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Labor Board Rules D.C. Fire Chief Can Change Schedules

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WASHINGTON — District of Columbia Fire Chief Kenneth Ellerbe has won a key battle in his long-running effort to change firefighters’ work schedules.

Firefighters in the city work 24-hour shifts, with three days off in between. Ellerbe wants to change the schedule so that firefighters work three 12-hour day shifts followed by three 12-hour night shifts followed by three days off. The firefighters’ union says that will result in fewer firefighters working longer hours and endanger city residents.

A board that resolves labor disputes in the district government has ruled that the schedules are not subject to collective bargaining. The union plans to appeal the ruling and is urging the D.C. Council to step in. A spokesman for Ellerbe says the chief has no immediate plans to impose a new schedule.

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