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Central Kitsap Fire and Rescue files labor complaint against its union

Central Kitsap Fire and Rescue has filed an unfair labor practice complaint against its union firefighters.

The complaint, filed with the state’s Public Employment Relations Commission, alleges that International Association of Fire Fighters Local 2819 used the Washington State Council of Fire Fighters to threaten and intimidate CKFR Board Chairman Dave Fergus, who owns an architecture firm in Bremerton.

“At the WSCFF June convention, CKFR’s firefighter union, IAFF Local 2819, introduced a resolution regarding CKFR Board Chairman Dave Fergus,” states a letter written by fire district attorney Kenneth Bagwell. “As adopted, the resolution states that WSCFF members will use all available resources to discourage their respective fire departments from using Rice Fergus Miller Architecture in the planning or building of any public building until Chairman Fergus steps down as a fire commissioner.”

Bagwell went on to say that the state organization’s “brazen threat to Chairman Fergus’s livelihood has only one purpose: to intimidate him and other CKFR commissioners in their dealings with IAFF Local 2819. CKFR is very disturbed by this event, which it views as a potential watershed moment in the State of Washington for elected officials tasked with representing citizens in their dealings with labor unions.”

Bagwell said the district intends “to pursue all other available legal means to challenge this attempt to coerce and threaten elected officials in the performance of their duties, including requesting a criminal investigation for Intimidating a Public Servant under RCW 9A.76.180.”

The union has also filed an unfair labor complaint against the district. In that March complaint, the union contended that district officials should have negotiated with them prior to imposing staffing reductions.

The Public Employment Relations Commission has not released a decision on the union’s or the district’s complaints.

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