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City reaches tentative agreement on fire union contract

By Staff | Dec 29, 2011

The city of Cape Coral and the Cape Coral Firefighters Union Local 2424 have reached tentative contract agreements for the battalion chiefs unit and rank and file.

In Wednesday’s negotiations, city representatives and fire union leadership agreed to a 2 percent salary reduction and a reduction of two days of “holiday” pay. In addition, the union agreed to increase its employees’ share of pension contribution from 7 percent to 10 percent, which will reduce the city’s contribution percentage.

These are the same concessions as those agreed to by the Cape police union last week.

The fire union also offered to reduce its leave buyback amounts. The city agreed to allow the firefighters health insurance benefits under their separate health care plan to be “pre-tax” just as they are for all other city employees covered under the city’s health plan.

The fire union is seeking a two-year agreement on its contract.

“These concessions will provide an annualized savings of $1.6 million to the city,” interim City Manager Steve Pohlman, who participated in the negotiations, said in a prepared statement. “If the contract can be approved by the union membership and city council before Feb. 1, the city will be able to realize $1.1 million in savings to this year’s budget.”

The city and union also agreed to future “reopeners” for further negotiation on health insurance and other post-employment benefits contract articles, as well as the article on add pays. Plus, the union dismissed a pending step grievance with prejudice, and acknowledged a mutual agreement of resolution to the privatization grievance where no further action will be taken by the union.

The city’s negotiating team was led by Victoria Bateman, financial services director; Scott Slusser, human resources labor relations; and Gail Roberts, assistant city attorney. The city’s budget administrator, Sheena Milliken, also participated.

“I am very pleased that we were able to reach tentative agreements in a short timeframe on these final two labor contracts with our police and fire unions,” Pohlman said. “The credit for getting this done has to go to the leadership of the unions and our negotiating team, specifically, our lead negotiator, Victoria Bateman. Both sides worked well together and always within an atmosphere of mutual respect.”

Source: City of Cape Coral