A Proven History of Success
Highlights from the News
2007 - Local 2071, International Association of Firefighters vs. Town Of Bellingham & Others.
In 2007 Attorney Barrault led the charge of securing a seminal decision at the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court, later reaffirmed in appellate court. This decision established that the 24-hour work shift for firefighters is a mandatory subject of bargaining and that the Massachusetts Joint Labor Management Committee has broad authority to set labor conditions when parties cannot reach an agreement, even if a municipality opposes it.
2010 - Sergeant Jacqueline Creaven vs. Boston Police Department
In 2010 Attorney Barrault represented a Boston Police Sergeant who had been given a six-month suspension without pay and placed on administrative leave for one year. In an 86-page rebuke, the Arbitrator, Craig E. Overton concluded that the Internal Affairs Division had conducted a shoddy investigation based merely on speculation and that the Sergeant should not have been punished. The Arbitrator went on to rule that none of the 119 charges had any substance and dismissed them all.
2013 - Woburn Fire IAFF 971 vs. City of Woburn
In 2013 Attorney Barrault secured one of the first Massachusetts Joint Labor Management Committee decisions in decades, awarding the Woburn Fire Union a three-person minimum staffing provision. Well-established national standards demand that fire departments respond to fire scenes with at least three person crews, however the City of Woburn would not take this concern seriously at the negotiating table. The Arbitrator’s decision granted an increase in per-piece manning and stated emphatically that “this is not a real choice – no firefighter will stand outside a burning building with lives at risk and wait for backup.”
2013 - Chelsea Firefighters Local 937 vs. City of Chelsea Fire Department
In 2013 Attorney Barrault successfully persuaded an Arbitrator to uphold a past practice in the Chelsea Fire Department of presuming temporary heart problems to be work related. A Massachusetts Superior Court Judge later affirmed the Arbitrator’s ruling. Under Massachusetts law, a heart problem that permanently disables a firefighter or police officer from his or her job is presumed to be work related. By contrast, court-interpreted Massachusetts law also provides that a heart problem that temporarily disables a firefighter or police officer from working is not presumed to be work related. Attorney Barrault was able to establish that the City established a practice of granting injury-on-duty (IOD) leave for absences related to heart events. As such, she persuaded the arbitrator that the City improperly denied IOD status for a heart event that prevented a Fire Lieutenant from working. The Arbitrator ordered the City to make him whole.
2014 - Sergeant Jacqueline Creaven vs. City of Boston (Police), Ed Davis, and Albert Goslin
Following the 2010 dismissal of all internal affairs charges against the Boston Police Sergeant, Attorney Barrault secured a settlement against the City of Boston’s Police Department as well as Commissioners Edward Davis and Albert Goslin for $350,0000. The suit was filed after Sergeant Creaven was subjected to targeted harassment, a campaign of intimidation, and retaliation for speaking out about “disparate treatment and selective enforcement” of officers accused of BPD infractions.
2015 - Waltham Fire IAFF 866 vs. City of Waltham Fire Department
In 2015 Attorney Barrault scored another unprecedented decision from the Massachusetts Joint Labor Management Committee awarding a new stipend for public safety employees that she coined a “hazardous duty stipend.” She demonstrated that the hazardous duty stipend was justified for all Waltham FireFighters represented by IAFF Local 866 given their increased call volume and duties, including at Hanscom Airport, and to keep pace with comparable communities. This was the second straight win on behalf of the Waltham Fire Union for Attorney Barrault.
2017 - Lynn Fire Fighters Local 739 vs. City of Lynn, Judith Flanagan Kennedy
After nearly a year of dangerous “brown-outs” and staffing cuts, Attorney Barrault secured an injunction in the Massachusetts Superior Court for the Lynn Fire Union which ordered the Mayor to ensure that the City met its contractual and statutory obligations for safe staffing of the City Fire Departments. The contract between Local 739 and the City of Lynn requires a certain number of firefighters to be working at all times. This staffing ensures that citizens and firefighters have protection in case of emergency. For decades, the City had honored this contractual commitment to staffing, but Mayor Kennedy unilaterally cut staffing to save money. These cuts reduced the fire equipment available, leaving the Local no choice but to take legal action.
2017 - Brattleboro VT Fire Union Arbitration Win
In 2017 Attorney Barrault received a seminal interest arbitration decision for the Brattleboro Vermont Fire Union granting them fair raises and benefits while rejecting the Town’s claim that parity amongst police and fire unions is not a determinative fact. This was a victory for all public safety unions statewide.
