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Tacoma firefighters contract calls for 6.2 percent raise

Post by News Tribune Staff on Jan. 6, 2009 at 11:43 am with No Comments »
January 6, 2009 11:43 am

Tacoma firefighters are in line for the same raise that the city’s police officers just received – 6.2 percent this year, followed by two years of pay hikes tied to the Consumer Price Index.

A proposed three-year contract between the city and the Tacoma Firefighters Union Local 31 also gives members of the department’s specialized technical rescue team an extra 2.5 percent pay premium starting in 2010, and an additional 2.5 percent in 2011.

The union had previously sought premium pay for the rescue team members, but the independent arbitrator who decided the last contract denied the request.

Tad Jackson, the union’s new president, said the negotiations were "straightforward and professional," and he praised the city team that City Manager Eric Anderson assembled.

The proposed labor deal is similar to the one just given to the union that represents most of Tacoma’s police officers. It gives firefighters a 6.2 percent raise this year, maintaining the department’s position as the second-highest paying among comparable departments.

The police contract gave officers a 6.2 percent hike this year, maintaining its position as the highest paying among comparable cities.

Firefighters will receive raises in 2010 and 2011 equal to 100 percent of the Consumer Price Index, with a minimum 1 percent and maximum 5 percent.

The union membership agreed to the terms, even though they understand that it means the department will slip from its second-highest position by the end of the contract, Jackson said.

"We understand where the city is at," Jackson said, referring to the sagging economy.

The City Council is expected to vote on the contract tonight.

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