Firefighter union contract: City rejects recommendation on salary, benefits

Fairfield City Council rejected a fact finder’s recommendation on proposed wage increases for two years of the firefighter union’s three-year contract.

The fact finder suggested the city pay members of the International Association of Firefighters Local 4010 a 2.5 percent increase in 2018 (retroactive to April 1) and 2019. In addition, the recommendation also called for a 1 percent increase at specified anniversary years in 2018 and 2019.

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“At five years they’d receive a 1 percent bump, at 10 years they’d receive a 1 percent bump above what’s already been offered,” said Fairfield law director Steve Wolterman, adding 20 years would be the cap for that 1 percent bump.

The proposed extra 1 percent pay bump would also be applied in 2019, but just for the 15 and 20 anniversary years.

The union contract now goes to the State Employee Relations Board, or SERB, for conciliation, “which is final-issue arbitration on each of the issues,” Wolterman said. “So wages and benefits would then be considered and the conciliator will make a binding determination.”

Fairfield City Manager Mark Wendling said there were some concerns about benefits — which he did not go into detail about — and “that is not something the fact finder found in our favor.”

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Wolterman said “everything will be open” when the city presents its case to the conciliator, but “we haven’t determined our process or how we will present to the conciliator.”

A conciliation could happen as early as the end of the year, or it could be as late as spring 2019. The conciliator’s decision would be binding.

The firefighters' union contract was approved in April 2017 with the caveat of re-opening negotiations for wages in its second and third years, and negotiations for health benefits in the contract's third year.

IAFF Local 4010 President Jamie Viers said the union hopes to get the issue resolved “as quickly as possible.”

“We are a little disappointed we haven’t been able to reach an agreement with the city for the past six months over the wages, health care and benefits re-opener from the 2017 contract,” he said.

The union voted unanimously to accept the fact finder’s decision, but Viers said, “We’re going to move forward, we’re going to work with the city and see what we can do for the future.”

Fairfield Council did approve a union contract Monday for the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees Local 3646, which also had a re-opener clause in its 2017-approved contract. Just like in the first year of the contract, AFSCME union members will receive a 2.5 percent raise for 2018 (retroactive to April 1) and 2019.

This union contract is effective as of April 1 and expires on March 31, 2020.

The AFSCME union represents a range of city employees, including employees in the public works and utilities, parks, and development services departments.

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