The Providence firefighters’ union said it plans on Monday to ask a judge to vacate the city’s landmark 2013 pension settlement with public safety unions.
Paul Doughty, president of the International Association of Firefighters, Local 799, said the request is a response to a legal maneuver last week in which the city argued Local 799's current contract is void and unenforceable.
The fire union and Providence Mayor Jorge Elorza are fighting in court over the mayor’s implementation over the weekend of a cut in the number of daily fire platoons, from four to three. A status hearing on that conflict was held Monday in Superior Court.
Judge Jeffrey Lanphear declined to issue an order blocking the platoon change. He said he will make a decision by week's end on whether Local 799 has a legal right to pursue the matter though grievance abritration.
Elorza has said the move to cut platoons is needed to trim millions of dollars in annual overtime costs, while Local 799 wants the issue to be subject to negotiation.
Doughty said the firefighters’ union is making a separate request to Superior Court Judge Sarah Taft-Carter undo the 2013 pension settlement struck by Providence with public safety unions. “You can’t have it both ways,” Doughty said, referring to the city's argument that firefighters' contract is void.
When the settlement was completed, it was billed as making the difference in helping Providence to avoid bankruptcy.
The city maintains the 2013 pension settlement would not wiped out if a judge backs the argument on the status of the firefighters' contract.
The move by Local 799 to ask a judge to vacate the pension settlement was first reported by WPRI.com.