County extends contract with firefighters, paramedics
Wednesday, 14 August 2013 13:22

Pact covers firefighters and paramedics

by Ben Boehl

    There will be labor peace in Baltimore County with firefighters and paramedics for the next three years.
    Baltimore County Executive Kevin Kamenetz announced last week that the county government and the union that represents firefighters and paramedics, Professional Firefighters IAFF Local 1311, agreed on a contract lasting through June 30, 2016.

    Last year, Baltimore County and two of its employees’ unions had trouble reaching an agreement on new contracts.
    The Baltimore County Federation of Public Employees and AFSCME Local 921 were not able to reach agreements with the county before their contacts expired with the county on July 1.
    However, IAFF Local 1311 and the county ratified extensions to the current labor agreement deal, which was not set to expire until June 30, 2014.
    “I am very pleased that we were able to extend the county’s existing labor agreement with the Baltimore County firefighters and paramedics,” Kamenetz said in a statement.    
    “Union president Mike Day and his negotiating team worked closely with county officials to craft an agreement that is good for employees and sustainable for taxpayers. Once again, this contract protects employees against layoffs and furloughs for the next three years while providing some well-deserved pay increases, and that is extremely gratifying.”
    The agreement provides for a three-percent bonus to be awarded in November 2014 and a three-percent cost-of-living increase on July 1, 2015. The deal also protects employees from layoffs and furloughs during the life of the contract.
    Kamenetz added that he is glad the county was able to reach an agreement with the firefighters and paramedics on acceptable terms. He said the deal shows that the county is fiscally responsible.
    “It is the ability to look forward and manage the budget wisely that allows us to build new schools and renovate old ones. It allows us to repair an aging infrastructure, and it allows us to support our first responders ensuring that Baltimore County is a wonderful place to raise a family,”  Kamenetz said.
    “Reaching realistic and fair labor agreements with our bargaining units is a very important step in that entire process. That is exactly what Baltimore County citizens expect.”
    Day, who is president of Baltimore County Professional Firefighters and Paramedics, IAFF Local 1311, said he is happy that the county was willing to work not only to get a deal done, but to provide an agreement that is beneficial for firefighters and paramedics.
    “It is only out of mutual respect that this agreement could be reached,” he said. “The Kamenetz administration has again demonstrated its commitment to our profession and public safety.”
    “I am extremely proud of both the negotiations team and our dedicated membership for their actions. They once again demonstrated reasonableness and understanding by turning out to vote for safety and security through 2016.”
    Day said he is also proud of the members of the union, saying the contract approval vote had one of the largest turnouts he has seen during his tenure as union president.    
    “Baltimore County firefighters and paramedics get it, and once again they showed true leadership in approving this extension,” Day noted.