Firefighter Union Delays Raises

Wage Concessions to Save County $2.1 Million

In the most recent arrangement between cash-strapped Santa Barbara County and local labor organizations, the area’s 200-member firefighters union — Local 2046 — agreed to defer previously approved wage increases for the time being. The concession will reportedly save the county an estimated $2.1 million over the next three years.

Local 2046 — during a special meeting held with county staff on Monday, June 7 — agreed to hold off on member raises which had been scheduled to take effect from 2010 to 2012. Now, the union might not see wage increases until as late as 2013, county communications director William Boyer said in a press release.

“Our County firefighters have agreed to step up and help the County just like our other labor organizations have done,” said 2nd District Supervisor Janet Wolf. “I want to thank our firefighters and all of our employees for recognizing the difficult financial situation and for their willingness to help.”

Rob Heckman, president of IAFF Local 2046, was similarly happy with the outcome, saying he was “very pleased we were able to work with the Fire Department and the County to achieve significant savings [for the county].”

“Our membership has made considerable contract concessions two years in a row,” Heckman continued, “which highlights their understanding of the economic issues faced by the County. The main goal of these concessions was to maintain staffing levels vital to the safety of the communities we serve,” he said.

The firefighters’ agreement, said Boyer, is the latest in a series of newly negotiated concessions with the county’s labor organizations. The Sheriff’s Managers Association also agreed on Monday to defer wage increases that will reportedly help save the county about $662,000 during the next three years.

The Deputy Sheriffs’ Association last month approved concessions that will help the county save about $4.1 million during the next four years. In addition, said Boyer, the county announced concession agreements were reached — between it and the Service Employees International Union (SEIU) Local 620, the Engineers and Technicians Association (ETA), and the Union of American Physicians and Dentists (UAPD) — which will help save an additional $9.64 million.

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