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City, Firefighters Settle on New Contract

Oak Forest and Firefighters Union 3039 agreed to a new four-year contract that includes changes to salary scales and the creation of a new position in the department.

Months after the expiration of a previous contract, Oak Forest firefighters and city officials have inked a fresh agreement.

Aldermen on Nov. 27 approved a four-year contract with Local 3039—one that includes adjustments to the salary scales and the creation of a new position within the department. The new contract Oak Forest Firefighters Local 3039 reached a new contract agreement that was approved by the Oak Forest city council on Tuesday, Nov. 27. The four-year contract comes after the previous contract between the city and the union expired on April 30, 2012. 

“I think we've negotiated a good contract for both sides,” Ishler said. “I think we'll both be happy with this contract.”

Under the new contract, probationary firefighters who typically earn approximately $35,700 during their first year on the job, then jump to roughly $67,200 in their second year, will see a smaller increase the second year. The starting salary will remain the same, but will gradually increase over two years: by roughly 44 percent the second year, then an additional 37 percent the third year.

The change will affect any new hire to the fire department made after May 1, 2013.

“It's an additional step in the matrix, that cuts the amount of probationary to first-year employment in half, to what it used to,” Ishler said. “It saves the city some money every time an employee is hired in the first year.”

Firefighters can also expect an annual raise of 1.5 percent during the first year of the contract, with 2 percent raises for the three remaining years of the contract, as well.

The contract also calls for the gradual phasing out of the engineer position through attrition at the fire department—with the addition of a driver position.

Ishler said that Aldermen Peter Muscarella and Mark Keating were instrumental in reaching terms with the union.

“I'd like to thank Aldermen Keating and Muscarella for serving on the bargaining team with us and acting as liaisons for the Aldermen,” Ishler said. “I think they did a fantastic job and came up with some great ideas.”

The new contract was approved by a unanimous vote by the city council. It is effective May 1, 2012 through April 30, 2016. 

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