City Council to mayor, firefighters: Get a room, you guys, and work out a contract
The City Council met briefly this morning to urge Tom Menino and Firefighters Local 718 to get a room and hammer out a contract that's fair to both firefighters and taxpayers.
After councilors Mark Ciommo (Allston/Brighton) and John Connolly (at large) moved to hold off discussions until after the city and the firefighters met, Council President Mike Ross proposed a meeting room in City Hall that he noted has already been outfitted with "pads of paper, a calculator and water - and a working computer." Ross also proposed that he and councilors Sal LaMattina and Felix Arroyo join in as observers. The council will reconvene at 2 p.m. tomorrow to discuss any progress.
WBUR reported this morning that Menino might be willing to consider giving the firefighters their 2.5% drug-testing pay increase only if it applies to current firefighters, rather than new hires. The firefighters last week offered to forego that raise for a year to help bring about a settlement.
The council could vote Wednesday on whether to accept or reject an arbitration panel's recommended contract, which includes the increase on top of a pay increase similar to what other city unions have gotten over the past four years - during which firefighters have worked without a raise.