2018 - Chelmsford Fire Fighters, Local 1839 and PFFM vs. Town of Chelmsford
In 2018, Attorney Barrault secured a decision from the Massachusetts Joint Labor Management Committee ordering an increase in fire apparatus staffing on behalf of the Chelmsford Firefighters Union. This was the second time Attorney Barrault was able to secure an increase in funding, the first being for the Woburn Firefighters Union in 2013. The neutral arbitrator agreed with Attorney Barrault and the scientific evidence relayed by Boston Deputy Fire Chief Jay Fleming, an expert in fire department staffing, and rejected the Town of Chelmsford’s argument that the Union pursued this measure purely to increase overtime. The Arbitrator directed the Town to incrementally increase staffing, starting with one additional fire fighter on an apparatus at none of the Town’s five fire stations.
2018 - Wakefield Firefighters Local 1478 and Military Veteran vs. Town of Wakefield
Attorney Barrault won significant financial benefits for a deployed military veteran in 2018 after he was unfairly targeted by the Town. Usually, Union contracts provide that employees earn paid leave benefits, such as personal, sick, and vacation leave, throughout the year. Employees generally continue to earn these benefits even if they are on some form of excused leave, such as injury or military, for all or part of the year, unless the contract or past practice specifies otherwise. Nonetheless, the Town Wakefield effectively punished a firefighter for being deployed to Iraq by cutting his paid leave earned while serving his country. The Arbitrator found that the Wakefield firefighter continued to be an employee of the Town during his deployment and he therefore was entitled to earn full amount of personal, sick, and vacation leave under the contract.
2019 - Worcester Firefighters, Local 1009 vs. City of Worcester
In 2019, an independent Arbitrator affirmed seniority-based promotion practices for Worcester Massachusetts fire fighters and unions statewide after Attorney Barrault presented that the City of Worcester violated its collective bargaining agreement with Worcester Firefighters, Local 1009 when it failed to provisionally promote the most senior candidate as Deputy Chief. Attorney Barrault earned another victory with Local 1009 when the Arbitrator affirmed her argument that the City is required to promote from a Civil Service list (a list of fewer than three candidates) for promotions within the bargaining unit. The Arbitrator ordered the Fire Chief to make the Grievant whole and pay him as if he had been properly promoted. The Arbitrator also agreed with Local 1009 and Barrault that the City’s obligation to make promotions from a Civil Service “shortlist” is subject to arbitration. She reaffirmed a prior Arbitrator’s holding that there was a binding past practice of promoting the top-ranked employee on a Civil Service eligibility list when making promotions to positions within the bargaining unit. This Award provides significant clarity and stability to procedures for promotions statewide.
2019 - Daniel Tulley vs. Mayor James Jajuga and the City of Methuen
In 2019 Attorney Barrault navigated a settlement that resulted in a well-deserved promotion for Methuen City Employee Daniel Tulley after the Mayor and other City Officials violated his rights. The settlement came after a suit was filed in federal court citing that the Mayor withheld the promotion as a retaliatory action in response to a political disagreement with one of Tulley’s family members about union contracts.
2019 - Marc Hayhurst and Brian Summering vs. Boston Fire Department
In 2019 Attorney Barrault convinced the Civil Service Commission to expunge the suspensions of two well-respected veteran Boston firefighters. In his decision, Civil Service Commission Chairman Christopher Bowman cited that the actions of the members were, “both reasonable and consistent with BFD rules and guidelines.” Chairman Bowman went on to chastise the Boston Fire Department, and then-Fire Commissioner Joe Finn, for making them “collateral damage, for what appears to be a strategic move to counter …MCAD complaint against the City” which he stated was “inconsistent with basic merit principles – and good conscience.”
2021 - Andrew Nardone vs. Mayor Ted Bettencourt, City of Peabody
In 2021 Attorney Barrault contested the promotional process of the Peabody Fire Department to the Civil Service Commission. The Commission ultimately ruled against Peabody Mayor Ted Bettencourt and the City, stating that our client was illegally and unfairly bypassed in favor of two of the Mayor’s longtime friends. The Massachusetts Superior Court affirmed the decision.
2022 - Fall River Firefighters Association, Local 1314 vs. The City of Fall River
In 2022, Attorney Barrault secured an unprecedented arbitration decision for the Fall River Firefighters Union in the midst of the Covid-19 pandemic. The decision affirmed that a Public Safety Chief’s authority during a state of emergency does not give him or her the right to override collectively bargained terms and conditions. There has long been a misconception in labor law that a Fire Chief has broad management rights during a state of emergency which grants him or her the authority to override collectively bargained terms and conditions. The Fall River Fire Chief, relying on this misconception, tested the parameters of his authority during the COVID-19 pandemic when he temporarily involuntarily assigned a firefighter to work in the Fall River EMS Department, a different City bargaining unit covered by a different collective bargaining agreement. The Arbitrator found that such assignment violated the contract.
