Fairfield firefighters agree to new contract after 2-year dispute, but issues remain
Firefighters in Fairfield have agreed to a new contract, marking the end of a dispute that lasted more than two years. But the online public meeting to approve that contact was not without heated arguments.
After two years struggling to reach a contract with firefighters — and binding arbitration — Monday night's online RTM meeting reflected the turmoil in the town.
The union president said the contract settlement is lacking in some ways, particularly staffing.
"The main protection of having more firefighters out there is for the people who live here, who they're supposed to protect," said William Tuttle, Fairfield Fire Fighters Association IAFF 1426.
He believes the union gained a greater raise than it could have obtained through negotiation alone.
"Their wage proposal went from 1.25% a year to an average of 3.75 a year. That's 300% increase, that's not because they wanted to that's because they were afraid of losing," Tuttle said.
After a chaotic hour of arguments, officials got on board.
While tensions remain, the fire chief and union president agree the vote represents progress.
"These issues are by no means settled, certainly the contract is, but the larger issue is, but the larger issues are the ones that will take a couple of years," said Fire Chief Denis McCarthy.
The fire chief said issues of how many firefighters are needed where will be addressed by a stud. The union president said he thinks it's just a stalling tactic.