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Government

Hot Words, Icy Atmosphere: Firefighters Union And City Clash Over Contract

FirefightersLogo.jpg
Firefighters Local 42
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A committee of the Kansas City, Missouri City Council approved  a contract with Firefighters Local 42 on Wednesday.

But the union says it is not the deal they agreed to.

The rift prompted hot words from the union president and an icy atmosphere at the committee table.

Upon hearing the proposal City Manager Troy Schulte asked the finance committee to endorse, Local 32 president Bill Galvin's first comment was, “This right here is the first I've seen of this ordinance.  To me this is bargaining in bad faith.”

The union had proposed annual raises of 2.6 percent. The contract proposal in the ordinance calls for 2 percent raises, but a wage freeze in its final two years if emergency medical revenues do not increase by $6 million.

In presenting the ordinance, Schulte noted that the city still did not have an agreement with the 1,175 member union.  But he called his plan “a path forward” toward an agreement.

Contract negotiations have stalled after more than a year of talks marked by conflict over staffing and the large amount of overtime being paid – more than $12 million this year.

Galvin, fuming, concluded his remarks by saying, “We shook hands before, said we had a deal. We walked out of the room and thought we had a deal.  We got it ratified by our membership.  Our membership is not going to agree with this at all.”

The committee unanimously passed Schulte's proposal.

The full council is expected to vote on it next Thursday.

Steve Bell is afternoon news anchor and business news reporter for KCUR.  He may be reached at 816-235-5173 or by e-mail as steveb@kcur.org

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