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Springfield Police
Contract Arrested
By Bungling Board
Of Selectmen


Off-duty Springfield, Vt. police officers and fellow members of UE Local 218 picket the Town Hall to protest the Selectmen’s rejection of their contract.

Off-duty Springfield police officers who are members of amalgamated UE Local 218 protested the Board of Selectmen’s rejection of their first contract with an informational picket line on April 14. They were joined by Fellows Corp. and Bryant Grinder workers who are also Local 218 members.

Police officers ratified their first-ever contract on Feb. 26, nearly a year to the day after they voted for UE representation. They were understandably angry when the Board of Selectmen unexpectedly declared their contract "unacceptable."

Two officers in Town Hall on the evening of April 13 were stunned when Board Chairman John Follett read a letter to UE Local 218 indicating the selectmen still had "a number of concerns with the proposed contract" and were seeking answers from the town’s negotiator. (The union had not received the letter and would not until 3 p.m. the following day.)

'Bad Faith'

The negotiator Follett referred to was Laurence Wood, hired through the Vermont League of Cities and Towns to negotiate the town’s four contracts. Only one contract negotiated by Wood has been approved by the Board of Selectmen.

When asked by UE negotiators, Wood assured the union that he had full authority from the Board of Selectmen to negotiate. So did town officials.

"The town hired an outside negotiator, gave him authority to bargain a contract, and now claims they ‘tried and failed’ to get their questions answered," said Local 218 in a statement. The town is acting in bad faith and holding the police contract hostage, the union said. "We are willing to clear up any unanswered questions, but first we must be aware there are questions."

Police a Mob?

In response to the Selectmen’s meeting, police officers and fellow UE members from Bryant and Fellows rallied outside Town Hall the following day. And since Town Hall is across the street from the law offices of Selectman Douglas Richards, the UE members marched over to pay him a visit. Richards told them he wouldn’t speak to "a mob" and demanded they "disperse." However, he then came outside and spoke with Sgt. John Esposito, a negotiating team member, and Field Org. Rachel Clough.

At the Board of Selectmen’s meeting on April 16 UE members called for resumption of negotiations and exposed the failure of negotiator Woods to keep the board informed.

UE News - 04/98

Home -> UE News -> 1998 Archives -> Article

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