Gadsden Fire Fighters Claim Retaliation for Overtime Lawsuit

August 22 • 2022

Gadsden Local 454 is waging a legal fight against the City of Gadsden, Alabama, over several years of unpaid overtime.

That fight took a turn this month when the local affiliate filed an amended complaint asserting that city officials retaliated against three Local 454 members over social media posts deemed critical of the city’s position on the matter.

The fire fighters’ original complaint, filed in May, seeks recovery of damages from Gadsden, claiming officials failed to pay overtime to about 100 fire fighters in violation of the Fair Labor Standards Act.

“This has been going on for years. The city, by law, is supposed to be paying us time and a half for overtime, and that has not been happening,” said Matt Bom, president of Gadsden Local 454.

Since that original lawsuit, the city has targeted three Local 454 members for discipline citing comments that they made on social media critical of the situation. The plaintiffs said they were told that, because of the original lawsuit, the city could eliminate overtime pay for Sunday shifts, and that the rate of sick time accrual also could be cut.

Earlier this month, Local 454, with the assistance of the International, filed an amended complaint against the city for unfair retaliation. The amended complaint has drawn the attention of local media.

“We are thankful for the IAFF’s assistance and legal guidance and confident we will win this lawsuit and Gadsden fire fighters will finally get paid what they are owed, including back pay,” President Bom said. “The law is clear on this.”