The binding arbitration award issued
The three-member panel of arbitrators got rid of the annual Act 120 payments made in accord with a clause in their union contract giving them parity pay increases with the police, and removed the sick leave payout and post-employment life insurance for firefighters hired after
"It was fair on both sides," George said.
President of the firefighters union
"The arbitrator did his job," Bilski said. "It's not really want we wanted. We'll live with it."
The union had been working under the terms of an agreement that expired last year and the mayor's budget for this year did not include a pay hike.
But the award bumped up the hourly wage by
The award also established a gradual rise for new firefighters to reach full pay after five years. The first year started at 70 percent of the starting salary and stepped up annually with 75 percent, 80 percent, 90 percent and 100 percent.
The mayor did not disclose how the salary increases would be covered in his final budget for 2020. George lost the Democrat primary in May to former city councilman
"That's what we're working on," George said as he gets ready to present his proposed budget by mid October.
This year's budget included a line item of
The elimination of the Act 120 payment will provide some savings. It was budgeted at
The award contained additional modifications that could lead to cost savings:
--It waived the parity clause with the police and put the brakes on matching raises only during the four years from
--The city was given the right to choose the health insurance provider. In addition, the monthly premium contribution had no cap placed on it. The percentage of the monthly premium to be paid depended on the date of hire. For those hired before
(c)2019 The Times Leader (Wilkes-Barre, Pa.)
Visit The Times Leader (Wilkes-Barre, Pa.) at www.timesleader.com
Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.