April 10, 2014

Mayor Emanuel and Chicago Firefighters Union Local 2 Reach Tentative Contract Agreement

Responsible Approach Ensures Firefighters and Paramedics are Fairly Compensated and Taxpayers are Protected; Includes Retiree Contributions for Healthcare Mirroring Similar Sworn Contracts

Mayor's Press Office    312.744.3334

Mayor Rahm Emanuel announced today that the City of Chicago and Chicago Firefighters Union Local 2 have agreed upon a tentative contract proposal.

"The men and women of the Chicago Fire Department love our city and go to work every day to keep us safe," said Mayor Emanuel. “After months of negotiation, we have reached an agreement that is a responsible and fair approach that ensures that our firefighters and paramedics are compensated for their hard work and our residents are protected with a fair wage proposal.”

The new collective bargaining agreement announced today is the culmination of more than 24 months of negotiations between the Emanuel administration and the Firefighters Union.

“The Chicago Fire Department is committed to providing the highest quality service to our residents and visitors throughout the city. This contract will allow us to continue our mission going forward,” said Commissioner Jose Santiago.

Once ratified by the members of the union, the five-year collective bargaining agreement phases-in an 11 percent pay increase; maintains eligibility for retiree health care at age 55, but requires future retirees to contribute 2 percent of their retirement annuity toward their benefit; and provides for an upgrade by the Fire Department of its remaining 15 Basic Life Support (BLS) ambulances to Advanced Life Support (ALS) ambulances, making all 75 Chicago Fire Department (CFD) ambulances ALS vehicles.

“We were pleased to work with the union on this plan which enhances our Emergency Medical services providing the highest level of care for all callers,” said Mayor Emanuel.

The terms included in this agreement include compromises that will support firefighters and paramedics as well as lead to savings for city taxpayers.

Retiree Healthcare
Under the proposal, starting in 2015, members who elect to retire between the ages of 55 and 59, and remain in the active employees' medical program will – for the first time – contribute 2 percent of their annuity.

Conversion of BLS to ALS Ambulances
The proposed agreement converts 15 Basic Life Service (BLS) ambulances to Advance Life Service (ALS) ambulances, allowing the City to have Advanced Emergency Medical Service transport ability on every call. Additionally, this will free up 90 firefighters to work on trucks and engines. There are currently 60 ALS ambulances and 15 BLS ambulances.

Under the proposed agreement, members would receive an 11 percent increase over a five-year period, beginning July 1, 2012. The breakdown of increases is as follows:

July 2012: 2 percent
January 2013: 2 percent
January 2014: 2 percent
January 2015: 1 percent
January 2016: 1 percent
July 2016: 2 percent
January 2017: 1 percent

The proposed five year contract would begin, retroactively, on July 1, 2012 and expire on June 30, 2017.

The terms of the agreement must be approved by the Union’s full membership as well as the City Council.

# # #