Austin firefighters turn down city’s contract offer

A fire truck in for repairs at the fleet maintenance division.

AUSTIN (KXAN) — The Austin Firefighters Association says they are not getting a fair deal when it comes to their contract from the city.

After receiving no pay increase last year, firefighters do not want to sign another contract because they say the city wants to take out what they call “important hiring provisions” which have been in place for more than 15 years.

“Over time, an organization is harmed when employees are not cared for by their management,” said association president Bob Nicks. “And I’m seeing trends in our association now that are disturbing to me that I have never seen before.”

In response, the city said the proposed contract was fair and kept Austin firefighters the top paid in the state and the second highest in the nation compare to benchmark cities. “Furthermore, the proposed contract also added significant additional benefits to our firefighters,” said Devan Desai, chief labor relations officer for the City of Austin. “We look forward to bargaining again with the Association next year in the hopes of attaining a contract.”

Despite the disagreement, the city says there will be no change in their service.

Members overwhelmingly turned down the city’s proposal, with 93 percent voting ‘no.’ The vote also means Austin firefighters will not receive a pay raise for the next two years.

“The firefighters’ principals remain intact,” Nicks added. “They’re not negotiable and they’re not for sale.”

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