By TESA GLASS
MT. VERNON —
A new contract between the city and the firefighters union is up for ratification by both parties.
The contract negotiations between the two parties went to arbitration, with the arbiter ruling in the city’s favor on health insurance and in the union’s favor on paramedic pay, according to City Manager Ron Neibert.
“The arbiter ruled for the city in regards to health insurance and raising the deductible and cost of coverage for the employee,” Neibert said. The deductible for the firefighter’s insurance will go from $250 to $1,000, once the contract is formally approved by the city, a move expected to happen during Monday’s city council meeting. In addition, the city will continue to provide 100 percent of the premiums for firefighter health insurance.
The arbiter ruled in favor of the firefighters on the issue of paramedic pay. Neibert said under the ruling, the city will pay firefighters who earn paramedic status 4 percent of their base pay.
“The city had wanted to negotiate a percentage of pay for those who become paramedics with a cap of $2,000,” Neibert said. “We have a similar agreement with the police union for master patrol officers. However, the arbiter ruled for no cap.”
The firefighters contract is the last union contract to be negotiated and ratified by the city. Each contract with the unions and the city arefor four years, Neibert said. The firefighter’s contract will be back dated to May 1, and will go into effect immediately upon approval by the council.
The union contract is expected to be presented to the city council for its approval and signature during the next council meeting, which is slated for Monday night at 7 p.m. at the Rolland W. Lewis Community Building at Veterans Park.