Los Angeles City Council Approves Firefighter Raises

The Los Angeles City Council voted Friday to give a two percent pay increase to the city’s firefighters next summer, along with increases in taxpayer support for healthcare and dental benefits, reports The Los Angeles Times.

The unanimous vote provided one of the few bright spots for Mayor Eric Garcetti and the council in its labor negotiations, as talks with other employee unions have deteriorated.

The contract with United Firefighters of Los Angeles City Local 112 is expected to cost the city an additional $13.5 million in the fiscal year starting July 2015, when a two percent salary hike takes effect. But the cost could grow depending on the outcome of salary negotiations with the Police Protective League, which represents rank-and-file police officers.

If LAPD officers receive raises or increased health benefits between now and June 2016, firefighters will be provided the same increases, according to the terms of the two-year contract. That provision is designed to ensure that there is parity in salaries and benefits between the agencies, said Frank Lima, the firefighter union president.

Firefighters received the latest pay boost because they were earning two percent less than police in comparable positions. “All we wanted to do was just come up and be equal with them, not more,” said Lima, adding: “If they get a one percent raise, then we get it as well.”

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