The City of Reno announced today a tentative labor agreement with the Reno Firefighters Association, also known as IAFF Local 731.
A new contract was ratified by IAFF membership on May 9, 2015 following a week-long voting process. Prior to that, membership had 33 days to ask questions and clarify contract details. The tentative agreement will be presented at the May 27, 2015 Reno City Council regular meeting for consideration and possible approval.
“The City of Reno is excited to announce that it has finalized deal points in a proposed contract with Local 731,” Clinger said. “We appreciate the spirit of cooperation, the substantial past concessions during the recession, and the leadership shown by our firefighters to help provide solutions to the City’s long-term funding issues. I want to thank 731 for their hard work and due diligence in helping us get closer to a mutually beneficial deal.”
The two sides reached a tentative mutual agreement on a new labor agreement through June 30th, 2016. The proposed two-year agreement will cover the current fiscal year as well as fiscal year 2016.
The proposed contract agreement helps address the City of Reno’s Other Post Employment Benefits (OPEB) liability. These are lifelong medical insurance benefits that are owed to former City of Reno employees, who are now retired. The City of Reno currently carries a burden of approximately $226 million due to OPEB, of which $60 million is attributable to firefighters.
The proposed contract also eliminates the OPEB responsibility to new hires and instead utilizes a defined contribution plan, known as a Voluntary Employee Benefit Association (VEBA). This represents an estimated savings of $7,000 per year on average for every new firefighter the City hires, and will provide for insurance coverage after their service to the City of Reno.
Future Public Employee Retirement System (PERS) increases or decreases will be split between the firefighters and the City, eliminating the prior practice of an automatic PERS increase in lieu of a pay raise when the PERS rate changed.
“Your Reno Firefighters have and will continue to work in a collaborative effort with the City of Reno,” Local 731 President Dennis Jacobsen said. “The economic recovery of the City of Reno is a slow and steady process, and this contract is a good first step. We are proud to serve Reno’s residents, businesses, and visitors.”
The following are some of the deal points that are agreeable to IAFF:
- The agreement would eliminate some of the permanent salary reductions Reno firefighters contributed to assist the City of Reno during the downturn.
- Firefighter salaries are currently at 2009 levels. Similar to other groups whose concessions sunsetted, this contract contains reinstatement of some permanent reductions in exchange for long-term financial stability for the City. Of the 13.8% salary reduction implemented in the 2008 and 2011 contracts is a recovery of 5.87% in salary starting March 19, 2015.
- City of Reno firefighters are still making less than the average firefighter in Nevada in order to continue assisting the City with its overall financial stability.
- There will also be reinstatement of a one-time $1,500 clothing allowance that the IAFF gave in concessions.
- Staffing will remain at the current levels of four-person crews to continue to provide the progressive level of safe, efficient, and timely service City of Reno residents, businesses, and visitors have come to expect. This is evidenced by the City receiving a prestigious Class 2 rating from the Insurance Service Office (ISO), which is the second-highest rating issued by ISO.
Update on Regional Fire Services
The City of Reno is advocating for fire consolidation in the wake of Senate Bill 185, which passed out of the Senate on May 19, 2015 and is now being considered in the Assembly. Senate Bill 185 mandates that the crew/station closest to a fire in Washoe County respond first, regardless of jurisdiction.
SOURCE: City of Reno.