Case No. 04-14
                                      Issued: August 10, 2004

Local 1650, IAFF, AFL-CIO-CLC,  )
               Complainant,     )
          v.                    )       DECISION
                                )       AND ORDER
City of Augusta,                )
               Respondent.      )

     This prohibited practice complaint was filed by Local 1650
of the International Association of Fire Fighters (the "IAFF" or
the "Union") on March 22, 2004.  The Complaint alleges that the
City of Augusta refused to bargain in good faith with the IAFF in
violation of 964(1)(A) and (1)(E) of the Municipal Public
Employees Labor Relations Law ("MPELRL") by entering into and
adhering to parity pay agreements with the City's other bar-
gaining units.  26 M.R.S.A. 961 et seq.  Mr. Robert Bourgault
represented the Union and Stephen Langsdorf, Esq. represented the
City of Augusta. 
     On March 25, 2004, the Complainant filed a Motion for
Expedited Hearing and Interim Relief.  That Motion sought an
order from the Board enjoining the City from unilaterally
demanding interest arbitration until the prohibited practice
complaint is resolved.  The Motion also sought an expedited
hearing.  The Executive Director conferred with the parties and
the City agreed to delay filing its request for interest
arbitration until after the Board had ruled on the Union's
motion.  The argument on the motion was scheduled for May 6,
2004, the same date as the prehearing conference.  
     Chair Jared des Rosiers conducted the prehearing conference 


with the parties.  Employer Representative Karl Dornish and
Employee Representative Carol Gilmore then joined the Chair and
the full Board convened to hear the parties' argument on the two
motions.  After a brief deliberation, the Board denied the
request for injunctive relief and granted the motion for an
expedited hearing.  The date of May 25, 2004, was selected at
that time for the evidentiary hearing.

     The IAFF is the bargaining agent, within the meaning of 26
M.R.S.A. 962(2), for a bargaining unit of firefighters employed
by the City of Augusta.  The City is the public employer, within
the meaning of 26 M.R.S.A. 962(7).  The jurisdiction of the
Board to hear this case and to render a decision and order lies
in 26 M.R.S.A. 968(5).

1.   The Union is the bargaining agent for a bargaining unit
     composed of the uniformed members of the Augusta Fire
     Department.  The Union also represents a separate bargaining
     unit of Chief Officers (Platoon Chiefs) of the Fire
     Department.  The Union and the City have entered into
     successive collective bargaining agreements for the two
     bargaining units for many years.
2.   The City of Augusta has established collective bargaining
     relationships with other bargaining agents representing
     separate bargaining units.  AFSCME represents the Public
     Works unit, and the Teamsters represents the General
     Government unit, three units in the Police Department, and a
     small unit of Civic Center employees.  The collective
     bargaining agreements for all of these units were due to
     expire on December 31, 2002. 


3.   The parties' most recent collective bargaining agreement was
     effective from January 1, 2000, until December 31, 2002.
4.   The parties' first meeting to negotiate a successor
     agreement occurred on April 24, 2002.  Robert MacMaster, the
     President of IAFF Local 1650, served as chief negotiator for
     the union.  David Barrett served as chief negotiator for the
     City, assisted by Ellen Blair, the City's Human Resources
     Director.  At this first meeting, the parties agreed upon
     ground rules to govern their negotiations.
5.   In June of 2002, the Augusta City Council had an executive 
     session with Ms. Blair and City Manager William Bridgeo to
     discuss guidelines for collective bargaining.  At that time,
     the City was in the midst of employee layoffs and some
     significant budget constraints caused by a sour economy and
     a couple of large employers closing their doors.  The City
     Council authorized its negotiating team to take up language
     issues but to defer negotiating over economic issues until
     later in the year.
6.   The parties met five times between June and early September
     of 2002.  The parties negotiated over issues such as vacancy
     and promotional language, substitution language, workers'
     compensation language, and dates for step increases.  The
     parties were able to reach tentative agreements on some of
     these issues.
7.   Although the other bargaining units had agreements with an
     expiration date of December 31, 2002 as well, negotiations
     for those units did not begin until early November of 2002.
8.   On October 7, 2002, the City Council had its second
     executive session to discuss economic guidelines for
     negotiations.  Ms. Blair, the Human Resources Director, and
     Mr. Bridgeo, the City Manager, recommended that the City
     Council adopt guidelines that included a contract duration 


