No End in Sight to City-Fire Union Statemate

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(Sacramento, CA)
Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Negotiations between the city and its fire union broke down Tuesday.  That means at least 50 fire fighters will likely lose their jobs at the end of next week.  Fire Chief Ray Jones says the public will suffer.
Jones: “We already have a reduced level of service because of cuts last year.  And to reduce that level of service again this year, I believe, it’s going to really tax our response capabilities.  So it’s frustrating.”
Both sides say it’s unlikely negotiations will resume.  And Wednesday, the union announced it will file charges against the city for unfair bargaining practices.  Union spokesman Chris Harvey says the suit is based on three things:
Harvey: “Union domination, interference and surface bargaining.  These are all examples of failing to meet and confer in good faith.”
Harvey says the union may also move forward with a proposed ballot measure that would mandate strict fire staffing levels – in good budget times and bad.
The city declined comment until it sees the lawsuit.  But officials have criticized the fire union for being unwilling to accept similar labor concessions as the city’s police union did … to save jobs and preserve service levels.