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Tallahassee fire union leader, city leaders defend their positions on magistrate decision

Posted at 6:30 PM, Jun 19, 2024
  • After a over a year of negotiations, Tallahassee Professional Firefighter union members are set to vote on a pay and benefits package.
  • The news of a vote comes after the city has agreed to accept the recommendation from a magistrate.
  • Watch the video to see how we got here:


Tallahassee Professional Firefighters President Joey Davis said their decision to take a union vote on a magistrate's recommendation is based on moving things forward.

"The statement on cutting our losses points to the fatigue our firefighters have of grinding through this process hoping the city would be fair to them," Davis said.

They are bringing the recommendation to their union members after over a year of negotiations with the City of Tallahassee of pay and benefits for fire employees.

We have been covering this that whole time.

A magistrate was brought in March of this year after the fire union said negotiations were at a stalemate, declaring impasse.

His recommendation released Monday includes a bump in pay for firefighters by more than $2,000, about $400 above the city's latest offer.

He also recommended a raise for lieutenants, who weren't getting a pay increase under the city's most recent contract.

The magistrate did not recommend captains or battalion chiefs get a pay bump.

He also upped the pension contribution reduction for certain ranks.

"There were a couple of areas in which the magistrate did not address pay," Davis said. "He dealt with pension differently at different ranks and some of that is going to be problematic as far as implementation moving forward."

Davis said his union members need the new pay proposed in the recommendation to be retroactive to make up for the months that have gone by in 2024.

"We know we have enough support if there is retroactivity or if they're willing to make this the pay for the full year."

I also spoke with city leaders for the first on camera interview on negotiations since they began.

Mayor John Dailey told me..

"I personally as mayor fully support the recommendation, I know the city manager supports the recommendation. I couldn't see why the union wouldn't support the recommendation and it's going to be able to allow us to bring closure to this chapter and move on."

His opinion on what's taken so long to get to this point:

"It was the union leadership that wanted to go to impasse," Dailey said. "It was the union leadership that wanted to go to the magistrate and of course we agreed."

Davis said they were clear with their asks the entire process.

"We aren't the ones dragging our feet," Davis said. "We came to the very first negotiation with options."