Mayor to Firefighters: Union Bosses Have Cost You $20 Million

Standing behind a digital clock showing the days, hours, minutes, and seconds since the city's contract with the San Antonio Professional Firefighters Association expired, Mayor Nirenberg today urged a resumption of talks, and pointed out that the people being hit the hardest by more than three years without talks are the firefighters themselves, News Radio 1200 WOAI reports.

"During the three and a half years without negotiations, firefighters have gone without a pay raise," Nirenberg said.  "If the union had negotiated a new contract with a three percent annual pay increase, as the police union did in 2016, firefighters would have received an additional $6 million in salaries annually."

The mayor said that is $20 million firefighters have left on the table due to the refusal of SAPFFA President Chris Steele to resume talks.

Nirenberg says those lost wages will also mean lower pensions for the firefighters when they retire, because pensions are based on pay.

The mayor also said the taxpayers are being hit hard by the delay, because the City will ask firefighters to agree to drop their almost unheard of 'zero premium' health care plans in exchange for higher pay.  He says with the costs of health care rising, that provision is costing taxpayers a lot of money.

The Union it standing by an 'Evergreen Clause' that the City signed in the contract that expired in 2014, which allows the terms of a contract to remain in place for ten years after the expiration date.  The City has sued, so far unsuccessfully, to get that clause declared unconstitutional.

In addition, the SAPFFA recently began a petition driver to place charter amendments on the ballot in November that would slash the pay of the City Manager, as well as lead to other changes that City officials say would damage the City's economic health.

"Mr. Steele, it is time to do your job and end the gamesmanship," Nirenberg said.  "The city negotiators will be waiting. Taxpayers deserve better."

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