Following several years of sparring between the City of Wilmington, DE and its firefighters’ union, the city is proposing a drastic change to the firefighters’ work shifts. The city has submitted a proposal to a neutral third-party arbitrator calling for firefighters to move from a four-platoon to a three-platoon organizational structure as a way to save money.
According to ABC 6 Action News, the city and firefighters have been without a contract for over three years. Currently, city firefighters work twenty-four hours on-duty, followed by seventy-two hours off-duty. As part of the city’s latest contract proposal, the city is looking to move firefighters to a twenty-four hours on-duty, followed by only forty-eight hours off-duty.
The move from a four-platoon to a three-platoon organizational structure will likely require firefighters’ hours increased from an average of forty-two to between forty-eight and fifty-six hours per week. According to ABC 6, the firefighters are willing to work the new shift if the city agrees to the following: First, the union wants a no-layoff clause in the new collective bargaining agreement. Second, the union wants to the city to end the highly-controversial “rolling bypass” policy. Rolling bypasses is a city policy in which various fire stations are closed from day-to-day based on daily staffing shortages.
Here is more on the story from ABC 6.