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Boston firefighters approve contract with city

Boston Firefighters Local 718 sealed the deal by a vote of 824 to 58, according to city officials.

Bill Brett/Globe staff

Boston Firefighters Local 718 sealed the deal by a vote of 824 to 58, according to city officials.

After three years without a contract, Boston firefighters Thursday overwhelmingly ratified an agreement with the city that includes an 18.8 percent pay raise and measures to improve safety and management in the Fire Department.

Boston Firefighters Local 718 sealed the deal by a vote of 824 to 58, city officials said. It was the first firefighters contract reached without going to arbitration since 2001.

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Mayor Martin J. Walsh said in a statement that he was pleased with the results and thanked the union’s leadership and members.

“I’m glad that this matter is officially resolved,’’ the mayor said.

Union president Richard Paris praised both sides in the negotiations, which concluded last month.

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“We said from the beginning that we wanted to come to the best agreement possible for everyone, and we worked together with mutual respect and trust to reach this deal,’’ Paris said.

The six-year contract, which will cost the city $92.4 million, is retroactive from July 2011 and extends to June 2017 and includes a baseline 14 percent wage increase.

The contract aims to curb sick time and overtime abuses and requires that firefighters serving in a senior role have extra training. Firefighters will get higher pay for details, for working as hazardous material and technical rescue specialists, and for being certified as emergency medical technicians.

The firefighters’ raise is less than the 25.4 percent pay increase police officers received from an arbitrator in 2013, a boost that became a contentious topic in last year’s mayoral race.

The issue of wage parity between the city’s fire and police unions has long framed contract negotiations. The police union has argued that officers’ base pay overall is lower than firefighters receive.

Meghan E. Irons can be reached at meghan.irons@globe.com.
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