OMAHA (KPTM)- City leaders and the fire union have reached a tentative agreement to prevent firefighter layoffs. The agreement would put the fire department closer to its $90 million budget for 2014.
Under the tentative agreement the paramedic training class in December will be delayed until January. The sizes of the classes will go from 24 to nine students. The June class will be eliminated. The move is expected to keep more firefighters on their shifts and reduce overtime.
Last week the families of 19 firefighters on the chopping block came together to fight for their jobs. City officials said the department would have to make these cuts or layoff 19 firefighters since the department is over budget
The city said it won't layoff any firefighters or take equipment out of service until a new labor agreement is reached. The current labor contract expires at the end of December 2014.
That protections are only for firefighters or equipment that have been in service since February 4, 2013.
The City Council. Personnel Board and members of the union still have to approve the plan.
Fire Union President Steve LeClair said the agreement would prevent fire trucks and ambulances from being taken out of service. He also said response times won’t be affected and that no fire stations will be closed.
November, 8th, 2013--
OMAHA (KPTM)- Omaha firefighters said they are optimistic that the city and the fire union will reach an agreement that could save the jobs of 19 firefighters.
Mayor Jean Stothert set a noon deadline for a decision to be made. Friday morning Mayor Stothert said the city has accepted the union's counter offer. The union still has to accept the terms of Stothert's counter proposal.
In a press release Stothert said that the city has accepted the union's offer to reduce the size of its paramedic class to nine in 2014. In exchange the city would agree to treat all current members of the fire department in the same and equal manner as to their layoff protection. Mayor Stothert said there is an unqualified guarantee that there will be no layoffs in the fire department in 2014 and 2015. The 2015 no-layoff agreement wouldn't be tied to the fire department's 2014 budget performance. In 2016 the city would have the discretion to determine the overall staffing of the department, including the right to make layoffs.
The firefighters and their families stood with Fire Union President Steve LeClair Friday morning to talk about how potential layoffs would impact the department. LeClair said he is aware of the new offer.
Earlier this week Mayor Jean Stothert said the city is trying to avoid laying off 19 probationary firefighters in January. Stothert said the department is over budget and needs to make cuts somewhere. Stothert said that the city proposed reducing the number of paramedics that would be trained to avoid the layoffs. If this was done Stothert said she would have extended job protection to the department until 2015. She said the department needs to be within a half percent of its 2014 budget. In a memorandum of agreement, Stothert proposed reducing the paramedic training class. A June training would have been eliminated. If the budget agreement was met, Stothert said rigs that would have gone out of service would stay in service.