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Morgantown firefighters continue legal battle against the city, mediation proposed for later this year

MORGANTOWN, W.Va. — The legal battle between Morgantown firefighters and the city over holiday back pay will continue.

According to an agreement reached last week by the city and Morgantown Firefighters International Association of Firefighters (IAFF) Local 313, the two sides will continue to negotiate the issue that started in 2019.

It has since evolved to include firefighter assertions that new personnel rules have reduced pay and were enacted as retaliation.

During a hearing Wednesday that lasted most of the day, the two sides agreed to a stay in any future Fire Civil Service Commission hearings and a stay of the city’s writ of prohibition, allowing Monongalia County Circuit Judge Susan Tucker to stop court hearings.

The agreement is facilitated by Judge Tucker, according to attorney Teresa Toriseva who represents the firefighters.

Now, both sides are developing a timeline to “fully develop” witness testimony and other evidence that will be submitted to the Fire Civil Service Commission for proposed mediation later this year.

After the agreement was reached, IAFF President Chuck Campbell released the following statement:

“The 48 union members who brought these retaliation and reduction in pay claims before the civil service and in court are pleased to be moving forward.” Honestly, we’re grateful the civil service commission and the courts exist to resolve these matters. Public safety prohibits firefighters from striking, and West Virginia law doesn’t let us demand collective bargaining. We rely on civil service commissions and the courts to keep it all fair.”

Since Jan. 2019, four mediation attempts have been unsuccessful.

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