The city of Pittsburgh and its firefighters have finalized a new contract. The four-year agreement with the International Association of Firefighters Local No. 1 includes a wage freeze in 2015 and increases of 1% in 2016 and 2% in both 2017 and 2018.
“The city is still dealing with financial problems but [this deal] still maintains the safety necessary for the residents as well as our firefighters,” said Ralph Sicuro, president of IAFF Local No. 1.
The deal retains the old staffing rules and does not close any stations. The city currently has 30 stations housing 34 engine companies, 3 quint (combination engine and ladder truck) companies, 11 truck companies, and a mobile air compressor unit. On any given shift the bureau must have at least 1 deputy chief, 4 battalion chiefs, 12 captains, 28 lieutenants and 115 firefighters. According to Sicuro they are currently staffed at 608 members with a new class coming on later this month and the potential for another class to begin later this year.
“The importance of the classes being hired is to reduce the overtime,” Sicuro said. “[City Council and the Mayor] have expressed that they want to make sure that our department is properly staffed according to the budget and so far their attempts have been on target.”
A first year firefighter earns $38,155 annually before overtime.
“I want to thank the firefighters for the work they do every day to keep our city and residents safe, and to their union leadership and the Act 47 team for working with us on a contract that is good both for our workers and for city taxpayers,” Mayor Bill Peduto said.
The union had filed suit against the city, former Governor Tom Corbett and the PA Department of Community and Economic Development asking that the city be released from the controls of Act 47. At one point the DCED had said it would release the city from Act 47 controls but later decided to keep Pittsburgh under those controls for another 5 years. The move angered the union because it potentially took away some of its bargaining options. The union has dropped that suit in light of the new contract.
“We think it (the contract) is a building block to the future with the city and with the current administration, “ said Sicuro. “Our members understand that we are doing our part to make sure this city becomes once again vibrant for everyone to be successful.”
The union membership voted 85% in favor of the contract. The terms of the contract have also been approved by the Act 47 oversight team.
The city’s contracts with the firefighters, the Fraternal Order of Professional Paramedics Local 1, the Fraternal Order of Police Lodge 1, the American Federation of State, County, and Municipal Employees Locals 2719 and 2037, the Service Employees International Union Locals 192-B and 688 all expired at the end of 2014.
Peduto said the city is “close to reaching a tentative contract agreement with the Fraternal Order of Professional Paramedics Local 1.”