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Fire Union files “Prohibited Practices” Complaint

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By Carol A. Clark

Los Alamos County and the Los Alamos Fire Association Local #3279  have been in collective bargaining since January.

On April 6, the county declared negotiations were at an impasse and without an agreement with the union, county council approved a 3 percent pay increase for firefighters on April 7.

While five councilors voted in favor of the pay hike, Nona Bowman was absent,  Councilor Robert Gibson voted against the pay hike.

“I think in the absence of a collective bargaining agreement, it’s inappropriate for us to be making these changes,” Gibson said at the April 7 meeting.

The fire association complaint, filed with the county Labor Management Relations Board on Wednesday, calls the motion a violation of the county’s labor ordinance.

“This violates the county’s own labor ordinance – it’s just clear you can’t do that and we just can’t abide by it,” said S. Barry Paisner,  the fire union’s attorney in an interview Thursday.

“We just believe it’s illegal. The county may say it’s for the benefit of the firefighters but it’s the union’s position that it’s just another ploy in the negotiations that have been going on since January.”


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