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Mayor Berry and AFD Union President Announce Contract Agreement

Provides Raises to All Firefighters and Mechanism to Address Union Time

February 24, 2014

Albuquerque- Today Mayor Richard J. Berry and International Association of Firefighters (IAFF) Local 244 President Diego Arencon announced a contract agreement between the city and the union authorizing a raise for all Albuquerque Fire Department firefighters and a mechanism to pool leave time from firefighters to cover the cost of paying IAFF leaders to perform union work during regular duty hours.

The agreement represents the first of its kind between Mayor Berry and IAFF Local 244 since the administration assumed office. It was approved by 94% of the members who voted last week and provides for a 2.5% raise across the board. It restores firefighters to the level they were prior to a budget deficit in FY 2011 in which the city was faced with a $90 million shortfall, which resulted in a small pay decrease for all city employees in order to save jobs and balance the budget. The agreement also authorizes an additional 2% increase for the rank of Drivers and Lieutenants to implement grade distribution ranges contemplated in contract agreements with the previous administration.

The agreement addresses the issue of “union time” which refers to union leaders being paid by the city while working on IAFF issues during regular work hours. The negotiated terms of the new contract will require all firefighters to donate leave to a pool in order to cover the cost of their union leadership to lobby, negotiate and perform other union related activities during regular work hours.

Mayor Berry acknowledged the hard work of all the parties involved in coming to an agreement. “I am pleased that my management team has been able to work in good faith with the union leadership to negotiate a pay proposal that acknowledges the hard work of our men and women of the Albuquerque Fire Department, while still maintaining a fiscally responsible budget on behalf of the taxpayers,” stated Mayor Berry. “We appreciate that the firefighters pitched in during a difficult economic period, and that we are now able to restore a reasonable raise as well as ensure a mechanism to pay for union work that fairly distributes the financial cost among members. Much credit goes to Chief Dave Downey as well for our ability to accomplish this agreement under his leadership.”

The Mayor also thanked City Councilors Ken Sanchez and Dan Lewis who sponsored the legislation that was passed earlier this month setting aside $1.8 million to budget for the raise which Mayor Berry signed last week.