The fire captain renaming is essentially a result of the core reason for hiring labor Svengali Terry O'Neill after years of namby pamby bargaining over a dollar here or there on co-pays.
The goal has been to create a flash point...a line in the sand issue that can be resolved either through litigation or leveraged bargaining.
The latter is in play here. A combination of assertive PR and pitting smoke eaters against one another over some getting pay cuts while others don't.
I assume the feeling is there will pressure within the union to get pay restored to eight captains demoted to firefighter/unit leader.
On the union side, going to arbitration will produce a status quo imposed contract and tee the controversy up for another cycle, thus costing the city money and the risk of public fatigue with the conflict.
But that doesn't help the captains who took a pay cut.
The City may say it wants an end to minimum manning and in theory they do. What they would likely take is a reduction by one, two, maybe three men in exchange for a pay hike and some kind of accommodation for the captains caught in the crossfire.
"Unit leader" sounds so contemporary management style..Kind of like a Wal-Mart or McDonalds. The old paramilitary model is fading. Maybe police sergeants can be called team leader. Well, probably not.
Watertown Daily Times | Watertown fire department captains get marching orders