Mayor rejects firefighter contract with tie-breaking vote, calls on union for ‘meaningful concessions’

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Jeff Duval, President, IAFF Local 856, MPFFA, speaking during public comment on Sept. 4, 2018.

MANCHESTER, NH – Mayor Craig broke a 7-7 tie at the Board of Mayor and Aldermen meeting Tuesday night opposing a proposal brought forward by Manchester Professional Firefighters, IAFF Local 856. The proposal in question is posted below, as well as a letter from the City’s Human Resource Director regarding IAFF’s agreement to eliminate a 6-month step (#8 in MFD’s proposal).

Craig released the following statement after the meeting adjourned:

“My vote to oppose the fire proposal was one of the hardest things I’ve had to do in my time as mayor.

Manchester firefighters risk their lives to keep our residents safe. They have long been on the front lines in our city’s struggle with opioids. They are tremendous public servants, and I count many of them as my longtime, personal friends.

Manchester firefighters deserve a fair contract, so do all of our city and school district employees. As Mayor, it’s my obligation to ensure we treat all employees fairly, while at the same time working within the tax cap. The agreements that were ratified this evening with AFSCME and the Teamsters provide employees with raises, in part because employees agreed to meaningful concessions that will provide savings. With limited city funds, these savings allow us to afford a raise within the current budget, without taking away the opportunity to do the same for other employees, or putting the city in financial risk.

Negotiations are a give and take. The three-year proposal brought forward this evening – in years two and three – would provide salary increases that are more than the tax cap allows. This proposed contract also makes no meaningful concessions that result in savings. Enacting this contract could mean potential layoffs or station closures, and a lack of available resources for contracts for other city employees. This is not sustainable.

As your mayor, I refuse to govern by crisis because I don’t think it’s fair to our employees or our residents.

We must work together toward a fair and equitable contract for our firefighters, for other city and school district employees, and for city taxpayers. And while the path ahead may be difficult, I am committed to working with all parties to find common ground and do what’s best for our city.”

Several members of IAFF Local 856 attended Tuesday’s meeting, and union president Jeff Duval spoke during public comment, asking the board to accept the union’s proposed contract.

 


MANCHESTER PROFESSIONAL FIRE FIGHTERS ASSOCIATION, LOCAL 856 IAFF

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MANCHESTER ASSOCIATION OF FIRE SUPERVISORS, LOCAL 3820 IAFF

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CITY OF MANCHESTER

UNION’S PROPOSALS

May 23, 2018

CONTRACT PROPOSAL

JULY 1, 2018 –JUNE 30, 2021

  1. Fiscal Year 2018 (2017-2018) – 0%;
  2. 7/1/18 all eligible members will be placed on the step they would have received in FY18 for merit and/or longevity;
  3. 7/1/18 – 2% COLA, merit and longevity steps;
  4. 7/1/19 – COLA equal to the City tax cap; merit and longevity steps;
  5. 7/1/20 – COLA equal to the City tax cap; merit and longevity steps;
  6. 7/1/18 – Health Insurance – increase contribution rate to 16%;
  7. 7/1/19 – Health Insurance – increase contribution rate to 17%;
  8. Delete 6 month step for any eligible members;
  9. Add following language in appropriate Section:

Employees hired after the execution of this Agreement will be eligible to enroll in the HSA medical insurance plan only. After the completion of their probationary period, an individual employee may opt to enroll in any medical insurance plan offered pursuant to the Collective Bargaining Agreement at the next open enrollment, provided that the City shall only contribute to the premium, the same amount it contributes to the HSA plan. In the event the City eliminates or reduces the amount of its contribution to the HSA’s Individual Health Savings Account, any employee subject to this section who is enrolled in the HSA plan will be allowed to enroll in any other available medical plan under this Agreement, provided that the City shall only contribute to the premium the same amount it contributes to the HSA plan.

About Carol Robidoux 6250 Articles
Longtime NH journalist and publisher of ManchesterInkLink.com. Loves R&B, German beer, and the Queen City!