Webster Groves loses major legal battle with Fire Fighters Local 2665 over performance pay

Pay up arbitrator rules; chastises city for making illegal changes in union’s contract

Publisher Emeritus

The City of Webster Groves has lost a major legal battle against the Webster Groves Fire Fighters Local 2665.

As if a prelude the city’s unilaterally and illegally cancelling the fire fighters’ contract on March 7, an arbitrator ruled in the fire fighters favor that Webster Groves:

  • Cannot refuse to pay performance pay and step pay for 2022.
  • Must reinstate the sick leave policy that was in effect under the terms of the contract.
  • Cannot refuse to pay fire fighters retiring in 2022 for their unused accrued sick time.

“The City is ordered to compensate any fire fighters who were entitled to vacation days as a result of unused sick leave from Jan. 1 to June 30, 2022,” the arbitrator’s award concluded. That is expected to be $50,000 for overtime, $5,000 in the arbitrator’s fee and the city attorney’s legal fees.

He strongly reprimanded the City by noting that the “City cannot amend, modify or change any City policies… in conflict with…” the union’s bargained contract.


  • The city also tried to argue that Fire Fighters Local 2665 could not arbitrate any of these issues. They lost that issue as well.
  • The city tried to argue that because of “budgetary constraints” they had the right to “temporarily suspend” contract provisions for performance pay. WRONG AGAIN, the arbitrator ruled.
  • In its counterarguments, the City claimed that it provided advance notice to the union of their intention to modify the contract’s sick leave policy. “There is no evidence corroborating these claims,” ruled the arbitrator.


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