The hours of work, schedule and leave for Washington, D.C. firefighters and EMS personnel are not subject to union collective bargaining agreements, a city board ruled, paving the way for a major change in work schedules for those employees.

According to the Washington, D.C. Fire and Emergency Medical Services Department, the city’s Public Employee Relations Board found that “hours of work, schedule and leave” are not subject to collective bargaining. The decision came after an appeal by the International Association of Firefighters Union Local 36 filed Dec. 3.

According to department spokesman Timothy J. Wilson, the current work schedule for fire personnel is a four-platoon system, under which firefighters work 24 hours and then have 72 hours off.

The board’s decision could move the Department toward a three-platoon system under which firefighters would have 12-hour shifts and work three day shifts, followed by three night shifts, and then have three days off, Wilson said.

“If implemented, this would take some time,” Wilson told the AFRO. “There is no set timetable for when this could happen.”

“I appreciate the effort and time taken by the board to reach their decision,” department Chief Kenneth B. Ellerbe said in a statement. “Our executive team will continue working with union leaders on a staffing solution that serves and protects District residents and visitors.”

Courtney Jacobs

AFRO Staff Writer