LV firefighters union ratifies contract concessions

Las Vegas firefighters have ratified an agreement that eliminates or reduces some expected raises and cuts benefits.

Voting ended Tuesday night. Of nonsupervisory members, 87 percent of those voting said yes to the agreement, and 100 percent of supervisory employees approved. The Las Vegas City Council is scheduled to vote on the contract changes today.

"Time to move on," said Dean Fletcher, president of International Association of Firefighters Local 1285. "Get back to business."

The concessions total $5.6 million in the 2011 fiscal year, which started July 1, along with an expected $900,000 in additional savings in 2012. The elements of the deal include:

■ Eliminating a cost-of-living raise. The previous contract called for a cost-of-living raise of 3.5 percent that would cost the city $2 million in fiscal 2011.

■ Reducing step increases by half in the next two budget years and cutting the starting salary of new employees by 5 percent. Step raises average about 5.6 percent. A city firefighter's base pay now is $44,947 to $77,602 a year. This would save about $900,000 in new costs.

■ Eliminating the uniform allowance of $1,500 a year for 2011, an expected savings of $900,000.

■ Reducing the city's medical contribution to $360 per pay period, down from $450 per pay period, saving $1.8 million. The contribution will be in only 24 pay periods instead of 26.

■ Reducing a paperwork payment to paramedics by 50 percent in 2011 and eliminate it in 2012 to save $900,000.

■ Increasing the number of "roving" responders to reduce overtime.

Also, the city would agree not to pursue the privatization of ambulance services during the two-year contract.

The plan should eliminate the need for expected "brownouts," in which units from a few fire stations would not be staffed for a day, city officials said.

City officials originally wanted 8 percent salary cuts from all city employees in each of the next two budget years. The bargaining units that represent most city workers resisted that idea, and the City Council prepared a 2011 budget with more than 200 layoffs.

None of those were firefighters. Ten city marshal positions that were to be cut were salvaged when the Las Vegas Police Protective Association and the city agreed to concessions that eliminated cost-of-living and step raises for one year and reduced salaries by 4 percent.

Contact reporter Alan Choate at or 702-229-6435.