     of just one year, an increase in wages of up to 3%, a cap on
     the increased costs of health insurance paid by the
     employer, and capitalizing an employee medical expense
     reimbursement account up to $100 per employee.  After
     resuming the discussion the following week, the City Council
     rejected the recommendation of an increase in base wages and
     instead authorized a lump sum payment to employees of up to
     3% of base wages.  Other than the change to a lump sum
     payment of up to 3% rather than an increase to the base
     wage, the City Council adopted the City Manager's
     recommended guidelines.
9.   The parties resumed negotiations on October 21, 2002, at
     which time the City offered a lump sum payment of $500.  At
     the next negotiating session on November 1st, the City
     offered a lump sum payment of 2%.  The City also wanted to
     either reduce its share of the health insurance premium from
     95% to 90% or to switch to a less expensive plan and
     continue paying 95% of the premium.  The City agreed to the
     Union's proposal to add two steps to the pay scale.  The
     Union wanted to reduce their work week from 48 hours to a
     42-hour schedule with no loss of pay, or, alternatively,
     they sought an increase in base wages.  The Union also
     sought an increase in EMT/paramedic stipends.   
10.  On November 18, 2002, Ms. Blair and Mr. Bridgeo informed the
     City Council of the scheduled increases in health insurance
     premiums for 2003 and updated the Council on the status of
     negotiations.  The notes Ms. Blair prepared for that meeting
     indicated that they had tentative agreements with AFSCME on
     two major issues:  the 3% lump sum and the switch to a lower
     cost health insurance plan.
11.  In a letter dated December 5, 2002, AFSCME representative Ed
     Willey wrote to the City's Bargaining representative, David 


     Barrett of the Maine Municipal Association, regarding the
     status of negotiations for the Public Works Unit.  That
     letter identified four issues AFSCME had with the City's
     list of changes (presumably a follow up to the last
     negotiating session).  He listed One of the items as:    
     "IX - Me Too - Others receive 3% to base - We Do". 
12.  Ms. Blair responded to Mr. Willey's December 5th letter on
     December 9, 2002.  She addressed each of the items raised by
     Mr. Willey.  She wrote:  

          The City has already agreed to the 'me too'
          regarding the wage increase.  If other units
          receive the 3% on base instead of in lump sum
          payments, we will do the same for this unit.

13.  On December 20, 2002, Ms. Blair wrote a detailed memo to the
     City Manager on the status of negotiations for all eight
     bargaining units.  She noted that the IAFF had filed for
     mediation,[fn]1 the Teamsters' General Government unit had
     unanimously rejected the city's proposal in a membership
     vote, and that the three police units represented by the
     Teamsters were still in active negotiations.  She noted that
     the AFSCME Public Works unit was nearing a ratification vote
     and the prospects for an agreement with the Civic Center
     unit looked positive.  She summarized by indicating that the
     lump-sum payment rather than an increase to base salary was
     a big concern to all the units.  Ms. Blair observed that,
     "If the city were to offer a cost-of-living adjustment on
     base, labor negotiations would most likely be smoother."
14.  On January 6, 2003, the City Council had another executive
     session at which time they received an update on the status
     of negotiations.  Ms. Blair explained that the various 

     1 Other evidence shows that the request for mediation was not
filed until January 26, 2003.


     unions felt the lump sum payment combined with an increase
     in employee payments for health insurance was effectively an
     erosion of wages.  She asked if the Council would reconsider
     and offer a percent or two as an increase to base.  The City
     Council rejected the suggestion of adding to the base wages.
15.  At some point in late December or January of 2003, AFSCME
     presented the tentative agreement to the membership for a
     ratification vote.  The proposal was rejected.  
16.  Ms. Blair testified that there were some negotiating
     sessions with some of the other units in January of 2003,
     but there were no further substantive discussions with any
     of the units from that time until after the City Council met
     in April to reassess the situation.
17.  On April 7, 2003, the City Council met in an executive
     session to discuss what to do about negotiations.  During
     that meeting, the City Council authorized the negotiating
     team to offer a two-year contract with the second year of
     the contract (that is, 2004) to include up to a 1% increase
     to the base wage.  The Council adhered to its prior position
     that payments for 2003 would be limited to the 3% lump sum
     previously authorized. 
18.  On April 8, 2003, the City and the IAFF met in their first
     mediation session.  On April 10th, the parties had a joint
     meeting to cost out the union's proposal for a 42-hour
     schedule.  The parties met again in mediation on April 14th
     and on April 23rd.  The City presented what it described as
     its last, best and final offer at the meeting of April 23,
     2003.  No further negotiations or mediation sessions
     occurred during the summer.
19.  The City filed for fact finding on September 3, 2003.
20.  On September 29, 2003, Mr. MacMaster, the local IAFF
     President, presented a written "supposal" to the City 


