By Colleen M. Arnett
Livorno and Arnett Co., LPA
1335 Dublin Road, Suite 108-B
Columbus, Ohio 43215
Local 1120 of the International Association of Fire Fighters, the labor organization that represents firefighters employed by the City of Bucyrus, Ohio, has received a ruling by an arbitrator upholding the Local in connection with a termination grievance. The Local, represented by the law firm of Livorno and Arnett Co., LPA, filed a grievance challenging the City’s decision to fire a Bucyrus firefighter/paramedic.
On June 10, 2018, the firefighter went to the station to fill out his timesheet before heading out of town. When he arrived at the station he noticed that the engine was out on a run and the room where the timesheets were kept was locked. Out of frustration he kicked the door and the door broke. He then texted the firefighter in charge that day to let him know what had happened and talked to the Fire Chief later that day, apologized for his actions and offered to pay for the damages. The cost of repairing the door was $25.
The City of Bucyrus terminated his employment on June 20, 2018 for the June 10, 2018 incident despite the fact that he had no prior disciplines.
The City attempted to justify the termination by arguing that he committed an intentional, deliberate and serious act, that he failed to safeguard City property and that he violated the trust of the City, its citizens and other firefighter. The Union’s position was that he accidentally broke the door when he kicked it out of frustration and that he did not lose the trust of the community or his fellow firefighters. Additionally, evidence and testimony showed that the City failed to apply discipline for similar violations fairly and without discrimination.
The arbitrator’s ruling, which was received on March 15, 2019, upheld the Local’s belief that the City’s actions were invalid. The arbitrator did not find just cause for termination and reinstated the firefighter to his position with the City with back pay, seniority and benefits.