Professional Fire Fighters of Wolfeboro, IAFF Local 3708 v. Town of WolfeboroAnnotate this Case
Petitioners Professional Fire Fighters of Wolfeboro, IAFF Local 3708, president of the union and several firefighters appealed a superior court order that dismissed their suit against Respondent Town of Wolfeboro. The suit arose from the parties' negotiation of a new collective bargaining agreement (CBA). The Union had ever been certified by the New Hampshire Public Employee Labor Relations Board (PELRB) as a bargaining unit. In July 2010, the parties met and agreed on ground rules governing the conduct of their future negotiations, including that "[a]fter October 1, 2010, either party [could] request mediation of the outstanding issues." Shortly thereafter, however, the negotiations broke down. At an August 2010 meeting, the Town's Board of Selectmen voted to rescind its recognition of the Union. The petitioners filed a verified petition for an ex parte temporary restraining order against the Town and requested temporary and permanent injunctive relief. After a hearing, the trial court granted the petitioners' requested temporary restraining order, and scheduled the matter for further hearing. The Town moved to dismiss the entire proceeding. Following a hearing, the trial court granted the Town's motion and vacated its temporary restraining order. The petitioners unsuccessfully moved for reconsideration. Upon review of the matter, the Supreme Court held that the portion of RSA 31:3 which grants municipalities the right to recognize unions and enter into collective bargaining agreements was superseded by the enactment of the PELRA, and, therefore, the Town had no authority to recognize the non-PELRB-certified Union. Accordingly, the agreement, as well as the subsequent agreements, were ultra vires contracts and wholly void. The Court affirmed the superior court's decision to dismiss Petitioners' case.