Newsday
Updated: August 6, 2015, 8:52 PM


FDNY firefighters union agrees to pay raise, other benefits, officials say

By MATTHEW CHAYES  matthew.chayes@newsday.com

The union for the FDNY's nearly 8,000 rank-and-file firefighters has agreed to pay raises of 11 percent for its membership, more staffing at some engine companies and the restoration of a disability pension benefit, officials said Thursday.

"I think we got the best deal possible," said the union president, Stephen Cassidy of the Uniformed Firefighters Association. He added: "We think we have a deal that we could not walk away from."

If ratified by union membership, average firefighter pay without overtime would be $76,667 when the contract's final raise takes effect on Dec. 1, 2016, according to the mayor's chief labor negotiator, Bob Linn. It's now $68,757.

The total cost to taxpayers will be $691.1 million, down to $559.9 million when offset by promised health care savings.

The administration of Mayor Bill de Blasio, who took office with all labor contracts expired, has now cut deals with 83 percent of the city's more than 300,000 union workers.

All the deals have followed the same pattern: 11 percent raises for uniformed workers, 10 percent for the others. A notable exception is the Patrolmen's Benevolent Association, which represents the NYPD's 23,000 rank-and-file officers. The city and PBA are in binding arbitration, with a decision expected before the end of summer.

The FDNY deal is retroactive to August 1, 2010, the day after the union's last contract expired, and it runs until July 31, 2017. Voting by the rank and file is expected to take place by mail over the next 60 days, a union official said.

On the pensions, the payout given to uniformed personnel disabled by on-the-job injuries would be restored to three-quarters -- it was reduced to half in 2009 -- but the deal calls for an additional 3 percent salary contribution. Albany must approve that portion. Left unresolved is a similar dispute with other uniformed workers, such as police officers.

"In terms of the other unions," the mayor said, "the door is open to them" if they want to negotiate, too.