     Manager outside of the formal negotiation process.       
     Mr. MacMaster testified that the IAFF was planning on doing
     some informational picketing at the upcoming conference of
     the Maine Municipal Association at the Augusta Civic Center
     and he wanted to take one final attempt at settlement before
     pursuing that plan.  Ms. Blair was given the supposal to
     cost out.  She phoned him on October 3, 2003, to inform him
     that the City was rejecting the proposal.  In a letter to
     Ms. Blair dated October 8, 2003, Mr. MacMaster described the
     conversation as:

          . . . The reason you gave was that the City had
          arranged so called "me too" clauses with all of
          the other bargaining units.  I asked you at the
          time "where these agreements were, for [I] had
          been unable to locate any provision in any of the
          agreements."  You stated that, "The City of
          Augusta had a verbal agreement with the Teamsters
          and a memorandum of understanding with AFSCME."

     Between the time of the phone call and writing the letter,
     Mr. MacMaster obtained from AFSCME a copy of the memorandum
     of understanding dated December 9, 2002.  In his letter of
     October 8, 2003, Mr. MacMaster asked Ms. Blair for copies of
     any documents including any "me too" arrangements.  She 
     provided him with a copy of the December 9, 2002, letter to
     the AFSCME representative. 
21.  Mr. Paul Frye, the Teamsters shop steward for the Patrol
     Officers unit, testified that the City negotiators said at
     the bargaining table that if any other unit got an agreement
     that was more favorable they would get it too.  He testified
     that the substance of the me-too agreement was that if
     another unit got a better deal than their 10% premium
     contribution or the 3% lump-sum payment, they would get the
     same.  He stated that the agreement was that they would be
     granted the increased benefit, not just the opportunity to 


     bargain over it.  Mr. Frye also testified that the issue was
     discussed at more than one bargaining session and that it
     was a big selling point in getting the members to ratify the
22.  Mr. Daniel Gerard, the AFSCME Shop Steward in the Public
     Works unit, said they had about 6 bargaining sessions.  The
     subject of parity pay came up about half way through
     bargaining.  The existence of the parity provision was a
     major point in selling the agreement to the membership.  The
     AFSCME unit wanted to settle quickly because a further delay
     would result in the members having to pay more on their
23.  The bargaining agents understood that the City's negotiating
     team had the authority to bargain within the parameters set
     by the City Council, but the details of those guidelines
     were not known. 

     The outcome of this case turns on whether the City of
Augusta entered into a parity agreement with one or more of its
bargaining units.  A parity agreement, sometimes referred to by
the parties as a "me-too" agreement,[fn]2 is where the employer
agrees with a union that if the employer grants a wage or benefit
increase to a second unit, the first unit will receive the same
increase.  Although these arrangements are legal in some
jurisdictions, including that of the National Labor Relations
Board, they are not legal in Maine.  The Maine Law Court stated
unequivocally in 1976 that they are contrary to public policy and

     2 In the private sector, a "me-too" agreement also may refer to an 
employer's agreement with the union to adopt the same terms and
conditions contained in a collective bargaining agreement that the
union subsequently negotiates with some other specified employer.  


