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Tallahassee Firefighters partially reject magistrate's recommendation for new contract

Disappointment over lack of pay bump and retroactive pay, city proposed salary increases for some ranks
Posted at 6:25 PM, Jul 02, 2024

  • Tallahassee Professional Firefighters vote against magistrate's recommendation for new contract
  • The union accepted some terms but rejected others in the recommendation.
  • Union members expressed disappointment over lack of pay bump, increase in mandatory overtime pay, and retroactive pay
  • City of Tallahassee proposed salary increases for firefighters, engineers, and lieutenants
  • Watch video to see what's next for union members.

BROADCAST TRANSCRIPT:
Tallahassee Professional Firefighters have officially made a decision on a magistrate's recommendation on their push for better wages and benefits.

Union fire workers announced their vote last week accepted some of the recommendations, but rejected others.

Now, the year long push for a new pay and benefits package is coming to a close.

Tallahassee Professional Firefighter union members were disappointed by several recommendations made by a magistrate on a new 2024 contract.

That's what President Joey Davis said.

"In the end, it's not going far enough to pay their bills, being able to live in the City of Tallahassee while they serve," Davis said.

He told me they gathered fire workers for a vote on the magistrate's decision last Tuesday.

Now, they have accepted some of the terms in the recommendation, but turned down others.

"They all came in, they were polled on each one of the articles," Davis said. "Now, we have a pretty good idea of exactly what they want."

The issues he says they take issue with: no pay bump for all fire ranks, differing pension contribution across ranks and a lack of retroactive pay for the 9 months that have gone by in fiscal year 2024.

I reached out to a spokesperson with the City of Tallahassee to hear their side of the story.

Their team wrote in a statement "Very happy the union has accepted the agreement on behalf of the Firefighters which brings to final resolution the contract for Firefighters."

They did not comment about the parts of the recommendation the union voted against.

The package they are citing: a magistrate's recommendation to increase salary for firefighters by more than $2,000, a bump of more than $800 for engineers and a more than $1,500 salary raise for lieutenants.

There was no recommended salary increase for captains or battalion chiefs.

The recommendation on salaries included a higher salary for the firefighter rank and a raise for lieutenants that the city was not previously offering.

The lack of pay raise for the other two ranks is something Davis says their members did not vote for.

"They deal with people all around the city with the City of Tallahassee who received 5% raises," Davis said.

The magistrate stepped in after the union declared impasse after nine months of negotiation.

Over one year after that process started, Davis told me his union members are ready to move on and focus on contracts for 2025 and beyond.

"We're hopeful that the city will continue to make strides in the three year contract," Davis said. "They have stated they want to put a large contract on the table, but we haven't seen that yet."

Davis tells me per state law, the final decision on the recommendation will be in the hands of Tallahassee City Commissioners.

That has not been confirmed by the City of Tallahassee.