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Mayor Rahm Emanuel today announced Chicago Firefighters Union Local 2 voted to ratify a proposed new five-year collective bargaining agreement, the culmination of more than 24 months of negotiations between the Emanuel administration and the Firefighters Union, which will now be sent to the City Council for approval. The agreement would be effective upon final ratification by City Council.
“We’ve worked collaboratively with the Firefighters union to reach this agreement that is both fiscally responsible on behalf of taxpayers and respects the work and sacrifice of the men and women who put their own lives on the line to ensure public safety,” said Mayor Emanuel. “This win-win for taxpayers and firefighters/paramedics is another example what is possible when we work together to reach a fair and responsible agreement on behalf of the whole City. I thank President of Local 2 Tom Ryan, Fire Commissioner Jose Santiago, and their teams for their hard work on this agreement.”
The contract ratified by the membership of Chicago Firefighters Union Local 2 comes on the heels of similar agreements with the unions representing the Police Sergeants, Police Lieutenants, and Police Captains, which was ratified just yesterday.
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.
“The Chicago Fire Department is committed to providing the highest quality service to our residents and visitors throughout the city,” said Commissioner Jose Santiago. “This contract will allow us to continue our mission going forward.”
The terms included in the agreement include compromises that will support firefighters and paramedics as well as lead to savings for city taxpayers.
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 now be approved by the City Council.