Union, City Reach Partial Agreement

By Beacon Staff

Three days after city firefighters removed their belongings from the downtown fire station because of a dispute between the local firefighters’ union and Kalispell city officials, they’re moving almost everything back in.

By Friday afternoon, the union charter will once again hang on the wall.

In a press release Friday, officials from the Local 547 chapter of the International Association of Firefighters (IAFF) announced they have come to an agreement with the city in which the union can move its assets back into the station without relinquishing ownership.

Firefighters at the downtown Kalispell station Friday called the return of their amenities a step in the right direction.

Ricky Walsh, vice president for the IAFF’s seventh district, said in the release that the union and city still disagree over office space that the Local 547 has occupied for more than 40 years and the placement of both union files and other union-owned equipment.

“The resolution to this disagreement will be processed within channels afforded the union by their collective bargaining agreement and state law,” the release states. “It is hoped these issues will be resolved short of a full arbitration on the subject.”

The charter goes back up today, but firefighters won’t move other amenities in until Saturday. Amenities include refrigerators, televisions, mattresses and more. Though the firefighters’ feelings “were not hurt” by comments from the city attorney and city manager, Walsh said, union officials feel communication should have been better.

“The communication in this instance was poor from the beginning,” states the release, “starting with the original directive up to and including the day of the move.”

“The agreement with the city is a positive move toward settling this dispute.”

Related: Firefighters Remove Amenities In Dispute With City