Arbitrator Rules in Favor of Firefighters in Unfair Labor Dispute
An arbitrator with the Ohio Employment Relations Board has ruled in favor of the Troy Fire Department Union against the city of Troy, Ohio.
The suit stems from a six-day suspension without pay handed down to firefighter Greg Dilts, a member of the Troy Fire Department and the union. Dilts claimed that the city’s suspension order was issued after the sixty-day time limit had expired, making the suspension illegal. However, while the suspension will be removed from Dilts’ work record and he will be paid the six days wages that were withheld, the arbitrator declined to find the city guilty of unfair labor practices. Instead they merely found that Troy erred in terms of the rules.
According to the city, Dilts was suspended for a variety of offenses, including misuse of city property or equipment, removal of city records, and neglect in performance of his duties. Specifically, Dilts has admitted using a computer at the fire station to retrieve data about fire responses and then sent that data under an assumed name with the purpose of exposing a firefighter receiving worker’s compensation from another municipality while working as a firefighter in Troy.
Dilts and the Union maintain that these actions were in fact events that occurred in union actions, which are protected free speech under law. The unfair labor practices filing were an attempt to address that, but the arbitrator made no finding on those charges, as the technicality of the timeline was enough to dismiss the suspension.
The city of Troy spent nearly $31,000 on legal fees.