Cultivating a close feeling of friendship and fellowship among the Professional Fire Fighters in the State of Rhode Island… read more

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RISAFF extends our deepest condolences to the members of Pawtucket Local 1261 on the Active Duty Death of one of their members.
Our thoughts and prayers are with the Brothers and Sisters of Local 1261 and with his family.
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RISAFF extends our deepest condolences to the members of Pawtucket Local 1261 on the Active Duty Death of one of their members. 
Our thoughts and prayers are with the Brothers and Sisters of Local 1261 and with his family.

Comment on Facebook

So very sad prayers. God bless him.

😞🙏

🙏🏻🙏🏻

Happy Independence Day!

Thank you to all our members working this holiday weekend, stay safe brothers and sisters!
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Happy Independence Day! 

Thank you to all our members working this holiday weekend, stay safe brothers and sisters!

Comment on Facebook

Happy 4th of July

Honoring all those who have served and fallen for our country and our freedom. Thank you all for your service, you are not forgotten. ... See MoreSee Less

Honoring all those who have served and fallen for our country and our freedom. Thank you all for your service, you are not forgotten.

On Thursday, President Andriole along with RISAFF Leadership and Locals attended Funeral services for Fire Fighter Ricardo Torres Jr.

Our prayers and thoughts continue to be with his family and members of the New Haven Fire Department and Local.
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On Thursday, President Andriole along with RISAFF Leadership and Locals attended Funeral services for Fire Fighter Ricardo Torres Jr.

Our prayers and thoughts continue to be with his family and members of the New Haven Fire Department and Local.

Comment on Facebook

Thank you for coming

🙏

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Happy Independence Day!

Thank you to all our members working this holiday weekend, stay safe brothers and sisters!

Honoring all those who have served and fallen for our country and our freedom. Thank you all for your service, you are not forgotten.

Condolences to the New Haven FD, Local 825, for the LODD of Brother Ricardo Torres, Jr., may he Rest In Peace.
Thoughts and prayers are with the Brothers and Sisters of NHFD and their families. We wish a speedy recovery for those injured, thoughts and prayers are with them also.

Applications are open! Need your policy numbers or get a policy for your child, let me know. Ready to apply? Follow the link. https://www.pfia1913.org/scholarship.htm

I joined Mayor Polisena to visit Johnston’s community vaccination site and meet the team that is working hard to get shots in arms. Thank you to everyone who is stepping up to keep Rhode Islanders safe.

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"Your dedication to duty and to this great union has been paramount to moving us forward together." Thank you brothers and sisters in RHODE ISLAND with Newport Firefighters IAFF Local 1080! #ReadyToLead #OurIAFF #TakeBackOurUnion #TeamEdzo

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Thank you brothers and sisters in RHODE ISLAND with Lincoln Firefighter's Association Local 3023! I am honored to have earned your endorsement! #ReadyToLead #OurIAFF #TakeBackOurUnion #TeamEdzo @iaff3023

With deep regret RISAFF announces the LODD of Patrick Dragon, Foster Emergency Dispatchers, Local 3422 from COVID-19.
Details on the arrangements will be posted at a later date.
Please keep the Dragon family and the Brothers and Sisters of Local 3422 in your thoughts and prayers

Just kicking off the 2020/21 New England Conference of Fire Fighters. #OurIAFF #IAFFDist3VP @IAFFNewsDesk @THE_PFFM @PFFNH @PFFMaine @PFFV @risaff @upffa

RISAFF wishes everyone a safe, healthy and Happy Thanksgiving!
To all our Brothers and Sisters working today to protect others stay safe, we are all thankful for your service.

Rhode Island State Association of Fire Fighters proudly and unanimously endorse Jake Lamonda for IAFF General Secretary Treasurer. @JakeforGST #EdKelly #IAFFNewsDesk #JayColbert

Our thoughts and prayers are with the family and freinds of Cranston Fire Fighter Jason Kornberg, may he Rest In Peace.
To our brothers and sisters of @IAFF1363 our sincerest condolences, thoughts and prayers are with you all.

Rhode Island State Association of Fire Fighters proudly and unanimously endorse Ed "Edzo" Kelly for IAFF General President.
#EdzoforIAFF #EdKelly #IAFFdist3vp

Today we remember the ultimate sacrifice of 343 of our FDNY brothers and sisters and all other lives lost during the terrible attacks on our nation 19 years ago.

#NeverForget

Happy Labor Day! We hope everyone has a happy, safe and healthy weekend!
To all those who are working this weekend keeping us all safe, especially those in the firehouses, thank you for your service. Stay safe Brothers and Sisters!

“Filling The Boot” for Muscular Dystrophy goes virtual https://www.abc6.com/filling-the-boot-for-muscular-dystrophy-goes-virtual/

RISAFF proudly endorses you @repdanmckiernan thanks again for having our back! https://twitter.com/repdanmckiernan/status/1300509659690921984

RISAFF proudly endorses @SenatorRuggerio We would like to recognize Senator Reggerio for his unwavering support for the health, safety and welfare of firefighters and public safety in RI.
Senator Ruggerio’s efforts make RI a safer place for both our citizens and fire fighters!