are unenforceable.  Lewiston Firefighters Assoc. Local 785, IAFF
v. City of Lewiston, 354 A.2d 154 (Me. 1976).  If there was no
parity agreement, however, and the City had merely agreed to a
wage reopener provision or if the City were simply engaged in
hard bargaining by refusing to alter the financial limits given
to its negotiating team, there would be no violation of the Act. 
     In the 1976 Lewiston Firefighters case, the Law Court was
presented with the question of the validity of parity pay
provisions in the Lewiston City Charter and in the firefighters
collective bargaining agreement.  See Lewiston Fire Ass'n, 354
A.2d 154.  The parity pay provision granted the firefighters a
wage "no less" than that received by the police.  At the same
time the firefighters sought enforcement of the provision in
court, the police sought a declaration that the City Charter
provision was invalidated by the enactment of the MPELRL in 1969. 
Id. at 158.  The Law Court held that the enactment of the MPELRL
repealed by implication the parity pay provision in Lewiston's
City Charter.  Id. at 162.  The Court also held that the parity
pay provision in the collective bargaining agreement was contrary
to the policies of the MPELRL and was therefore unenforceable. 
Id. at 163.
     The Law Court's analysis rested on its recognition that both
the purpose and the effectiveness of collective bargaining is
tied to having a bargaining unit composed of employees who share
a clear and identifiable community of interest.  The purpose of
having a bargaining unit with an identifiable community of
interest is to strengthen the bargaining position of the
employees as a group and define those whose economic rights and
benefits will be determined by the bargaining process.  Id. at
161.  The Law Court observed that the bargaining unit is a
fundamental element serving "two fundamental purposes of the
MPELRL -freedom of employee self-organization and voluntary 


adjustment of the terms of employment."  Id.  The Lewiston City
Charter's parity provision interferes with these rights because
it interjects the interests of the firefighters into the unit
created to represent the police, thereby indirectly expanding the
unit whose wages will be set by collective bargaining.  This
expansion "contravenes the employees' collective right to be
included in a unit composed of those with whom they share a
'community of interest'. . ."  Id.  The parity pay provision
"violate[s] the coherence of the bargaining unit and thereby
interfere[s] with a right conferred upon employees collectively
to secure the processes of labor-management bargaining."  Id. at
162 (emphasis in original).
     In the present case, the City of Augusta does not dispute
the holding of Lewiston.  Rather, the City argues that there is
no evidence of any form of parity agreement and even if there
were, the Union failed to show a connection between such
agreements and the City's conduct at the bargaining table.  We
conclude that there is ample evidence of the existence of a
parity agreement in this case.  Furthermore, there is no need to
prove a connection between the parity agreements and the City's
bargaining stance as the existence of a parity agreement is a per
se violation of 26 M.R.S.A. 964(1)(A).
     The City's primary argument is that there is no parity
agreement because the Union failed to show documentary evidence
of such an agreement, instead relying on "subjective interpret-
ations" of what the witnesses believed the City "promised" during
bargaining.  The first fallacy of the City's argument is the
notion that a parity agreement must be in writing to exist.  The
City cites no legal basis for this apparent position that oral
agreements are unenforceable.  See, e.g., Peoples Heritage Bank
v. Pease, 2003 ME 150, 4 (Parties bound by the terms of an oral
agreement) and St. Vincent Hospital, 320 NLRB No. 4 (Dec. 18, 


1985)(Fact that agreement was oral modification of the written
agreement "does not negate its legal validity"). 
     The City's footnote to the Statute of Frauds asserts that an
oral representation of the type at issue here is not valid unless
reduced to writing.  City's Brief at 4, fn. 1.  The Statute of
Frauds renders unenforceable certain types of contracts "unless
the promise, contract or agreement on which such action is
brought, or some memorandum or note thereof, is in writing and
signed by the party to be charged therewith . . ."  33 M.R.S.A.
51.  Subsection 5, the specific subsection cited by the City,
brings in agreements that cannot be performed within one year.[fn]3   
Thus, a writing is required if it is clear from the agreement or 
other evidence that the parties had intended that the contract
was not to be performed within one year.  See Roger Edwards, LLC 
v. Fiddes & Sori, Ltd., 2003 WL 342993, (D. Me. 2003), citing 
Marshall v. Lowd, 154 Me. 296, 147 A.2d 667 (1958), and Larson v. 
Johnson, 184 F.Supp. 2d 26 (D. Me. 2002).  
     The City offers no evidence to support its position that the
parity agreement fits within subsection 5 as an agreement that is
not to be performed within one year.  In this case, the parity
agreements could be performed within one year and so are not
subject to the Statute of Frauds.  See Estate of Saliba v.
Dunning, 683 A.2d 224 (Me. 1996)(Month-to-month lease can be
performed within a year so a writing is not required).  It is
reasonable to conclude that the parties intended the agreement to
be performed in the short term, as negotiations were on-going for
all the units.  Even if the parity agreement were within the
Statute of Frauds as the City claims, the December 9, 2002,
letter signed by Ms. Blair satisfies the requirement of a writing 

