Dunmore council, firefighters union agree on contract
DUNMORE – The borough and its Fire Department have a new contract that for the first time includes firefighter contributions to health care.
In a tentative agreement, each firefighter will pay $5,500 in health insurance costs and receive a nearly 16 percent pay increase as part of the five-year tentative contract.
The 16 members of Dunmore Fire Department Local 860 of the International Association of Fire Fighters will pay $900 beginning this year, while the annual amount will increase by $100 each year of the contract.
To offset firefighters paying insurance costs, they will receive annual pay increases – 5 percent the first year, which decrease by 1 percent each year of the contract, leading to a 1 percent raise for the final year of the pact.
Another part of the contract allows full-time firefighters who have worked at least five years for the borough to receive the maximum pension allowed, half of the employee’s current salary.
Dunmore council members unanimously approved the tentative contract on Jan. 14, while each member of the union also supported it. The union president and council members involved in negotiations said this contract marks the first time in recent memory that Dunmore council and the union reached a contract without an arbitrator, saving thousands of dollars in legal fees.
Having negotiated the contract during an eight-month period without attorneys present, both council and union leaders say they believe the contract is fair to both sides.
“It wasn’t greedy,” said Dominick Rinaldi, union president. “This was a back-and-forth thing with everyone involved.”
Council President Sal Verrastro said having firefighters pay part of their health insurance will help as premiums continue to rise, citing a 20 percent increase for this year.
“Many people don’t realize how high these costs are and how they increase,” he said.
Attorneys representing the borough and the union continue to work on final language of the contract. Mr. Verrastro said it would be available for the public to inspect today at the borough office.
Earlier this month, the council approved a similar union contract with clerical employees and continues to negotiate with public works and police unions.
Contact the writer: firstname.lastname@example.org, @rwardTT on Twitter