for assistance. The combined efforts resulted in a resolution in favor of S-15 members.
“The Connecticut Airport Authority was threatening to make unilateral decisions impacting public and fire fighter safety without negotiation. We could not let that stand,” says UPFFA President Pete Carozza. “The UPFFA deployed all appropriate resources to assist Local S-15 in its fight. We were proud to do it.”
“We are very grateful to the UPFFA and the IAFF for always putting members first and sticking with us throughout this tough process,” says Local S-15 President Christopher Albani. “We could not have had this success without their help.”
In August 2020, the Connecticut Airport Authority (CAA) claimed the reduction in revenue brought about by the reduced airport use during the pandemic meant that the Authority could not afford to fill the 10 vacant positions, some of which had gone unfilled since 2017.
Due to the lack of staffing, the CAA claimed drastic changes were needed elsewhere, including switching from a four-platoon system with a 24/72 shift schedule to a three-platoon system with a 24/48 shift schedule and eliminating paramedic service at the airport.
“Using COVID-19 as a cover, the CAA moved to make these drastic changes impacting public and workplace safety without allowing S-15 to negotiate any conditions or protocol,” says Albani. “With the help of the IAFF and the UPFFA, we fought back.”
The strategy was a multi-pronged approach that included filing a prohibitive practice complaint with the state labor board.
Meanwhile, the UPFFA turned up the political heat by engaging its contacts with the governor’s office and other political contacts. The UPFFA also connected S-15 with the to launch a public/social media campaign using various mediums, including video.
The CAA relented. The Airport Authority is now in the process of hiring with plans to fill all open positions. Additionally, the shift schedule will remain at 24/72 and the paramedic program will continue.