Columbus Fire Union wants to review contract


The city’s firefighters union hopes to reach an agreement with the city but continues to assess its legal options for receiving fair compensation.

The International Association of Firefighters Local 67, which represents Columbus firefighters, is still deciding whether or not to file a complaint with the state labor board, alleging that the city failed to fairly negotiate the contract. the most recent with the union, which was approved by firefighters and city council in December.

Following:Columbus firefighters agree not to raise wages next year due to COVID crisis

Steve Stein, president of the International Association of Fire Fighters, Local 67, which represents more than 1,500 firefighters in the city, said the union had not agreed to any pay increases in 2021 due to the uncertainty of the city’s financial situation due to COVID-19.

“What we see and what we have been told doesn’t hold up,” said Stein.

The city agreed to a 14% pay rise for the fraternal order of the police in its contract, which was approved on July 25 by city council.

“We are extremely disappointed with the way they negotiated, in retrospect, especially the way we have helped the city through the pandemic,” said Stein.

The city’s fire department did not shut down any engine rooms or medical units during the height of the pandemic, continuing to provide 24-hour emergency medical care.

Following:Ginther says new FOP contract is a chance for officers who resist change to “policeman elsewhere”

He said the firefighters union was told during their contract negotiation that securing wage increases was “untenable” given the uncertainty surrounding the financial impact of COVID-19 and whether a plan to monetary bailout would be passed by Congress.

Stein said if the city lost as much money as initially feared or failed to secure the clawback law dollars, the firefighters union would be back at the bargaining table to ensure that no job was lost.

“More dialogue needs to take place,” he said. “We need a solution that is good for our firefighters.”

In discussing the police union contract, Mayor Andrew J. Ginther blamed the fire union for the lack of a pay rise. The mayor said the city had offered a one-year contract but the union wanted the certainty and clarity of a three-year deal.

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“Quite frankly, some of the huge reforms we’ve been able to get… have forced us to negotiate (the FOP) higher increases, that’s how it works,” Ginther said.

Stein said that now that the city has a better idea of ​​the financial situation and the future, there should be a willingness to discuss how to give the firefighters, who also work as paramedics, what they have earned. .

“Our people have never left the front lines,” said Stein. “We all sign up knowing we are putting our lives in danger, but my wife and baby did not sign up for this. We are putting our families directly at risk and this is unprecedented.”

He said the firefighters union will continue to be proactive and attempt to resolve the situation with the city, but will continue to assess all legal options.

“We deserve more than a pat on the back,” said Stein. “We’re going to make the city follow along with more than just words.”

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