New York Daily News

Updated: August 6, 2015, 8:52 PM

  

 

FDNY union and City Hall agree on tentative 7-year contract

BY KERRY BURKE, REUVEN BLAU

JOE MARINO/NEW YORK DAILY NEWS
Steve Cassidy, president of the Uniformed Firefighters Association, addresses the FDNY Probationary Graduating class of 2015. "This a deal we couldn't walk away from," Cassidy said of the tentative contract Thursday.

The union representing more than 8,000 city firefighters reached a tentative seven-year deal with the de Blasio administration Thursday.

The proposed accord with the Uniformed Firefighters Association (UFA) follows the same pattern as other contracts previously negotiated with city workers under Mayor de Blasio.

The deal — which runs retroactively from Aug. 1, 2010, until July 31, 2017 — further boxes in the Patrolmen's Benevolent Association as it heads into the final stages of its binding arbitration battle with city negotiators, labor insiders said.

Overall, the deal, which includes 11% in raises over seven years, will cost the city $559 million through fiscal year 2019, according to City Hall.

Under the tentative accord, the city has also agreed to help restore disability benefits for newly hired firefighters seriously injured on the job. The issue had been a sore point for the union for over a year.

"This a deal we couldn't walk away from," UFA president Steve Cassidy said.

Currently, the city's uniformed workers who were hired and on the payroll before 2009 get three-quarters of their final pay, mostly tax-free, for life if they’re injured on the job.

But in 2009 new hires got tossed into a different disability classification, and their benefits are just about $10,000 a year.

Albany lawmakers have final say over the disability matter.

But under the deal, the city and union have agreed to jointly support a new state measure that would restore three-quarters disability pay benefits to new hires. To offset the cost, new hires’ pension contributions will rise from 3% to 6% of their salaries.

If the disability deal ends up being applied to all uniformed unions, that will reduce the estimated cost for the benefit from $250 million to approximately $125 million, city officials said.

As part of the agreement, the city also agreed to staff 20 engine companies with a full five firefighters each by February 2019. That will cost an additional $21 million through fiscal year 2019, city officials said.

"This agreement is fundamentally fair," de Blasio told reporters. "It's a good deal for the firefighters it's a good deal for the people of New York."

Patrick Lynch, head of the Patrolmen’s Benevolent Association, said cops are waiting for the results of their binding arbitration.

“The UFA leadership has reached a deal that they have indicated will address their members' needs,” Lynch said. “New York City police officers perform a very different job, a job that has only become more dangerous and complicated over the past decade and is now without a doubt the toughest job in either the public or private sector. Meanwhile, our police officers are still severely underpaid in comparison with other police officers, both locally and nationwide.” 

rblau@nydailynews.com