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Borough Council OKs Chambersburg firefighters contract

November 28, 2007|By ASHLEY HARTMAN

CHAMBERSBURG, Pa. - After working without a contract since the beginning of the year, Chambersburg's paid firefighters reached an agreement Monday night with the Chambersburg borough council.

The council approved a five-year contract for the firefighters, that is retroactive to Jan. 1, 2007, and continues until Dec. 31, 2011.

The contract also allows for a 4 percent raise for each of the five years of the contract.

"It's an effort to make firefighters comparable to police officers in the benefits area," Chambersburg Borough Manager Eric Oyer said Monday evening.

Effective Jan. 1, 2008, career firefighters will receive the same group health insurance as the police officer bargaining unit, according to the contract.

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The contract states that COBRA health care benefits will be extended to those retiring, and their spouses, who have at least 20 years of service. The coverage would discontinue if the retiree receives medical insurance from a new employer, if the spouse of a retiree has insurance that will cover the retiree, or if the retiree qualifies for Medicare coverage.

The membership of International Association of Firefighters Local 1813 has already approved the new contract.

The new contract sets a scale for pension contribution, which is effective the first full pay period of each year. In 2008, firefighters will contribute 2 percent of their income to the pension and that percentage will increase by 1 percent each year until it is 5 percent in 2011, Oyer said.

Oyer said that once some holiday and leave issues are resolved, union and borough officials will sign the contract.

The issues have to do with the number of 24-hour shifts firefighters will get each year as holidays or personal leave days. Firefighters currently receive 11 24-hour shifts as holidays, Oyer said.

Oyer hopes to have it signed by the end of the year.

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