Two Baltimore Fire Department unions reached a compromise with the mayor’s office Tuesday that will require them to work more hours but will significantly boost their pay, reports The Baltimore Sun.
The agreement is expected to save the city about $72 million over nine years, with about 140 positions eliminated through attrition.
Meanwhile, firefighters will get a 16.5 percent pay raise and be required to work an average of 47.5 hours each week rather than 42.
“We’re excited for a new change,” said John Burke, secretary-treasurer of the union that represents city firefighters. “In my 22-year career, this is the largest increase in salary that I’ve had. I feel personally that it was a good deal.”
The mayor’s office had been locked in negotiations with the Fire Department unions for months, and in March, the firefighters rejected a proposal that would have required them to work 49 hours per week in exchange for a 12.5 percent raise.
Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake said she was pleased with the compromise.
“This new contract — with a new schedule and significantly increased pay — will allow our Fire Department to maintain its high standard of emergency services for our city.” Rawlings-Blake said in a statement. “I am appreciative that the members of the department acknowledge the importance of long-term fiscal stability for our city.”
Both unions agreed upon the new schedule by overwhelming margins.
The city’s firefighters currently work two 10-hour day shifts, followed by two 14-hour night shifts, then get four days off — an average of 42 hours a week. Under a new schedule chosen by firefighters, they will work two 24-hour shifts over three days, followed by five days off.
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