The Clinton Herald, Clinton, Iowa

Opinion

April 18, 2014

Local firefighters' union speaks out on proposed contract

Dear citizens/taxpayers of Clinton:

The members of Local 609 feel that it is our duty to inform the citizens of Clinton that the article titled “‘Fair offer’ differences” in the April 9, 2014 edition of the Clinton Herald was full of inaccurate statements regarding our negotiated contract proposal with the city. These incorrect statements could impact the use of your city funds negatively and unduly influence our elected representatives. So, we would like to address these points, as follows:

1. Local 609, the City Administrator, and City Legal Council agreed to a two-year contract proposal. This was accomplished during a session guided by a state mediator, as required by Iowa code.

2. For this next fiscal year the agreement calls for a one percent (1 percent) general wage increase. According to the City Administrator’s budget numbers, this would be possible within the budget approved by the city council. There are savings in the fire department budget with a recent retirement, and other openings, figuring the difference in pay from a long-term employee to a new hire.

3. For the 2015-16 fiscal year, there is a proposed 1.5 percent general wage increase scheduled on July 1, 2015 and a second 1.5 percent general wage increase scheduled for January 1, 2016. This equates to an overall 3.88 percent wage increase over two years.

4. We agreed to the city’s insurance plan with a dramatic increase to deductibles and out-of-pocket expenses. This includes a fixed premium monthly contribution of $30/single plan and $70/family plan by union members beginning January 1, 2015. These fixed rates cost union members more than the three percent (3 percent) monthly contribution that was originally asked for by the city.

5. Starting July 1, 2015 the lieutenants’ rank pay-step will increase by 2 percent. This increase was to compensate for added duties because of the elimination of the captain’s rank several years ago.

6. The proposal also includes eliminating several contractual incentive payments by incorporating these into the general wage. This has no additional costs to the budget.

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