Wakefield braces for a legal challenge
Written by Jesse Baroka on August 13, 2019
WAKEFIELD — The Wakefield City Council is bracing for a legal challenge from its union workers.The council voted 4-0 Monday, with council member James Anderson absent, to hire the law office of Clark Hill, Marquette, to represent the city an anticipated labor arbitration. In a written report to the council city manager Robert Brown said negotiations with AFSCME Council 25, Local 992, have broken down. City attorney Ray O’Dea recommended Clark Hill, and the council will pay a retainer of $1,000 to the firm. Hourly rates will be paid attorneys and paralegals as required. Last month the council had what was described as a tentative agreement with the union on the agenda, but went into closed session for negotiations and the matter reached an impasse. The city did not hire part-time summer help this year for the first time in memory, citing budget constraints. As negotiations dragged the council found itself in a position to increase the share of health insurance costs paid by its workers to state-mandated levels. It is not clear whether either issue is related to the current impasse. More in this Wakefield News / Bessemer Pick and Axe.