Walsh, firefighters reach agreement
Mayor Martin J. Walsh’s administration has reached a new contract with the Boston firefighters’ union, one of the city’s largest labor organizations.
The new contract, covering four years from July 1, 2017, through June 30, 2021, is similar in terms to other agreements the mayor has recently reached with city unions – a 2 percent pay raise each year – though it includes other adjustments to compensation such as increases in night differential and hazardous duty compensation.
The exact details of the increases in stipends were not immediately spelled out Tuesday. Walsh proposed a budget amendment to the City Council, which will likely hold a hearing at a later date to consider the request. The Boston Municipal Research Bureau, a city watchdog group, has urged the council to be cautious of such “compensation creep” provisions tucked into labor agreements.
Richard Paris, the union president, said Tuesday that the union and administration struck what he called a “fair agreement,” balancing the interests of firefighters with the city’s commitment to other services and programs.
“Our bargaining team realized that, and we feel it’s fair,” Paris said, pointing out that more than 75 percent of firefighters approved the deal.
The union is the city’s second largest, with 1,525 covered employees, according to Boston Municipal Research Bureau data.
The union, known as Boston Firefighters Local 718, was the first to reach an agreement with Walsh for a labor contract after he took office in 2014, and it was the first firefighters’ contract reached without going to arbitration since 2001.
As of May, the city had active agreements with 78 percent of all employees covered by union contracts, according to the bureau.
On Tuesday, the mayor also sent notice to the council that the administration had reached an agreement with members of the administrative guild within the Boston School System, for a four-year contract dating back to 2016. That agreement, which covers nearly 300 employees, also calls for 2 percent annual increases.
And, the city reached an agreement with SEIU 888 workers in the Boston Public Health Commission and the City Housing Trust for a four-year contract dating back to 2016. That agreement, covering more than 150 employees, also calls for annual 2 percent raises.