New contract established for Fire Department employees with more hours, higher pay

Baltimore City firefighters have reached an agreement with city, raising their pay 14.5 percent, effective Jan. 1, 2014.

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Other Fire Department employees such as EMS responders get a 4 percent raise. The contract also stipulates that all Fire Department employees get a 2 percent raise for fiscal year 2013, retroactive to July 1.

“I am appreciative that the members of the department acknowledge the importance of long-term fiscal stability for our city,” said Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake in a statement, “and have courageously voted to make changes that will benefit all.”

The contract also includes changes to fire fighters’ shift schedules. A press release from the mayor’s office says that the new schedule is “more in-line with practices found in other major U.S. cities.”

Firefighters will be on-duty for 24 hours, off-duty the next 24, and on-duty again for the next 24 hours. After that, they will be off duty for the next five days. Every 32 days, each fire fighter will be scheduled for an additional 24-hour shift in the middle of the five-day off period.

The scheduling change reportedly increases firefighters’ average weekly hours from 42 hours to 47 hours.

“I am glad the city and local 734 were committed to remaining at the bargaining table to avoid the uncertainty of arbitration,” said Rick Hoffman, president of Firefighters Union IAFF Local 734 in a statement. “Tonight, the membership voted to support Mayor Rawlings-Blake’s effort to grow Baltimore by agreeing to work more hours for more pay.”

“I greatly appreciate the collaboration between Mayor Rawlings-Blake’s administration and the fire officers,” said Michael Campbell, president of the Baltimore Fire Officers Association IAFF Local 964 in a statement. “The officers in suppression are finally getting the raise they deserve. It has been a long time coming.”


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