Ogdensburg firefighters union drops some claims, sticks to others in court case against city

Ogdensburg firefighters union drops some claims, sticks to others in court case against city
Ogdensburg Fire Department (Source: WWNY)

OGDENSBURG, N.Y. (WWNY) - The union representing Ogdensburg firefighters has dropped a number of claims in its court case against the city. But it’s sticking with a key claim that 5 firefighters must be on duty every shift.

The changes came last week in a state Supreme Court case pitting the city administration against firefighters.

The dropped claims included one where the union sought to bar the city from reducing staffing to anything less than 24 firefighters.

The union says its claim that at least 5 firefighters must man every shift is all about safety. The city contests that.

“There’s a certain number of men that you need to be able to properly and safely mitigate a fire emergency and 5 is the number we’ve come up with in the city of Ogdensburg and for good reason,” said Jason Bouchard, Ogdensburg Professional Firefighters Local 1799 president.

“We see this entire contract as nothing but a job security clause. This is not about safety regardless of what they say. This is all about job security,” said Stephen Jellie, Ogdensburg city manager.

The city in its 2021 budget cut the fire department to just 20 positions. It’s dipped as low as 19. At the beginning of the year it had 27 firefighters.

Right now, the department has 21 firefighters.

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