Firefighters agree on three-year contract with Lancaster, Pa.


By Jason Abbruzzese
Sentinel & Enterprise (Fitchburg, Massachusetts)
Copyright 2006 MediaNews Group, Inc. and Mid-States Newspapers, Inc.
All Rights Reserved

LANCASTER, Pa. — Selectmen signed a three-year pact with the firefighters' union on Monday.

The contract, which will last three years, gives call firefighters a 2.5 percent pay increase retroactive to July 1. Call firefighters' salaries will increase by 2 percent for the next two years.

The firefighters signed the contract two weeks ago, but the selectmen had not received it until recently, according to Town Administrator Orlando Pacheco.

Lancaster currently employs 22 part-time, or call, firefighters, who will benefit from the changes.

Unionized workers in other town departments, including the Department of Public Works, are also set to negotiate new contracts. If those bargaining units negotiate larger pay raises than the firefighters, the firefighters will receive the higher rate, Pacheco said.

Fire Chief John T. Fleck said the contract talks proceeded amicably.

"I don't think (the firefighters) asked anything during the negotiations that was extraordinary," he said Monday.

"(Pacheco) has done a good job negotiating with all the unions," Fleck noted.

Ed Peloquin of the Teamsters Union Local 170 negotiated the contract on behalf of the firefighters, but he could not be reached for comment Monday.

The contract also increases compensation for damage firefighters may incur to their eyeglasses while they are on the job, from $200 to $250.

Firefighters who work details will be paid at a rate of $37 per hour during the first year of the contract. The detail rate will increase to $38 and $39 in the next two years, respectively.

Negotiations began in early June, causing the contract to be signed past the start of the current fiscal year.

"I think one of the problems was, we started negotiating later than we usually liked," Pacheco said. 

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