JAMESTOWN – The Jamestown City Council approved an agreement with the Jamestown Professional Firefighters Association for 2016 and 2017 during its February Voting Session Monday night.
Mayor Eddie Sundquist informed the council of the agreement with the union, which approved the contract over the weekend.
The new contract includes retroactive two percent raises for firefighters for both years, as well as an increased contribution to the City’s health insurance plan by union members, retroactive to 2018.
Sundquist says the negotiations required a tremendous effort from all parties involved.
“As you all know, it is not easy trying to negotiate at this point almost six years of potential wages,” Sundquist said. “We’ve been working diligently, both our management staff through our comptroller’s office, through our corporation council and with our fire management through the deputy fire chief to try to resolve as many years as possible from the union contract.”
The Mayor explains that members of the union will pay 19 percent of the healthcare premium for health and dental insurance effective Dec. 31, 2017, an increase of two percent. The insurance will remain the same in 2016-17.
“I am very happy that the administration and the members of JPFFA Local 137 have successfully negotiated a fair and equitable contract,” Deputy Fire Chief Matthew Coon said in a statement. “The Fire Department’s mission to deliver high-quality fire protection and emergency medical services to our residents is always our top priority. I’m optimistic that further negotiations will yield a fair settlement for the other years of the agreement.”
Comptroller Ryan Thompson says that the total retroactive pay will be $917,000, which includes salaries, retirements, and Social Security while also taking into account the health insurance retroactivity.
Thompson says the City has an accrued liability on the books to cover the payment.
The Council voted 8-0 in favor of the agreement, with Councilwoman At-Large Kim Ecklund recusing herself from the vote due to her husband being a retired member of the Local 137.
“I am thrilled that our negotiation team has won hard-fought retroactive raises for our members,” added JPFFA President Shawn Shilling. “I appreciate that the City put forth a good faith effort to get a deal done. I hope that these positive relations can propel us forward to work towards a fair, current contract.”