The city of Richmond Fire Department has now unionized.
Richmond Firemen petitioned the International Association of Firefighters Local 3133, which serves primarily the Central Jackson County Protection District, in January, according to Fire Chief Lonnie Quick.
He said Local 3133 accepted the Richmond firemen and sent a letter to himself and City Administrator Rick Childers informing the city that the firemen had petitioned.
Quick said the next step was for the city to accept the union.
Last Thursday, the city council and Mayor Lance Green were asked about the situation. Green responded by saying, “They have petitioned to identify a union to begin negotiating a contract,” Green said. “At this point, all we’ve done is recognize that they have petitioned a union.”
None of the seven council members had any comment.
According to Quick, the city did accept the union. Quick read a letter from Childers addressed to Local 3133 President Kirk Lair that said, “I’ve (Childers) been directed by the city council and the city of Richmond to respond to your letter. Following discussion with our local firefighters and discussion with the council, Richmond voluntarily recognizes 3133 of the International Association of Firefighters as the sole bargaining unit for the employees of Richmond Fire Department at or below the rank of captain. We look forward to working with your organization.”
The Daily News placed a phone call to Richmond Captain Carl Carter on Friday afternoon but did not receive a response by press time as to why the employees decided to petition the union.
The Daily News has inquired when the city council discussed the matter, but e-mail and phone messages to City Clerk Robin Littrell have not been returned as of press time.
The Daily News found this following passage on Local 3133’s news page by Local 3133 Vice President Sam Persell: “Tonight (Feb. 25, 2009) the City of Richmond has agreed to allow the firefighters to organize under our Local. The City Administrator will be drafting a letter to us tomorrow. Our next step will be to contact the State Board of Mediation and file the paperwork, from there they will have an election to organize into our Local.”
According to the Feb. 25 meeting of the city council, the matter was never discussed; however, the council did go into closed session. According to the minutes, no action was taken in closed session or after closed session.
Quick said the State Board of Mediation has contacted the city and the city has filed paperwork with them.