INTERNATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF FIRE FIGHTERS LOCAL UNION NO. 5058, Appellant (Plaintiff),
GILLETTE/WRIGHT/CAMPBELL COUNTY FIRE PROTECTION JOINT POWERS BOARD, Appellee (Defendant). INTERNATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF FIRE FIGHTERS LOCAL UNION NO. 5067 and JOHN TOBEY, Appellants (Plaintiffs),
TETON COUNTY, WYOMING and TOWN OF JACKSON, WYOMING, Appellees (Defendants).
Appeals from the District Courts of Campbell and Teton
Counties The Honorable John G. Fenn, Judge
Representing Appellant: David F. Evans and O'Kelley H.
Pearson of Hickey & Evans, LLP, Cheyenne, Wyoming; Sara
L. Faulman and Sarah M. Block of Woodley & McGillivary
LLP, Washington, DC. Argument by Ms. Faulman.
Representing Appellee: Joseph E. Hallock and James L. Edwards
of Stevens, Edwards, Hallock & Carpenter, P.C., Gillette,
Wyoming. Argument by Mr. Edwards.
Representing Appellees: Keith M. Gingery, Teton County
Attorney's Office, Jackson, Wyoming, for Appellee Teton
County; Audrey P. Cohen-Davis, Town of Jackson, Jackson,
Wyoming, for Appellee Town of Jackson. Argument by Mr.
Gingery on behalf of Teton County.
DAVIS, C.J., and BURKE [*] , FOX, KAUTZ, and BOOMGAARDEN,
This is a consolidated appeal in which the International
Association of Fire Fighters Local Union No. 5058 (IAFF Local
5058) and the International Association of Fire Fighters
Local Union No. 5067 (IAFF Local 5067) appeal from separate
district court decisions governing their attempts to
collectively bargain with their respective corporate
entities. The district courts in both cases held that the
Wyoming Collective Bargaining for Fire Fighters Act's
definition of "fire fighters" includes volunteers
because they are "paid members of . . . regularly
constituted fire department[s]." Consequently, the
district courts concluded that IAFF Local 5058 and IAFF Local
5067, which were formed by and consist of only full-time,
career fire fighters, were not properly constituted
bargaining units under the Act. We affirm.
The issue is whether volunteer and part-time (pool) fire
fighters in the Jackson Hole Fire/EMS Department and
volunteer fire fighters in the Campbell County Fire
Department are "fire fighters" as defined by Wyo.
Stat. Ann. § 27-10-101(a), and thus are entitled to be
represented in collective bargaining negotiations.
These consolidated appeals concern Wyoming's Collective
Bargaining for Fire Fighters Act, Wyo. Stat. Ann.
§§ 27-10-101 through 27-10-109 (LexisNexis 2017)
(the Act) and require the interpretation of "fire
fighters" as that term is defined in Wyo. Stat. Ann.
§ 27-10-101(a)(i). We first outline the collective
bargaining process, and then review the relevant facts in
each consolidated case.
Collective Bargaining for Fire Fighters in Wyoming
Wyo. Stat. Ann. §§ 27-10-101 through 27-10-109
establish the process by which fire fighters may form unions
to collectively bargain in Wyoming. The term "fire
fighters" is defined, "unless the context requires
a different interpretation," as "paid members of
any regularly constituted fire department in any city, town
or county within the state." Wyo. Stat. Ann. §
27-10-101(a)(i). Fire fighters "have the right to
bargain collectively with their respective cities, towns or
counties" and have the right "to be represented by
a bargaining agent in . . . collective bargaining as to
wages, rates of pay, working conditions and all other terms
and conditions of employment." Wyo. Stat. Ann. §
To exercise their right to collectively bargain, fire
fighters must follow the process outlined in the statutes:
The fire fighters elect an organization that acts as their
exclusive bargaining agent. Wyo. Stat. Ann. § 27-10-103.
The fire fighters' bargaining agent requests a meeting
with the corporate authority in writing. Wyo. Stat. Ann.
§§ 27-10-104, 109. The corporate authority then has
ten days to meet with the bargaining agent. Wyo. Stat. Ann.
