Negotiations between the Town of North Kingstown and its firefighters union, IAFF Local 1651 on Wednesday ended in a mutually agreed tentative agreement. Right?
After all, Wednesday’s ten hour session at the bargaining table resulted in a Tentative Agreement, dated and signed by Town Manager, Michael Embury and the union’s representative, President Raymond Furtado. Handshakes were made and the parties left negotiations with the agreement that both parties would take the agreement back to their organizations for ratification. Right?
On Friday evening, that’s just what the North Kingstown Firefighters Association (NKFFA) did. Firefighters, union leaders and members met to ratify the agreement, returning the town’s fire personnel to their previous shift structure as ordered by Superior Court Judge Brian J. Stern on December 14, 2012. After deliberating and consideration, the membership ratified a temporary agreement saving the town damages in excess of $1 million. The good faith effort by union personnel in ending the standoff was thwarted just a few hours later.
The town council, meeting on Saturday morning in executive session, flip flopped on that agreement, voting 5-0 not to ratify. Tentative agreements are clearly tentative in North Kingstown.
Town Manager, Michael Embury in press release noted that after calling for a motion to approve, council president Liz Dolan received no response. Motion was then made by Dolan’s fellow Republican Kerri McKay to “not approve” the tentative agreement and seconded by Democrat, Richard Welch. All members, including Carol Hueston, who sat in on negotiations, voted to not approve the contract.
The firefighters plan to return to court to seek entry of order under Judge Stern’s December decision.