Denver Firefighters Make Personal Sacrifices for the City
Fire Union Amends Contract to Save City Nearly $3.9 Million
(DENVER) Joined by Mayor John Hickenlooper, Denver Fire Chief Larry Trujillo, Auditor Dennis Gallagher, and members of the Denver City Council and Denver Fire Department on the front steps of Denver’s City and County Building, Denver Firefighter Union Local 858 President Mike Rogers announced Tuesday that fire union members voted to reopen their collective bargaining contract and accept close to $3.9 million in deferrals and givebacks. The savings average more than $4,200 per firefighter.
“In the face of a $70 million deficit, no one told me that this job was going to be easy, but one of the things I am learning is that I am not going to have to do it alone,” Mayor Hickenlooper said. “There are people in this city who are willing to exercise leadership and sacrifice their own interests for the greater good of Denver. I want to commend Denver’s firefighters for demonstrating extraordinary leadership -- bolstered by real sacrifice -- that will enable the City of Denver to balance its budget without cutting vital fire protection. I want to be clear - without the firefighters’ commitment we honor here today - we simply could not have provided the level of fire protection next year that we have in years past… This is a powerful demonstration that members of Denver’s civil service are willing to step forward to join their brothers and sisters in the career service to share the burden of our budgetary hardships.”
According to the proposal passed by Local 858 members late Friday, the nearly $3.9 million in cost reductions will be achieved through savings in sick leave deferral, uniform maintenance, birthday pay, bilingual incentives, and a 1% wage decrease in 2004.
“After thoroughly investigating the economic crisis in Denver, Local 858’s firefighters have decided on a course of action,” Mike Rogers, Local 858 president, said. “Denver Firefighters Local 858 approached Mayor Hickenlooper and the City Council and agreed on cost-saving measures that will preserve fire safety in Denver. The great personal sacrifices being made by every Denver firefighter will keep fire apparatus on the streets and keep our brave firefighters where they belong, in your fire houses helping those in need.”
The savings achieved through this collective bargaining renegotiation will, in part, enable the City to avoid closing the four rigs discussed earlier this year. The Fire Department’s existing collective bargaining agreement was not set to expire until December 31, 2005; however, Denver Firefighters agreed to amend the existing contract for 2003 and 2004.
“This is a great day for Firefighters Local 858, the Mayor’s Office and the Denver Fire Department Administration,” Chief Trujillo said. “It is a great win for the city of Denver.”
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