Tallahassee firefighters come to an agreement with City
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WCTV) - Finally coming to an agreement. 153 days after their contracts expired, Tallahassee firefighters now have a bargaining agreement they say is good for everyone.
On January 27, the road to change looked bleak. However, 33 days later, after the community came to their aid, their concerns were brought back to the table before the city.
“It’s been difficult to get here,” said Joey Davis , the Local 2339 President of Tallahassee Professional Firefighters. “But the end result is going to be good, it’s going to help us recruit and retain people.”
The three-year deal has three points. Davis references TPF website, which highlights those sections.
The first is Fire-Paramedics with the city will receive compensation that is equitable to their knowledge, skill, and advanced life support level of patient care. According to the website, TPF Fire-Paramedics provide the largest pre-hospital healthcare in the region and continue to be on the front-line of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The second is the continued improvement of wellness initiatives for the health and safety of firefighters. Some of those measures include helping to change the culture to reduce nicotine use among firefighters.
The third and most important is increasing take home pay for starting firefighters. According to TPF, firefighters agreed to a generous wage freeze in the first year to help those starting firefighters, who are the lowest when compared to other Tallahassee first responders. They will achieve this through flex-insurance monies, increased incentive pay and reduced mandatory retirement contributions.
Davis hopes that this acts as incentive for more people to join the team, and want to stay there.
“There is some relief for sure, that we have an idea of where we are going, that there is some finality to it,” he said.
The plan was ratified by City Management and the Labor Union on Monday. On March 10, the City Commission will give their final approval on the agreement, which is something Commissioner Jeremy Matlow hopes passes unanimously.
“When we heard the stories of individuals stories and challenges they face with their personal families, and take home pay and parental leave, it becomes really personal,” expressed the Mayor Pro-Tem. “And we wanted to stand with the firefighters because they stand up for us.”
For these firefighters, Davis shares they give their thanks to the community, for sticking by, and standing up for them, “We had nearly 500 yard signs placed across our community, we’ve had hundred of emails sent to city officials. Everywhere we are on call people are asking about the process and progress...It’s been a huge encouragement for us.”
Davis says the numbers as far as pay increase, it varies by person. But overall he says this agreement not only makes them more competitive with other agencies in the city, but across the state.
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