The town of Oak Bluffs this week settled a long-running, bitter labor dispute inside the town fire department with a sweeping agreement that changes work rules, ends disciplinary action and calls for contract negotiations to be completed quickly.

As part of the agreement with the International Association of Fire Fighters (IAFF) union, the union will drop 23 separate charges of unfair labor practice violations that were pending before the Massachusetts Department of Labor Relations. It will also withdraw a petition that was before the state Joint Labor Management Committee declaring an asking that agency to declare an impasse in bargaining for an initial contract.

The agreement was unanimously endorsed by selectmen Tuesday evening following an executive session with fire chief John Rose, his command staff and town labor counsel Jack Collins.

“We have an agreement that dismisses all of the disputes,” said town administrator Bob Whritenour after the meeting. “We have no disputes outstanding whatsoever with the unit. It’s a major step forward in welcoming the new unit and establishing a contract. We have a clean slate.”

Union representative Mike Desrosiers said with hearings set to begin next week before the state labor relations board, the agreement came together quickly.

“It seemed like a good time to make kind of an 11th hour agreement to see if we could resolve this and move forward. It just kind of happened,” said Mr. Desrosiers, who is secretary-treasurer of IAFF union local 5137.

In July of 2017 seven full-time workers who held duties as both medics and firefighters organized under the IAFF. Some 50 volunteer call firefighters are not members of the union.

The union action split the department and labor relations almost immediately turned sour, with multiple disputes over work rules and disciplinary actions. Relations took another turn for the worse when at the urging of Chief Rose, selectmen voted unanimously to remove firefighting duties from the medics. Two years earlier selectmen, also at the suggestion of Chief Rose, had voted to combine the two functions to improve the efficiency of fire response.

Tension also arose between the full-time workers and call firefighters over training sessions and other matters. Many of the full-time workers live off-Island and were unable to attend some evening or weekend training events. When they did attend, they were being paid, while call firefighters received no extra compensation beyond their annual stipend of $2,500.

Under the memorandum of agreement approved at Tuesday, medics will maintain only ambulance duties.

“We’re going to maintain our traditional system,” said Mr. Whritenour. “We have the call firefighter department, and the full-time paramedic/EMS department.”

The agreement also clears up a number of disputes that were part of the unfair labor practices action filed by the union. Hearings on those disputes were scheduled to begin August 30 and 31.

Compensation and medical treatment related to injuries, assistance for off-Island employees who need shuttles to and from ferries, and relaxed rules for tardiness due to ferry schedules are also part of the agreement. It also covers eligibility for retirement benefits and rescinds disciplinary action against two members of the union.

The union agreed to withdraw all complaints before state agencies.

The agreement calls for prompt resumption of negotiations on an initial contract, and sets a goal of 90 days to complete the bargaining.

“We’ve worked hard for many months on this, tried to enhance our communications,” Mr. Whritenour said. “The selectmen welcome the new unit to town. We want to be clear this is a welcome. We’re going to work with them closely and come up with a contract. We thing its going to improve our service to the town, and folks will be well protected, so we’re happy with that.”

Mr. Desrosiers acknowledged the past year has been difficult for both sides.

“It’s been a yearlong stalemate here,” he said. “Both parties through conversations last week have decided it’s in the best interests of everybody involved to move past litigation and start having some meaningful productive discussions toward the first collective bargaining agreement.”

Chief Rose echoed the upbeat notes.

“I’m happy that both parties could find a common ground to agree on,” he said Wednesday. “I look forward to moving forward with everything.”