     3 5. Agreement not to be performed within one year.  Upon any
agreement that is not to be performed within one year from the making
thereof. 33 M.R.S.A. 51(5).


as it is "some memoradum or note" of the agreement "signed by the
party to be charged therewith."  In that letter, Ms. Blair wrote:
"The City has already agreed to the 'me too' regarding the wage
increase.  If other units receive the 3% on base instead of in
lump sum payments, we will do the same for this unit."  That
writing can only be viewed as an unequivocal affirmation of the
me-too agreement.
     The City also claims that the parity agreements are not
valid because they were not authorized by the City Council.  The
City points to the Mayor's testimony that parity agreements were
never even discussed at the Council.  Regardless of that
testimony, the evidence shows that the City's negotiating team
had at least the apparent authority to enter into a parity
agreement.  The City's negotiating team was authorized to
negotiate contracts within the guidelines established by the City
Council.  The unions' negotiating teams were generally aware that
the City negotiators did not have limitless authority, but they
were not informed of the specifics of the City's guidelines. 
When the parity pay issue came up in negotiations, there is no
evidence that the members of the City's negotiating team did
anything to suggest they were not authorized to enter into an
agreement.  The written guidelines themselves do not preclude the
City negotiators from entering into a parity agreement.  When 
Mr. Barrett, the City's Chief Negotiator, agreed to the me-too
agreement, he said it may come back to "bite me in the butt." 
The City did not attempt to explain or refute that statement,
either through the testimony of Ms. Blair, who was present at the
time, or by calling Mr. Barrett himself, who was listed as a
witness for the City and present at the hearing.   
     The City discounts the December 9, 2002, document signed by
the City's Human Resources Director by claiming that the parity
agreement referred to in it was merely a contract proposal that 



was rejected by AFSCME.  As previously noted, we consider that
document to be an affirmation that an agreement was already
reached.  The failure of the AFSCME members to ratify at that
time did not nullify the parity agreement.  The City offered no
evidence that the agreement was disavowed by the City Council or
otherwise retracted.  On the contrary, we can reasonably infer
from the evidence that the parity agreement remained an integral
part of the bargaining process that resulted in collective
bargaining agreements for the other units.  The testimony of the
other union members was consistent that the parity agreement was
a major selling point for the overall package given that there
was no base wage increase in the City's offer.  Even the City's
Human Resources Director acknowledged that the lump-sum payment
combined with an increase in employee contribution to the health
insurance costs was little, if any, forward progress for the
union members.  There was no evidence at all suggesting that the
parity agreement had been withdrawn by the time the other units
ratified their collective bargaining agreements in June and July
of 2003.  Ms. Blair did not testify to any conversations at the
bargaining table with any of the units in which she informed the
unions that the parity agreements were no longer part of the
deal.  When Ms. Blair explained the City Council's decision to
change the offer in April of 2003, she only mentioned extending
the duration to two years and offering 1% on base for the second
year of the contract.[fn]4
     The action of the City's Human Resources Director nearly one
year later confirm that the City did not consider the me-too
agreement to be a proposal that had somehow expired.  IAFF Pres

     4 We note that if the collective bargaining agreements that were
eventually ratified contained an integration clause, it is possible
that such a clause would operate to nullify the parity agreement.  The
City failed to offer any of those agreements into evidence, so we
assume they did not contain such an integration clause.


