“You know we feel let down and abandoned by our employer,” said Scott Flynn, President of International Association Firefighters, Local 108.
The council voted down the contract 5-3 during Thursday’s meeting. It comes after a three year negotiation process, which ultimately sent the two sides to arbitration. There a three member panel issued a settlement on June 24, 2013. It granted the 65 union members a 2% cost of living increase for each year going back to the fiscal year 2011. It also granted a 1% increase back to January 1, 2013 for members working the overnight shift.
“You know for an average firefighter it’s going to equate to about a thousand dollars a year for one at the top step less for newer employees,” said Flynn.
According to a memo from Mayor David Narkewicz sent to the council requesting approval of the funding, the settlement would cost the city $406, 000 from the General Stabilization Fund.
“It’s part of the frustration as we try to deal with less and less revenue from the state, less and less revenue from the Federal Government,” said City Council President William Dwight.
He voted to approve the contract, but understands why some of his colleagues did not.
“It’s very expensive and it would have an impact on the city’s finances,” said Dwight.
The council’s no vote means the city and union have to start the process all over again.
Meantime, the firefighters will continue to work.
Legally fire and police department aren’t allowed to go on strike.