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Firefighters union, city start contract talks Tuesday

Differences emerge on raises, length of contract

October 10, 2012
By BILL SHEA ( , Messenger News

Differing proposals for a new labor contract were presented Tuesday morning when the Fort Dodge city administration and unionized firefighters began negotiations.

Leaders of International Association of Firefighters Local 622 proposed a three-year contract with raises in each of the three years. Union President Tom Peart said the proposal calls for a 6 percent raise in the first year, a 5 percent raise in the second year and a 4 percent raise in the third year.

The city, represented primarily by Jim Vollmer, the human resources director, countered with a proposed one-year contract featuring a 1.25 percent raise effective Jan. 1, 2014. The city's proposal also calls for changes in health insurance coverage, all of which would require the union members to pay part of their premiums.

Firefighters are now covered by a health insurance plan called Alliance Select, which was implemented when the current contract was approved two years ago. The city pays all of the premiums, but union officials previously said the change saved the local government $30,000 a year.

Those initial proposals were introduced Tuesday morning at a public session in the Municipal Building, 819 First Ave. S. The rest of the talks, beginning with an Oct. 29 session, will be conducted in private meetings.

The city's unionized firefighters are currently working under a two-year contract that expires June 30, 2013. The union represents 27 people, including captains, lieutenants and firefighters.

Fact Box

Here is a summary of proposals for a new firefighters' contract in Fort Dodge.

Union Proposal

  • Three-year contract
  • Raises of 6 percent in the first year, 5 percent in the second year, and 4 percent in the third year,
  • Additional emergency medical service incentive pay.
  • Increase annual uniform allowance from $400 to $500.
  • City contribution of $100 a month for the purchase of exercise equipment.

City Proposal

  • One-year contract
  • 1.25 percent raise effective Jan. 1, 2014.
  • Optional high deductible health plan with a health savings account.
  • Optional health insurance plan with a deductible of $750 for individuals and $1,500 for families.
  • Health insurance plan with a deductible of $250 for individuals and $500 for families.


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