§ 27-10-104. The parties have 30 days to reach an
agreement; after that time, all unresolved issues are
submitted to mandatory arbitration. Wyo. Stat. Ann. §
Gillette, Wright, and Campbell County Fire Fighters
The City of Gillette, the Town of Wright, and Campbell County
formed a Fire Protection Joint Powers Board (the Campbell
County Joint Powers Board), which oversees the Campbell
County Fire Department (CCFD). CCFD covers 5, 000 square
miles and responds to "approximately 2, 000 calls for
assistance each year." CCFD employs two categories of
fire fighters: full-time, career fire fighters and volunteer
fire fighters. Currently there are 23 career fire fighters
and 200 volunteer fire fighters in the CCFD.
Full-time, career fire fighters earn between $35, 006.40 and
$62, 732.80 per year and are scheduled to work up to 240
hours every 28 days. In 2016, CCFD career fire fighters'
total payroll was $1, 370, 916.61. In addition to their
salaries, full-time, career fire fighters receive health
insurance, dental insurance, flexible benefits plan
participation eligibility, basic term-life insurance,
supplemental life insurance, long-term disability insurance,
accidental death and dismemberment insurance, participation
in the Wyoming Retirement System (Paid Firefighter Plan B),
vision insurance, deferred compensation, and holiday and sick
Unlike full-time, career fire fighters, CCFD volunteer fire
fighters do not have a set schedule and receive no
consequences for refusing a shift. They are not eligible for
sick or vacation leave. Like their full-time counterparts,
however, volunteers are compensated for their efforts. They
earn compensation for responding to incidents and attending
trainings and meetings. In 2015, CCFD paid volunteers a total
of $213, 051.41 for 23, 383.56 hours of work, an average of
$9.11 per hour. Volunteer fire fighters also receive periodic
physical exams (depending on age, every one, two, or three
years), Wyoming workers' compensation coverage,
supplemental wage coverage, use of CCFD maintenance shop and
exercise facilities, CCFD contribution to and participation
in the Volunteer Fire Fighter and EMT Pension Account, and
In July 2015, a majority of the CCFD career fire fighters
voted to select IAFF Local 5058 as their sole and exclusive
bargaining agent pursuant to Wyo. Stat. Ann. §
27-10-103. Full-time, career fire fighters with the rank of
Captain or below were eligible to vote for the establishment
of IAFF Local 5058. Volunteer fire fighters were not allowed
or invited to vote in the election. The IAFF approved the
constitution and by-laws of IAFF Local 5058 on September 10,
On July 22, 2015, Bryan Borgialli, president of IAFF Local
5058, advised the Campbell County Joint Powers Board that
"the firefighters of the Campbell County Fire Department
have organized as a local union" and that the IAFF had
authorized IAFF Local 5058 to act as their representative.
After receiving this notice, the Campbell County Joint Powers
Board asked the Campbell County Attorney to request an
Attorney General's opinion regarding whether the Campbell
County Joint Powers Board is a "corporate
authority" able to participate in negotiations with IAFF
Local 5058, and whether volunteer fire fighters are
"paid members of any regularly constituted fire
department," who should have been allowed to vote to
select a bargaining agent, pursuant to the Wyoming statutes
governing collective bargaining for fire fighters. By letter
dated September 11, 2015, a copy of which was provided to
IAFF Local 5058 President Borgialli, the Campbell County
Attorney requested the opinion, and on November 16, 2015, the
Wyoming Attorney General's office responded. The Attorney
General concluded that the Campbell County Joint Powers Board
is the appropriate corporate authority to negotiate with IAFF
Local 5058 and that volunteer fire fighters are "paid
members" of the CCFD.
On February 18, 2016, pursuant to Wyo. Stat. Ann. §
27-10-104, IAFF Local 5058 submitted written notice to the
Campbell County Joint Powers Board, requesting a meeting to
collectively bargain. The Campbell County Joint Powers Board
responded on February 25, 2016, and, relying upon the
Attorney General's opinion, it concluded that it would
"not recognize Local Union No. 5058 as the collective
bargaining unit for the Campbell County Fire Department
because the volunteer firefighters were not included in the
election process." IAFF Local 5058 subsequently filed a
Complaint for Declaratory Judgment, asking the court to find
that IAFF Local 5058 is the bargaining agent for the CCFD
fire fighters and that the Campbell County Joint Powers Board
is obligated to meet and confer with IAFF Local 5058 for
collective bargaining, pursuant to the Act. The parties filed
cross-motions for summary judgment, and the district court
held that the volunteers are "paid members," and
therefore should have been allowed to participate in the
election of the collective bargaining agent. Accordingly, the
court ruled IAFF Local 5058 cannot be the ...