As negotiations continue between the City of Fort Worth and Firefighters Local 440 concerning terms of a third collective bargaining agreement (CBA), the Fort Worth City Council was given an informal report at Tuesday's work session.
The current agreement expired this past September, but it also had a one-year evergreen period. However, even the evergreen extension expires this Sept. 30. No across-the-board wage increases can be implemented during the evergreen period.
These negotiations date to May 19, 2017, when Local 440 President, Michael Glynn, delivered a letter to City Manager David Cooke, requesting that the City and the Local 440 begin negotiations for a third Fire Collective Bargaining Agreement. The first bargaining session was in October of 2017, but then traditional CBA negotiations were put on hold until May of 2018 while the groups negotiated the details of the transition of healthcare for active fire fighters and retirees to the Local 440’s Healthcare Plan.
Members of the City’s bargaining team, headed by Assistant City Manager Valerie Washington, have been meeting with the Local 440 representatives over the past 18 months negotiating on topics and matters ranging from across-the-board wages, apparatus staffing, hiring procedures, and promotional processes.
City officials say the negotiations are in the final stages as they work through the following two items: language for the Maintenance of Standards article and articles tied to wages and incentive pays. As the City has fiscally planned for future CBA and Meet and Confer agreements, officials have been forecasting to keep new contract costs limited to a 3 percent net change in the total cost of contract for each labor agreement.
"We are getting very close to getting to the end of our negotiations. We are working through probably two of the toughest issues," Washington said. "We've gotten through and had a lot of collaborative work on this, but we're down to the end, and we're negotiating a couple times a week to meet our deadline."
In order to ensure that the new CBA is in place prior to the end of the evergreen period, plans are to follow this timeline:
*Week of May 27: City and Local 440 to record intent of each CBA change
with a court reporter.
*Week of June 3: Local will hold ratification meetings.
*Tuesday, June 11: Work session presentation providing an overview of the
new CBA for Mayor & Council.
*Tuesday, June 18: Mayor/Council vote on new Fire CBA.