Lockport firefighters at odds with city on several issues

LOCKPORT, N.Y. (WIVB) — For Lockport Mayor Anne McCaffrey, it’s literally an open and shut case. She explained, “I mean when it’s just a matter of pressing a button to open a door.”

However, the Lockport firefighters union says opening and closing the garage doors to the fire station is not their job and they’ve filed a grievance with the city.

It began in 2010 when the city’s police department took over dispatching duties for the fire department. The task of opening and closing the doors came with it.

However, in December, the city installed remote openers in all the fire department vehicles so firefighters can open the doors themselves.

McCaffrey said the city is trying to avoid costly arbitration.

She said, “Obviously we fight any of those grievances that we feel are unnecessary and really an undue hardship and really that was one that we felt was extremely difficult for the city to go along with.”

Although this case is about literally pushing buttons, it’s just one move the city has made that is figuratively pushing the buttons of the firefighter’s union.

There is an ongoing issue with who should be eligible to apply for fire chief after the current chief retires.

Then, there’s a more recent issue over minimum staffing levels.

The fire board voted to reduce the number of firefighters working each shift to seven from the negotiated nine due to budget constraints.

The city and the fire union will be in state supreme court May 7th to determine whether the garage door grievance can continue to the Public Employment Relations Board.

The same will happen august 7th about the eligibility requirements for fire chief.

News4 made several calls to the Lockport Professional Firefighters Association about these issues and our calls have not been returned.

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