Portland Firefighters Assoc., IAFF v. City of Portland and MLRB, 
478 A.2d 297 (Me. 1984), No. CV-83-326; affirming No. 83-01

MAINE SUPREME JUDICIAL COURT                   Reporter of Decisions
                                               Decision No. 3548
                                               Law Docket No. Ken-83-476



                                 CITY OF PORTLAND
                          MAINE LABOR RELATIONS BOARD        

                            Argued  -  June 8, 1984          
                            Decided -  July 10, 1984

       and SCOLNIK, JJ.


     As the bargaining agent for the firefighters, lieutenants
and captains employed by the Portland Fire Department, plaintiff
appeals from the Superior Court order (Kennebec County) affirming
a decision of the Maine Labor Relations Board.  In the course of
collective bargaining, plaintiff proposed a minimum manpower
requirement and now argues that the Board erred in holding that
such a proposal is not a mandatory subject of collective bargain-
ing.  We conclude that the record supports the Board's findings,
and we deny the appeal.


     In April of 1982 negotiations commenced between plaintiff
and defendant to replace a collective bargaining agreement which
was about to expire.  Plaintiff proposed to add to the bargaining
agenda the following article:  "[T]he minimum manpower per shift


will be 52 not including the Deputy Chief on duty."  Defendant
responded by denying any obligation to negotiate minimum man-
power requirements but suggested that the parties proceed to
bargain over plaintiff's remaining proposals.  Plaintiff took
the position that its participation in further negotiations was
contingent on defendant's agreement to include the subject of
minimum manning.  Plaintiff rephrased the article and proposed
setting minimum manpower levels on either a per shift, per station
or per truck basis, but defendant still refused to consider the
article as a subject of negotiation.

     Plaintiff filed the present complaint with the Board alleging
that defendant refused to negotiate with respect to a mandatory
subject in violation of 26 M.R.S.A.  964(1)(E) (1974).  Defendant
filed an answer and counterclaim denying an obligation to bargain
over the minimum manning proposal and alleging that plaintiff had
violated section 964(2)(B) by refusing to negotiate the other

     After hearing, the Board held that plaintiff's minimum
manning proposal is not a mandatory subject of collective bargain-
ing.  The Board dismissed plaintiff's complaint and held for
defendant on its counterclaim, ordering plaintiff to cease and
desist from pursuing negotiation of its minimum manning proposal.
Plaintiff appealed the Board's decision to the Superior Court
pursuant to 26 M.R.S.A.  968(5)(F) (Supp. 1983-1984).  From the
order affirming the Board's decision, plaintiff appeals to this



     The Municipal Public Employees Labor Relations Act requires
both the public employer and the employees' bargaining agent to
negotiate in good faith with respect to "wages, hours, working
conditions and contract grievance arbitration."  26 M.R.S.A. 
965(1)(C).  Plaintiff argued before the Board that because
understaffing affects both the workload and the safety of fire-
fighters, minimum proposals relate to "working conditions" and
thus are a mandatory subject of bargaining.  The Board agreed
that a proposal which relates to safety or workload may be a
mandatory subject of collective bargaining under section 965(1)
(C), but found that plaintiff's proposal bears no direct relation-
ship to either factor.

     On appeal plaintiff argues that the Board erred in confining
its analysis to safety and workload at the scene of a fire.  This
argument is without merit because the record contains no evidence
bearing on safety and workload other than at the scene.  The
burden was on plaintiff to develop evidence to support its
position and it presented no such evidence.

     Plaintiff did present evidence to support the proposition
that a shortage of firefighters at the scene of a fire could affect
the safety of the firefighters present.  Each potential safety
problem was explained in the context of how many persons are
required to perform a certain task, e.g., laying a hose, effecting
a rescue with a ladder, effecting a rescue by entering a burning
building, ventilating a roof.  The Board agreed with plaintiff

that "the number of firefighters who perform a particular task
. . .  is directly related to safety and workload" and suggested
that a proposal relating to the assignment of a given number of
personnel per task might support a finding that the proposal was
a mandatory subject of bargaining.  The Board found, however,
that plaintiff's proposal--requiring a minimum number of fire-
fighters per shift, per station or per truck--was not equivalent
to assigning a minimum number of persons to a particular task at
the scene of a fire.  The evidence presented did not relate
safety or workload of firefighters at the scene to either the
size of the shif city wide, the number of persons at each station,
or the number of persons assigned to each truck.  The Board's
findings are not clearly erroneous.  Sanford Highway Unit of Local
481 v. Town of Sanford, 411 A.2d 1010 (Me. 1980).

     The Board's factual findings are supported by the record,
and we accord "considerable deference" to the Board's construction
of the statute.  State v. Maine Labor Relations Board, 413 A.2d
510, 514 (Me. 1980).  We find no error.

     The entry shall be:
                                                     Judgment affirmed.

All concurring.