ident MacMaster testified that when he spoke with Ms. Blair on
October 3, 2003, regarding the City's rejection of the Union's
"supposal," Ms. Blair said the City had parity agreements with
the other units.  Mr. MacMaster wrote to her shortly after that
conversation and recounted her statement about the existence of
an oral agreement with the Teamsters Union and a written
memorandum of understanding with AFSCME.  Given the seriousness
of the issue and the fact that it was the primary subject of the
letter, one would think that if he was putting words in her
mouth, she would have corrected him at that time.  The City did
not present any evidence that she disputed the statements
attributed to her in Mr. MacMaster's letter of October 9, 2003. 
At the hearing, Ms. Blair did not contest the veracity of what
Mr. MacMaster said in his letter, but she tried to characterize
the parity agreements as simply assurances that if the Council
increased its guidelines, the unions would obtain that increase.
     Finally, the President of the Maine AFL-CIO, Ed Gorham,
testified credibly of a brief encounter with City Manager William
Bridgeo that occurred in early 2004 in which Mr. Gorham inquired
about the dilemma caused by the "me-too" clauses.  Mr. Gorham's
testimony did not indicate that the City Manager denied the
existence of parity agreements.  Rather, Mr. Bridgeo's response
tends to affirm the existence of the parity agreements.  Again,
Mr. Bridgeo was listed as a witness for the City and was present
at the hearing but was not called to refute Mr. Gorham's
     Given all of the documentary and testimonial evidence, we
conclude that the City had entered into a wage parity agreement
with AFSCME.  We also conclude that the City had oral agreements
with the Teamsters Union promising equal treatment in wages and
health insurance benefits.


     The City's second argument is that there cannot be a
violation because the Union failed to show a connection between
the parity agreements and the City's behavior at the bargaining
table.  The City introduced reliable documentary evidence showing
the Council-established "guidelines" for negotiating with all of
the units limited the City's team to a maximum of a 3% lump-sum
payment and a reduction of health insurance costs by either
increasing the employee contribution from 5% to 10% of the
premium or moving to a less expensive plan.  The negotiating team
had some flexibility in reaching these outer limits, had
flexibility to negotiate non-economic terms, and had a specific
dollar limit for low-cost items.  The City argues that it was
within its rights to hold fast to its guidelines and not concede
on the issue of wage increases.  The City contends that it was
adhering to these guidelines throughout and that any assurances
that were given were merely that if the Council altered the
guidelines to allow wage increases rather than lump-sum payments,
the City would come back to the unions to discuss their options. 
     We agree that, if there were no parity agreements, the
evidence would indicate that the employer was engaged in hard
bargaining, not bad-faith bargaining.  We disagree with the
City's claim that the Union must prove a link between the parity
agreements and the City's behavior at the bargaining table.  In
the Lewiston case, the Law Court was unequivocal that parity
agreements contravene the policies underlying the MPELRL and are
unenforceable.  We now hold that parity agreements are a per se
violation of the Act because their very existence will interfere,
restrain or coerce employees in the exercise of their collective
bargaining rights, irrespective of whether the employer overtly
relied on them at bargaining. 
     We agree with the Connecticut Labor Relations Board that a
parity agreement necessarily interferes with the bargaining 


process for the second union burdened by the parity clause:

     . . . We find that the inevitable tendency of such an
     agreement is to interfere with, restrain, and coerce
     the right of the later group to have untrammeled
     bargaining.  And this affects all the later
     negotiations (within the scope of the parity clause)
     even though it may be hard or impossible to trace by
     proof the effect of the parity clause upon any specific
     terms of the later contract . . .

Town of Manchester and Local 1579 International Assoc. of Fire
Fighters, No. 2357 (Jan. 25, 1985) citing City of New London,
Dec. No. 1128 (1973).   
     Parity pay provisions or "me-too" agreements force the
interests of one bargaining unit into the negotiation process for
the second unit.  This restricts that second unit's "freedom of
self-organization" and constrains "the voluntary adjustment of
the terms of employment," the two fundamental purposes of the
MPELRL recognized by the Law Court in Lewiston.  354 A.2d at 161.
A parity agreement, by its very existence, subverts the bargain-
ing process by burdening the bargaining agent and making it
unable to fully avail itself of the opportunities granted by the
Act.  See Lewiston at 162 (Parity provisions interfere with the
rights of employees to collectively bargain for a coherent
bargaining unit).  Parity agreements are inherently destructive
of collective bargaining rights and are therefore a per se
violation of 26 M.R.S.A 964(1)(A).  Entering into and adhering
to parity agreements plainly frustrates the statutory objective
of establishing working conditions through bargaining with the
representative of a defined bargaining unit.  Consequently, it
constitutes a per se violation of 26 M.R.S.A. 964(1)(E) as well,
without regard to evidence of good faith or bad faith bargaining.
     In summary, the evidence demonstrates conclusively that the
City of Augusta entered into parity agreements with various
bargaining units represented by AFSCME and the Teamsters.  In 


