The president of the Peoria firefighters’ union says he hopes the recent Illinois Labor Relations Board ruling in their favor coaxes the city to head to the bargaining table.
The ILRB backed an administrative law judge’s summary ruling against the city after it didn’t respond to questions related to its implementation of a “brownout” policy, which took rescue engines out of commission in a cost-cutting measure. The union filed an unfair labor practice complaint over the brownouts.
City attorneys claimed the correspondence wasn’t sent to the correct address. The ILRB presented a timeline spelling out why they weren’t buying that argument.
“When you look at all the facts and the timeline of this, this wasn’t just a clerical error as it’s been painted. There’s definitely some legitimacy to this," said IAFF Local 50 President Ryan Brady.
Brady said there’s a substantial cost attached to the issue for the city which spirals into hundreds of thousands of dollars.
Brady estimates those costs at $450,000 for the time period stretching from May 21, 2018, when the brownouts began, to January 1, when the two rescue engines in question were permanently decommissioned.
He estimates additional costs of $6,000 per day for all of this year.
“At the end of the day, I guess my hope would be that we can all come to the table and discuss the matter, because if not, as the days go by, this has a growing price tag, and that’s unfortunate," he said.
The city is expected to take the case to the Illinois Appellate Court.
The city's legal department didn’t return multiple calls seeking comment.