Middletown approves new contract with firefighters union

Middletown City Council approved a new contract with its firefighters union that includes an annual 2 percent wage increase.

The new three-year pact with Local 336 of the International Association of Firefighters is retroactive to Jan. 1, 2018 and will run through Dec. 31, 2020.

Council approved the new contract as an emergency ordinance on Tuesday so it could take immediate effect.

City and union negotiators have been working on a new contract since late 2017. A proposed contract went to a state fact-finder on April 30, but the fact-finder’s report was rejected by council in May. At that time, all but three articles of the contract had been agreed to by city and union negotiators as well as the fact-finding hearing. The outstanding contract articles concerned insurance, promotions within rank and wages.

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The contract negotiations were scheduled Sept. 21 for a conciliation hearing, which is binding arbitration to resolve the unsettled issues, according to Susan Cohen, city general counsel. However, both parties engaged in mediation prior to the scheduled conciliation hearing, she said.

Officials from Local 336 were unavailable for comment on the new contract.

The union represents 74 members, including firefighters, fire lieutenants, fire captains and deputy fire chiefs. The fire chief and assistant fire chief are excluded.

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Among the provisions of the new contract are:

  • A 2 percent cost of living increase for each year of the pact
  • A $500 signing bonus for members
  • Extending the step system to 12 steps for firefighter employee classification and six steps for supervisory classifications. City officials said the extended step system will provide savings.
  • Increasing the caps for employee health care
  • Amending the promotion within rank provision to require employees to be at Step D to qualify to test for the promotion of Apparatus Operator
  • An increase of $2.50 per day for squadman special compensation
  • Provides for the promotion to Firefighter Paramedic under the new pay scale for 10 employees currently employed at the Firefighter EMT classification but maintain paramedic qualifications
  • A $100 increase per member in the annual clothing allowance

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