Seminole City Council approves temporary deal with fire union

City councilors approved a collective bargaining agreement with the Seminole Professional Firefighters Local 2896 for fiscal year 2018-2019 at their Sept. 11 meeting.

SEMINOLE — City councilors approved a collective bargaining agreement with the Seminole Professional Firefighters Local 2896 for fiscal year 2018-2019 at their Sept. 11 meeting.

The one-year agreement expires Sept. 30 and includes items the council approved during a July 15 impasse hearing, as well as items that were tentatively agreed upon by both the city's and the union's negotiating teams.

During last year’s collective bargaining, Local 2896 declared an impasse May 30, 2018, bringing negotiations to a standstill. Their contract expired Sept. 30 of last year and Seminole Fire Rescue employees have worked without a new one since. Earlier this year, a special magistrate released two decisions siding with the firefighters on all areas of contention, but the city’s negotiating team, led by City Manager Ann Toney-Deal, rejected his decisions.

The council acted as a third party at the July 15 hearing, making final decisions on the contract for this fiscal year. Among the temporary decisions they made, councilors approved a 5% increase on base wages effective that evening and capped the firefighters’ pension contribution at 12.5 percent of their pay, down from 15 percent.

The union voted to approve the 2018-2019 collective bargaining agreement, and negotiations between the union and the city continue.