Brookfield’s union firefighters and village officials needed just one five-hour negotiating session to come to terms on a new three-year contract, which will expire on Dec. 31, 2019.
The deal means management won’t have to begin negotiations with either of its public safety employees for the next three years – a deal with police patrol officers and sergeants was inked in December in just three hours. Both contracts expire the same day.
“We had a great negotiating session,” said Nick Witteman, president of the Brookfield firefighters’ union, which is represented by the International Association of Firefighters. “Both sides were willing to negotiate and came to an agreement very readily.”
Brookfield won’t be seeking a new contract with its police/fire dispatchers, because those employees will become part of a new bargaining unit, along with personnel from Riverside and North Riverside, in the West Central Consolidated Communications (WC3) dispatching agency, which should become operational later this year.
The base-salary raises in the new firefighters’ contract mirror those the village negotiated with police officers in December. Firefighters will receive a base salary increase of 2.25 percent in 2017, an increase of 2.5 percent in 2018 and an increase of 2.75 in 2019.
However, firefighters who are in their first six years on the job will see raises that are higher than the base-pay raises, because of step raises that are part of the salary schedule.
A first-year firefighter in 2017 will be paid $60,518. But by the end of the contract, that firefighter will be making $75,340 – an increase of 24.5 percent, because of the step increases.
A fourth-year firefighter who is making $80,761 in 2017 will be making $93,946 – an increase of 16.3 percent. Any firefighter with more than six years’ experience will get the base-pay raise only.
Meanwhile lieutenants’ starting pay in 2017 is $97,230, and they are eligible for two additional step raises. A firefighter promoted to lieutenant in 2017 will see his pay increase to $108,038 – an increase of 11 percent — by the end of the contract. Lieutenants with more than two years’ experience will get base-pay raises only.
Other than the salary increases, not much changed in the contract from the previous deal inked in 2013.
Firefighters will still contribute 15 percent of premiums for single or family medical insurance and 10 percent for individual dental insurance (employees must pay 25 percent of dependent dental premiums).
One change in the new contract involves fire house staffing on holidays. In the past, the contract required firehouses to be fully staffed on holidays, unlike other days on the calendar.
Now, firefighters will be able to choose to take a holiday off, if it lands on a day they’re scheduled to work, even if it means the fire house won’t be fully staffed that day.