Council OKs union contract

June 22, 1999|By DAN KULIN /Staff Writer

A three-year contract with the labor union that represents Hagerstown Fire Department employees was approved by City Council members in a 4-0 vote Tuesday.

Differences between the approved and existing contract include a 5 percent pay increase at all levels of the pay scale and increases time off for bereavement from three days to four days.

Under the terms of the contract, a firefighter's starting annual salary will increase from $24,147 to $25,354. At the top of the pay scale, the annual salary for a firefighter with 27 years will go from $39,165 to $41,123.

The approved contract with the International Association of Firefighters Local 1605 is effective July 1.

The mayor, City Council members and local union members signed the contract following the vote during Tuesday's council meeting.

Councilman William M. Breichner was absent from the meeting.

Both city and union officials said they were satisfied with the new contract.


The union represents 44 firefighters, two assistant fire marshals and one public educator.

Managers, those holding the rank of captain and above, are not members of the union.

Although the contract is for three years, the contract does not guarantee wages for the next three years.

The contract includes a provision that will require the city and union officials to negotiate wages again next year, and before the third year of the contract.

"At this point in time we're not certain where we're going to be in terms of the budget and we were not prepared to negotiate three years of wages," said City Human Resources Department acting-Director Austin Abraham.

Andrew Hartman, a city firefighter and the local union president, said he would have liked wages to be set for the next three years, but that overall he was "very satisfied with the contract."

Hartman and Abraham said it was not uncommon to structure contracts so that wages are renegotiated each year.

The pay increases were expected and accounted for in the city's fiscal 2000 budget, which was adopted in May.

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