Houston, TX Local 341 President Marty Lancton is back on the job after an independent arbitrator ruled the city violated his rights had no cause or authority to indefinitely suspend him in January. The arbitrator went even further and ordered the immediate reinstatement to his special assignment working full time as the Local 341 President and ruled he must be made whole with full back pay and benefits.
“The truth will always come out,” says Lancton. “The city’s action against me was nothing more than retaliation and union busting for my criticism of Mayor Sylvester Turner and his mishandling of our labor contract. I am grateful for the ruling and the opportunity to restore my standing as a city of Houston employee.”
Lancton is the Houston Local 341 president and fire fighter by rank, but is assigned to the union per a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the city. Houston Fire Chief Samuel Pena claims Lancton never signed the MOU and that the memo was void.
As Lancton provided Pena with several copies of the signed document, the facts were not on the fire chief’s side and neither was the law. Under Texas law, Lancton should have been given proper notice and the right to due process, neither of which occurred.
The arbitrator took all of this into consideration and made his ruling in favor of Lancton.
Houston members have been embroiled with the City of Houston since Mayor Turner walked out of collective bargaining negotiations four years ago. Turner has since rejected all invitations to bring in an independent arbitrator and chose to fight Local 341 in court. Every court decision has been in favor of Local 341.
Most recently, the city secretary was handed more than 20,000 pre-validated signatures from registered Houston voters calling for a city charter amendment allowing binding arbitration in case collective bargaining negotiations reach impasse. Mayor Turner has yet to place the issue on the November ballot.