Morgantown firefighter union attorney says lawsuits against city are expected over shift differential pay issue

Published: Mar. 30, 2021 at 5:43 PM EDT
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MORGANTOWN, W.Va (WDTV) - The Morgantown chapter of the International Association of Firefighters (Local 313) is accusing Morgantown City Manager Kim Haws of retaliation against the union after a 2019 lawsuit over holiday pay.

“Retaliation by public officials against firefighters should alarm the citizens of Morgantown. It certainly raises questions about who is in charge what their motives,” said Teresa Teriseva, the Wheeling attorney who is representing Local 313.

The IAFF is placing focus squarely on Haws’ involvement in this issue. The City Manager was hired in December of 2020. According to a statement by the city, he quickly focused on updating the city’s personnel rules. One of those rules was “inconsistencies in how some employees were claiming shift differential.”

City employees would receive 63 cents per hour between 1 p.m. and 8 p.m.; employees would also receive $1.02 between 8 p.m. and 3:00 a.m..

Morgantown’s public affairs office referred 5 News to a press release sent Monday afternoon as the city’s official stance on the issue.

In a statement late Tuesday afternoon, Toriseva rebukes the city’s statement. She says firefighters were trained by the City’s Human Resources Department to fill out the time sheets with shift differentials. The IAFF says the shift differential has been cancelled entirely by the city.

“The response to the statement by the city shows that the attacks against the members of the IAFF are going to continue,” Toriseva said.

The IAFF cast a unanimous vote of ‘no confidence’ against the City Manager in March.

“We are currently doing the work that is necessary to take these issues fully before a judge in Monongalia County to start with their violations of civil service, their violations into state. We are starting to look into violations of federal law,” Toriseva said.

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