Chicago firefighters local 2 has reached a tentative deal with the city for the next five years. Chicago Local 2 president doesn’t expect a vote until a few items are have been hammered out. Thomas Ryan states “non of which I would call deal breakers”
“The Chicago firefighters union leadership has reached a tentative agreement with City Hall on a new contract that will reportedly include an 11 percent raise over five years.
Chicago Firefighters Union Local 2 President Thomas Ryan said the pact will not be officially voted on for several weeks until the two sides hammer out a few more details, â€œnone of which I would call deal breakers.â€
â€œI think itâ€™s a fair deal for both sides,â€ Ryan said. He wouldnâ€™t discuss the specifics of the pay increases until the contract, which will run till July 2017, gets finished.
But Ald. Nick Sposato, 36th, a member of the firefighters union, said members will get raises totaling 11 percent. Part of the raises will be retroactive to July 2012, when the last contract lapsed.
The contract negotiations did not focus on the additional $600 million payment the city is currently required to make to shore up police and fire pensions, according to Ryan. Mayor Rahm Emanuel hopes to broker a deal that wonâ€™t hit the city so hard so soon, but Ryan said that situation will be discussed separately.
Emanuel spokeswoman Sarah Hamilton called the tentative contract a “responsible approach, ensuring our employees are compensated for the critical services they provide our residents and that taxpayers are protected with a fair wage proposal.â€
The Emanuel administration did not answer questions about the specifics of the fire contract or how the city plans to pay for the retroactive pay raises. The 2010 contracts forced Mayor Richard Daley’s administration to come up with about $160 million to cover back pay increases for police dating to July 2007, and more than $80 million more for retroactive raises for rank-and-file firefighters and paramedics. The city borrowed the money and added to its high debt level.
The city still has to broker a new contract with the Fraternal Order of Police. In recent deals, the pay raises for the two unions have mirrored one another, though the city generally negotiates a deal with police first.
Sposato said the fire contract also would convert 15 basic life support ambulances to advanced life support, a change the mayor supported. The advanced ambulances are staffed by paramedics and have better medication and life-saving equipment. The city will also hire 200 new paramedics to staff the new ambulances by September, Sposato said. â€œI think this is a good deal for Chicagoans,â€ he said of the new ambulances.
Ryan said the contract does not change the staffing level on each piece of fire equipment, an idea the mayor floated shortly after taking office that angered firefighters worried about layoffs.
In a 2012 letter to union members shortly before the last contract lapsed, Ryan termed an early offer from the city â€œhorrendous,â€ â€œinsultingâ€ and â€œridiculous.â€ Ryan detailed several pay bumps for things like training and a clothing allowance that he said the city was aiming to do away with in the new contract. Ryan would not discuss how those elements turned out in the new deal.
Negotiations had proceeded in fits and starts with the city and both public safety unions since then, and Ryan had a rosier view of the situation Wednesday. â€œWe didnâ€™t get everything we wanted and the city didnâ€™t get everything they wanted,â€ he said. Â Full Story Continued….