Firefighters agree to new contract

The Herald reports on the new contract, quickly penned by the Walsh administration and the local firefighters union, in contrast to the Menino days, when the two sides hated each other.

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Well, it avoids arbitration,

Well, it avoids arbitration, so it's a much better deal than going through that process...I'd say the contract is fair for all, hopefully the era of no contracts for years and arbitration has come to an end in this city.

Yeah that process... where

Yeah that process... where the City offer a raise of 15.2% and the Union wanted 21.5% then the Arbitrator ruled 25.4%. Yup, this is very much preferable than going into arbitration.

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Something not clear to me

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Why can't he speak about the terms? Why aren't the contracts available prior to the signing? Why aren't details yet available if the contract is signed?

This is public money going to pay public workers, not some back office deal. So, why isn't the terms under which our mayor can "confirm we can afford it" publicly available?

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It's out there now

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Marty just didn't want anything out there before the union was able to brief their members. It wasn't as generous as the police contract, but nicer than the grunt workers in the rest of the city.

The City Council will be briefed on the fiduciary aspects of the contract before funding them.

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Does seem within reason

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And as those of you who go toe to toe with me on a regular basis - I don't usually say those things about salary increases. Amounts to about 3% a year - maybe a little less if this is on a compound basis. We get about a 3.5-5% increase in revenues annually, so even if fixed costs continue to go up a bit faster than the budget as a whole - we should be able to shoehorn this in.

Two caveats:

If the real estate market ever seizes up (and yesterday's post about falling rents was an ominous sign), all bets are off. That's where we get about 90% of our incremental funds.

If fixed costs rise any faster than they are right now - we could be in trouble - but again - I think this can be shoehorned in.

Future increases for all city workers are probably going to have to be in the 2-3% range - MAX. This is our new normal.

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