Firefighters Sue City Over Health Benefits
By Josh James
Lexington, KY – The Lexington firefighters union is suing the Urban County Government and Mayor Jim Gray over alleged collective bargaining agreement violations.
On October 18th, Mayor Gray's administration sent an email to all city workers announcing an increase in employee health insurance costs next year. According to a suit filed by the Lexington Professional Firefighters, the government failed to convene a benefits advisory committee, which was to include representatives from the firefighters union and all other sectors of government. Lexington Professional Firefighters president Chris Bartley says that constitutes a violation of the firefighters' collective bargaining agreement.
"We should have formed the committee, put the bid out for services, and reviewed each plan and have a say in each plan. That's what our end goal is: to redo the whole thing again," Bartley says.
Bartley says the city has declined the firefighers' grievance, meaning the case may soon require an independent arbitrator. Susan Straub, spokesperson for the mayor, has said the administration won't comment on open lawsuits.