SUNNYSIDE — In what has been declared as a win-win negotiation for both parties, council members approved the new Collective Bargaining Agreement with the International Association of Fire Fighters Local 3542, during a regular scheduled public meeting on Tuesday, Nov. 12, meeting at the Sunnyside Law and Justice Center.
“This has been a very productive and thoughtful process to go through bargaining with the International Association of Fire Fighters,” City Manager Martin Casey remarked in his opening comments to council.
He was very appreciative of the effort and hours put in by both parties to get a mutual agreement between management and labor worked out since the firefighters were unable to reach a deal prior to former senior manager Don Day’s retirement last year, Casey noted.
The agreement calls for a “Step E” salary of $56,500 for an employee to include a 2.5 percent wage increase plus incentives and benefits for Jan. 1, 2019, through Dec. 31, 2022.
Council member Dean Boersma commended Casey for keeping officials regularly updated on the process while overseeing local union negotiations for the first time.
“I appreciate the Fire Department working with you and cooperating so much on this and I think we have a pretty decent agreement here,” Boersma added.
Deputy Mayor Francisco Guerrero affirmed his approval on how the process was conducted which resulted in a three-year contract and modest wage increase this year as city finances remain restricted.
“It is still a lengthy process at times, and it could be contentious. And, staff and the firefighters obviously worked it out. And it worked out well,” Guerrero described.
Following the meeting, Sunnyside Fire Chief Ken Anderson spoke about how the negotiation process differed from last year, which resulted in a transparent and line by line budget approach, along with positive communications led by Casey and department leaders.
He pointed out the new agreement represents a more comprehensive and accurate contract that represents today’s standards. “In the end, for all parties, it was absolutely fair,” Chief Anderson confirmed. “We’ll be able to keep our city safe. There won’t be any decrease in services and it’s going to remain affordable.”