2022 - Massport Firefighters Local S-2 vs. Massachusetts Port Authority
In 2022, Attorney Barrault convinced an independent Arbitrator to agree with Massport Firefighters Local S-2 and affirm that an employee cannot be disciplined under rules involving the use of marijuana, which is legal in Massachusetts, if those rules are not clearly communicated and understood.
2022 - Boston Firefighters Local 718 vs. Mayor Michelle Wu, The City Boston
In 2022, Attorney Barrault secured injunctive relief on behalf of Boston firefighters who were facing termination over the vaccine mandate, one of the first in the Nation. Justice Sabita Singh granted an injunction blocking Wu’s administration from enforcing the unfair and illegal COVID-19 vaccination requirement, which Wu announced in December. The policy was a clear violation of collective bargaining and a previously agreed upon labor contract regarding testing and vaccine alternatives. The ruling effectively barred the Wu administration from taking disciplinary action against any union member who was not yet vaccinated until the collective bargaining process had played out.
2022 - State Police Association of Massachusetts vs. Massachusetts State Police Department
In 2022, Attorney Barrault was able to successfully obtain an injunction against the Massachusetts State Police, halting the termination of multiple unvaccinated Troopers. In the court’s ruling, Suffolk Superior Judge Christine Roach wrote: “Defendants are enjoined from terminating from employment with the State Police the Seven SPAM Members identified in the Complaint, until further order of the court.”
2022 - Boston Firefighters Local 718 and the PFFM vs. Civil Service Human Resources Division (HRD)
In November of 2022, Attorney Leah Marie Barrault and the team at Barrault and Associates successfully challenged HRD’s cancellation of the upcoming fire promotional exams on behalf of the Boston Firefighters Union Local 718 and the Professional Fire Fighters of Massachusetts. In the challenge brought against HRD, Civil Service Commissioner Christopher Bowman directed the division to hold the exams by the end of March 2023, ensuring that our clients’ fire departments would be able to have a promotional list allowing them to promote properly and staff their departments.
2022 - New Bedford Fire Fighters Local 841 vs. City of New Bedford
In 2022, Attorney Leah Marie Barrault on behalf of the members of the New Bedford Firefighters Union Local 841 brought a complaint to the Massachusetts Department of Labor Relations alleging that the City of New Bedford had failed to bargain with the Union before they transferred extremely important bargaining unit work, including responding to fire and other medical emergencies, to other inexperienced City units. The Hearing Officer, in this case, agreed with our clients and ruled favorably, ordering the City to cease and desist the transfers and to restore the prior and safer work environment.
2022 - Medford Fire Fighters Local 1032 vs. City of Medford
In 2022, Attorney Leah Marie Barrault and the team at Barrault and Associates received a favorable decision during arbitration on behalf of a member who was wrongfully terminated due to his off duty conduct for which his related criminal charges had been dismissed. In her decision, the Arbitrator found that the member, “was not terminated for just cause,” and that the City failed to prove that he engaged in the alleged off-duty conduct at issue. The Arbitrator ordered the City to reverse the termination and remove all records of it from the member’s file. Additionally, the Arbitrator ordered the City to make the member whole with all wages he would have been entitled to during his time out of work.
2022 - Nashua Firefighters Local 789 vs. City of Nashua
In 2022, Attorney Barrault and the team at Brarrault and Associates on behalf of a member of Local 789 were able to obtain a favorable award at arbitration regarding the unpaid sick time that had been accrued during the firefighter’s career. In the arbitrator’s decision, they found the city had violated the collective bargaining agreement when they refused to compensate our client when he left the department for another position. The city was ordered to pay our client up to 720 hours of unused and accrued sick time.
2023 - Framingham Fire Fighters Local 1652 vs. City of Framingham
Attorney Barrault and the team at Barrault and Associates on behalf of the members of Local 1652 successfully obtained a favorable ruling during arbitration for a member who had been paid incorrectly for years by the city. After retiring, the member realized the city’s mistake and our firm was successfully able to obtain an order for the city and the retirement board to make the member whole through back pay and a change to his retirement benefits.
Every Worker Deserves a Voice
The attorneys at our firm believe the right to organize, to bargain collectively and to withhold one’s labor are fundamental civil rights. We are dedicated to achieving the best possible results for our client while being mindful of the need to control excessive fees and costs. We offer clients sophisticated yet practical legal advice to avoid unnecessary litigation and achieve best results. When litigation is necessary we undertake it as efficiently as possible with full commitment to our clients success. Fee arrangements are flexible and can be tailored to the particular needs of the client.