New Law Protects Rhode Island Members Disabled by Cancer https://www.iaff.org/news/new-law-protects-rhode-island-members-disabled-by-cancer/

NKFD is hiring - Apply today at http://firefighterapp.com! #local1651 #iaff #nkfd #northkingstownfirefighters https://www.instagram.com/p/CECqI31nS5m/?igshid=zezf9d10x6tb

RI FF’s can’t do MDA’s fill the boot this year due to Covid. @PFIA1913 and myself will be donating $2k to my 18 RI FD’s to help with MDA fundraising!! @risaff

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Firefighters counter arbitration criticism leveled by panel

Posted

In an interview following an article that covered the Rhode Island League of Cities and Town’s panel discussion of the state’s binding arbitration process, the state firefighters union has responded strongly to criticisms levied against it, which they claim were unfair and disingenuous.

“To some degree, what the attorneys said didn’t surprise me, because I view them as they were salesmen. They were there at that forum to get themselves hired,” said Joseph A. Andriole, president of the Rhode Island State Association of Firefighters. “If they truly, at that forum, wanted to be objective and look at the process, they would have had a balance on that panel.”

Andriole is referring to the three-person panel that spoke during a breakout session at the 18th Annual Convention of the Rhode Island League of Cities and Towns at the Crowne Plaza in Warwick on Jan. 25.

The panel consisted of Vincent Ragosta Jr., Timothy Bliss, both attorneys who have been involved in arbitration negotiations between Rhode Island municipalities and labor organizations. The third panelist, Vijay Kappor, was also an attorney with a financial background who gave a presentation on how municipal leaders can better prepare better financial presentations for arbitration sessions to achieve a more desirable outcome.

The panelists spared no criticism of the arbitration process, and Ragosta was particularly critical of both the process itself, saying it should “be avoided at all costs,” and of fire unions as well, referring to the International Association of Firefighters (the national union that encompasses the state fire union and all the local municipality unions) as a “virtual cartel.”

“I find that word very divisive,” Andriole said. “I can see that maybe he’s frustrated because maybe he’s unhappy with his own work product or the results that he’s getting, but to say something derogatory about your counterpart on the other side, I think was very disingenuous and truly beneath him.”

Ragosta said that the arbitration process was flawed due to a few reasons, including how unions will regularly bring up arbitration decisions from way back when the process was first initiated in 1961 to argue their case, no matter what the current municipality’s situation.

Additionally, Ragosta and Bliss agreed that unions will often put forward multiple, sometimes as many as a dozen, different proposals for negotiations – only to drop the majority of them after the municipal side has spent time preparing rebuttals for those proposals; in essence to waste time and money and drag out the process.

Andriole argued that such tactics were not limited to labor unions, and that arbitrators are mutually chosen and agreed upon by either side during an arbitration process (barring an administrative appointment when neither side can agree to one person), so getting a more positive or negative outcome through arbitration comes down simply to preparing a better case.

“I think it’s important for both sides to have that [tactic available to them]. The cities and towns have that same ability,” he said. “All of the data we use is all public record. There is no magic wand here that makes us win the case. What makes us win the case is we put on strong cases that have strong merit behind them, and the other side does not.”

Andriole estimated, stemming from his nearly 30 years of experience in labor negotiations, that only 10 percent of labor disputes must resort to the arbitration process. He argued that, while the panel said that unions use the arbitration process as leverage to gain themselves a better outcome, municipalities could be accused of that same charge.

“In my opinion, the cities and towns use the threat of going to arbitration as leverage,” he said. “I’ve seen cities and towns threaten arbitration to try to get a better deal and leverage the union into a compromise that is more suited for the city or the town. I have seen them use arbitration as a way to, for a lack of a better term, to shake the tree and get some people to retire.”

Another criticism levied by the panel of attorneys was that unions utilize members during arbitration who aren’t trained in legal matters during the process, which creates difficulties when dealing with the complex legal and financial issues that arise during a collective bargaining negotiation.

Andriole countered that by saying that it is a relatively recent development that municipalities have utilized outside counsel to handle labor negotiations, and that doing so costs more tax dollars – he estimated in the range of $100,000 or more for each contract – and results in a muddying and complication of the process that used to be primarily handled in-house.

“I think we use laypeople to, A; control the cost, and I think we use laypeople because our people are passionate and know our subject matter,” he said. “So I would suggest to the cities and towns that, maybe if they got their fire chiefs more involved in the process, and their mayors more involved in the process or their city solicitors more involved, going to outside counsel is, to me, just throwing taxpayer money out the window.”

In response to Johnston Mayor Joseph Polisena, who suggested during the Jan. 25 panel discussion that arbitrators should be limited to only retired Rhode Island judges, magistrates or attorneys, Andriole said that this would be like a municipality limiting themselves to hiring a city solicitor who is from that city or town – rather than choosing the most qualified person for the job.

“My argument would be that maybe they need to be hired by cities and towns based on their experience,” he said. “I like to go in front of an arbitrator that neither side knows, that are picked on their neutrality, their credentials and their qualifications – versus someone that we personally know or maybe the cities or towns have a personal relationship with.”

In summation, Andriole said that the process does not favor either side. He believes it is a neutral process that is necessary to bring both sides to an agreement, for better or worse. He also said it is an important part of the bargaining process in Rhode Island since public safety departments cannot legally strike.

“I don’t think that the process is a problem,” he said. “I think that the other side doesn’t like some of the results that they’re getting – but that’s because they’re not putting on good cases.”

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