Los Angeles Officials Reach Deal with Firefighters Union

Los Angeles officials have reached a tentative salary agreement with the city’s firefighters union that provides no raises in the current fiscal year and a 2% boost next summer, reports The Los Angeles Times.

Frank Lima, president of United Firefighters of Los Angeles City Local 112, said the proposed two-year deal would address a decades-old pay disparity that has left firefighters earning 2% less than their counterparts in the Police Department.

“We realize the city’s in financial difficulty, and the firefighters have absolutely done our part to help with the city’s structural deficit,” Lima said. “But we feel this tentative agreement honors our work and is fair.”

The union still must hold a ratification vote for its 3,000 members. In an email sent to firefighters last week, Lima said the proposed contract includes not just a pay hike, but also increases in longevity pay and health and dental subsidies. He would not discuss those details with The Times.

The deal provides the first breakthrough for Mayor Eric Garcetti and the City Council after months of protracted salary talks involving three major employee groups. But it also represents a departure from the financial strategy laid out this year by City Administrative Officer Miguel Santana, the high-level budget official.

In April, Santana recommended that Garcetti and the council hold off on employee raises for three years. That approach, he said in a 37-page report, would bring the city’s budget into balance by 2018.

Garcetti and council members have sought to avoid pay increases in the fiscal year that ends June 30, 2015. One source familiar with the firefighter talks, who asked to remain anonymous because they lacked authorization to discuss the matter, said the agreement would achieve that goal, while allowing for a 2% pay increase early in the contract’s second year.

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