Problem Identification:
Cumulative labor contract concessions have resulted in a financial burden on the Fire Department and the City.

Recommended Action:
Negotiate labor contracts which are less unfavorable to the City, including:- Developing a multi-year term;
– Eliminating daylight savings time and standard time contract provisions;
– Eliminating the payment of a night differential pay premium;
– Revising sick leave and vacation/holiday earning and usage policies;
– Compressing the grievance process to reduce grievance-related absences and personnel costs;
– Requiring the unions to assume their organizational; administration, and management costs; and
– Reforming retirement separation practices.

Cost Savings, Organizational

Functional/Operational Areas:
All Department operations

Estimated Annual Impact:
While the immediate financial impact cannot be estimated, eliminating or revising some of these unfavorable contact terms could result in cost savings that reach into the millions of dollars.

Estimated Implementation Cost:

Barriers to Implementation:
Labor unions’ reluctance to give up existing contractual benefits.

Projected Implementation:

Next Step:
The Mayor’s office should immediately establish a negotiating team to begin preparing for the next round of labor contract negotiations. More extensive comparative analysis should be undertaken in all Departmental areas.

While some of these labor concessions may have been justified in the past, at least in part, by salary inequities, the current pay scale and average work week for Fire Department personnel is not substantially lower than comparable jurisdictions. These benefits in the City’s contracts are not common in other jurisdiction’s labor contracts seen elsewhere and drive the Department’s operational costs to unacceptable levels.

A glaring example is the Department’s payment of a night differential pay premium. Such a practice may have been warranted when Departmental personnel were on duty 50 – 60 hours per week, but under the current 42-hour work week schedule where personnel work two 10-hour days, two 14-hour nights, followed by four days off, the necessity or appropriateness of a night differential pay premium is without merit. Changing this single contract provision would result in approximately $500,000 in annual cost savings to the Department.