ARLINGTON – The Arlington
Fire District and the Arlington Professional Firefighters Association
have reached an agreement on a new contract, which extends from September
through December 31, 2021.
The union is comprised of 69 members in different ranks ranging from firefighter, to firefighter/paramedic, lieutenant, captain and similar roles.
The Board of Fire Commissioner, in a statement Monday, said the contract will provide “substantial savings for the district throughout the life of the contract and beyond, while insuring the continual safety of all district residents and businesses.”
Under the pact, firefighters will receive a two percent raise in each calendar year of the agreement, the first of which will take effect as of January 1 next year. In exchange the association made several givebacks including agreeing to switch from its existing health insurance plan to the New York State Health Insurance Program Empire Plan, beginning this September 1. In connection with the switch, the district has agreed to provide reimbursement through an HRA for each firefighter enrolled in the state plan. The shift to the new program is expected to save the district close to $500,000 in the first year of the contract, nearly enough to fund the across-the-board wage increase for all five years of the contract.
With the current shortage of volunteers, the association and district have agreed to several provisions to make paid firefighters and paramedics available 24-hours a day, seven days a week.
Both paid and volunteer firefighters would respond to all calls; however, should an individual require transportation to the hospital, which would be provided by a qualified outside contractor. That provision will also allow the district to reconfigure the assignment of its current staff throughout the district so that paid firefighters and paramedics will continue to be ready and available, during more hours of the day, and in more areas of the district, to provide the emergency services for which they were trained.
That reallocations will also help to reduce overtime costs, the district said.