doing so, the City violated 26 M.R.S.A. 964(1)(A) by interfering
with, restraining or coercing the City employees represented by
the Complainant in the exercise of their collective bargaining
rights.  Entering into and adhering to these agreements
constitutes a per se violation of the duty to bargain in good
faith established by 964(1)(E).
     Having concluded that the Employer's action violated
964(1)(A) and (1)(E) of the MPELRL, we will order such remedies
as are appropriate to effectuate the policies of the Act.  26
M.R.S.A. 968(5)(C).  We will order the Employer to cease and
desist from entering into or adhering to any parity pay or "me-
too" agreements with bargaining agents representing any of their
employees.  We will order the Employer to bargain in good faith
without consideration of any such agreements in its continued
negotiations with the IAFF.  We will also order the Employer to
post a notice to all employees explaining the ruling of the Board
in this case.  

     On the basis of the foregoing findings of facts and
discussion and by virtue of and pursuant to the powers granted to
the Maine Labor Relations Board by the provisions of 26 M.R.S.A.
968(5), it is hereby ORDERED:

     1.  That the City of Augusta cease and desist from
     entering into or adhering to any parity pay or "me-too"
     agreements with bargaining agents representing any of
     their employees.

     2.  That the City of Augusta bargain in good faith
     without consideration of any such agreements in its
     continued negotiations with the IAFF.

     3.  That the City of Augusta shall post for thirty (30)
     consecutive days copies of the attached notice to all
     employees which explains the ruling of the Board in
     this case.  The notice must be posted in conspicuous
     places where notices to Augusta employees in any and  


     all of the bargaining units are customarily posted, and
     at all times when such employees customarily perform
     work at those places.  Copies of the notice shall be
     signed by the City Manager prior to posting and shall
     be posted immediately upon receipt.  The City Manager
     shall take reasonable steps to ensure that the notices
     are not altered, defaced, or covered by other

     4.  That the Augusta City Council or the City Manager
     shall notify the Board by affidavit or other proof of
     the date of posting and of final compliance with this

     5.  That the Complainant's request for costs and
     punitive damages is denied.

Dated at Augusta, Maine, this 10th day of August, 2004.

                                      MAINE LABOR RELATIONS BOARD

The parties are advised
of their right pursuant               /s/______________________
to 26 M.R.S.A. 968(5)(F)             Jared des Rosier
(Supp. 2003) to seek review           Alternate Chair
of this decision and order
by the Superior Court by
filing a complaint, in                /s/______________________
accordance with Rule 80C              Karl Dornish, Jr.
of the Maine Rules of Civil           Employer Representative  
Procedure, within 15 days            
of the date of the issuance
of this decision.                     /s/______________________
                                      Carol B. Gilmore
                                      Employee Representative


     5 In the event that the Board's Decision and Order is appealed
and is affirmed by the Maine Superior Court, the words in the Notice
"Posted by Order of the Maine Labor Relations Board" shall be altered
to read "Posted by Order of the Maine Labor Relations Board, affirmed
by the Maine Superior Court."


                       NOTICE TO EMPLOYEES


     WE WILL CEASE AND DESIST from entering into or adhering
     to any parity pay or me-too agreements with bargaining
     agents representing any City employees.  The Maine
     Labor Relations Board ruled that me-too agreements
     interfere with or restrain employees' collective
     bargaining rights and violate the Municipal Public
     Employees Labor Relations Law.  That ruling was
     consistent with the 1976 decision of the Maine Supreme
     Court ruling that parity pay provisions in collective
     bargaining agreements are contrary to public policy and
     are not enforceable in court.  

     WE WILL bargain in good faith without consideration of
     any me-too agreements in our continued negotiations
     with the IAFF.

     WE WILL post this notice of the Board's Order for 30 days.


___________             _______________________________________
Date                    William Bridgeo, Augusta City Manager

     Any questions concerning this notice may be directed to:

                         STATE OF MAINE
                    STATE HOUSE STATION 90 
              AUGUSTA, MAINE 04333 (207) 287-2015


                    AND MUST NOT BE DEFACED.