The city and the Uniformed Firefighters Association have agreed on a new two year contract. The deal raises firefighter salaries more than eight percent and increases the pay of starting firefighters by almost $10,000. Members working in hazardous material and special rescue units will see a 12% increase in pay.
UFA President Steve Cassidy thanked the mayor and Labor Commissioner James Hanley for an agreement that "represents a significant raise for New York City firefighters and the introduction of specialty pay." The latter being something sought by the union for the past 20 years. Mayor Bloomberg and Fire Commisioner Scoppetta were also happy with the negotiated agreement.
Tellingly, the mayor said "We want to give equitable wage increases to all city employees." Union negotiations usually follow a pattern, and arbitrators in the city's contract dispute with the police union would in all likelihood use the agreement with the UFA as a model for resolving the police contract.
As with the police, probationary pay for rookie firefighters was greatly reduced a couple of years ago. The new agreement nearly erases that reduction. To accommodate some of the new costs, new employees will have six fewer paid holidays, and a fifty percent reduction in night-differential pay, in their first five years of service. Current firefighters would see no concessions.
Photograph of Engine Company 5 by Triborough on Flickr