ShareThis Page

Pittsburgh firefighters agree to 4-year contract

Bob Bauder
| Friday, March 6, 2015, 12:46 p.m.

Pittsburgh Mayor Bill Peduto's administration successfully negotiated its first major public safety contract with a union that supported Peduto's opponent in the primary election.

Pittsburgh firefighters agreed this week to a wage freeze for 2015 and minimal raises from 2016 through 2018 under a four-year deal with the city, officials announced Friday.

The city and International Association of Firefighters Local No. 1 reached an agreement without having to go through binding arbitration.

Under the terms, firefighters will receive raises of 1 percent in 2016 and 2 percent in 2017 and 2018. Peduto Chief of Staff Kevin Acklin, who participated in negotiations, said the raises would cost the city about $2.4 million over four years. The city budgeted about $55.7 million in 2015, primarily for 674 firefighter salaries.

“I give a lot of credit to the mayor and also (union President) Ralph Sicuro,” Acklin said. “In particular, his leadership team ... showed a lot of professionalism, recognition of where we stood as a city. Ultimately, we came up with a contract that's good financially.”

The firefighters union and Fraternal Order of Police Fort Pitt Lodge 1 backed Jack Wagner, one of two opponents Peduto defeated in the 2013 Democratic primary. The Fraternal Order of Professional Paramedics Local 1 was the only public safety union to support Peduto.

Sicuro, who in January succeeded longtime union President Joe King to lead contract negotiations for the first time, said 390 of about 612 members turned out to ratify the contract during votes Tuesday and Wednesday.

“It was just over 85 percent voted in favor,” he said. “There were a few who weren't quite happy, but the majority were in favor of this contract.”

Contracts with firefighters, police, paramedics and municipal workers expired in December. Acklin said negotiations are continuing with the other unions, and he expects an agreement with paramedics to be finalized within a month. He was unsure how negotiations might proceed with the police union.

“I don't have any handicap on whether we're going to come to an agreement or we're going to go to arbitration,” he said.

Acklin said the firefighters' contract adheres to limits set in the city's 2014 Act 47 fiscal recovery plan and has approval of state-appointed fiscal overseers.

The firefighters union agreed to drop a lawsuit it filed alleging that the city used its state-authorized status as a financially distressed municipality under Act 47, which limits amounts unionized employees can receive in raises and benefit increases, to circumvent collective bargaining.

The contract provides each firefighter with an annual $700 allowance for uniforms after taxes are deducted and requires firefighters to submit to random alcohol testing and hair testing for illegal drugs.

Bob Bauder is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. Reach him at 412-765-2312.

TribLIVE commenting policy

You are solely responsible for your comments and by using you agree to our Terms of Service.

We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.

While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.

We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers

We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.

We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.

We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.

We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.

click me