Mich. firefighters resolve year-long staffing dispute with city

The Muskegon firefighters’ union has been negotiating a contract with city officials that will prevent the 100-year-old department from dissolving

By FireRescue1 Staff

MUSKEGON, Mich. — A yearlong dispute over staffing between a firefighters’ union and the city is coming to an end, which means the 100-year-old fire department will not have to be dissolved.

IAFF Local #370 President Chris Drake and Muskegon City Manager Frank Peterson both confirmed that a contract negotiation conducted over the summer to keep the Muskegon Fire Department running instead of contracting fire service to Muskegon Heights has been favorable for both sides, MLive reported.

Peterson said the city plans to hire 13 new firefighters, and a non-union job opening for a deputy director of fire services that would oversee the fire department was also posted.

“We feel like enough progress has been made that we can get the (hiring) process moving," Peterson said. "We felt all along that if we could find a way to make it sustainable, we could and should have our own (fire department). I think we came to a better understanding of what we both saw were the long term realities of what the department should look like."

Drake said it took a year of fighting through negotiations to “do what was best for the citizens of this community.”

A contract is expected to be ready in October, according to Peterson.

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