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Firefighters reject new city contract

Monday, September 29, 2014 by Elizabeth Pagano

In a vote that had historically high turnout, the Austin Firefighters Local 975 voted down the latest offer from city management, with 93 percent of the 773 votes cast in opposition to the contract. Firefighters have been working without a labor agreement for about a year since, in 2013, the city removed hiring provisions that had previously been in place for more than a decade. A letter from AFA president Bob Nicks noted that the “no” vote means firefighters will have to go two years without a pay increase, adding that they have been put in a no-win situation “with the city playing professional standards against the livelihood of the firefighters’ families.” In another letter thanking union members for the vote, Nicks wrote, “the city manager and fire chief are killing the very spirit that they claim to instill in all city employees … honor, duty, family and sacrifice. We cannot hold out forever. Over time, if our bosses do not care, if the current Council does not care, then we will work hard to seat a new Council that will not let our department be destroyed, one that will protect it and support it so great things can continue to happen.” AFA recently formed a special political action committee to support eight candidates running for City Council, and has raised about $200,000 toward that goal so far.

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