When the International Association of Firefighters Local No. 1881 signed off on a collective bargaining agreement with the city of Ardmore in July, it cemented what Mayor Martin Dyer refers to as the most significant achievement of the year.
Both the fire department and police department unions have agreed to three-year deals, which will provide a break for negotiating in the next two years.
“It is a good deal,” says Capt. Dave Tomlinson, union president. “There is a lot of preparation that goes into this. For us being executive board members in addition to other duties, it can be time consuming.”
As part of the bargaining agreement, the city’s firefighters will receive cost-of-living increases during the next three years. The increase in the first year will be 2 percent, followed by increases of 1.5 percent in the final two years. The firefighters are also eligible for a step raise of 3.25 percent in the first year, and 3.5 percent in the final two years.
Firefighters will no longer receive light duty for injuries suffered off the job. They will be able to work on light duty for injuries suffered on the job, provided they are physically able.
Leading into the agreement, the firefighters had 30 shifts of sick leave in the bank in case someone got sick. Those shifts were increased to 40. Tomlinson said it was in lieu of losing the light days.
“We had the bank built up to 40 days to give us more peace of mind,” he said.
The agreement is set for three years, and after each year, the city will approve the financial conditions of the agreement because the budget is built on a yearly basis. Tomlinson said the pay increase was comparable with that of other departments of Ardmore’s size, also referred to as a universe.
“We are actually pretty good,” he said. “The last contact we did with (Dan) Parrott (former city manager) put us in a good standing with our universe. We are now in the middle and closer to the top.”
Assistant city manager Kevin Boatright took part in the negotiations, serving as the city’s interim human resources director. He said the city was pleased with the final agreement.
“I think it is a good agreement, beneficial to the department and the citizens of Ardmore,” he said.