HOUSTON, TX – The contract saga between mayor Annise Parker and Houston firefighters seemed to be simmering down with a recent compromise offer.
But a vote by the Houston Professional Fire Fighters Association is fanning the flames of discord yet again.
The 30-month contract offered firefighters a 4% raise in exchange for more restrictions on scheduling days off.
2,709 firefighters, or 93% of union members, voted to reject it.
“The concessions were too high, the restrictions on holidays and vacations,” said Houston Professional Fire Fighters Association president Bryan Sky-Eagle. “Firemen are just like everyone else, they want to spend time with their family. Paying for your own pay raise is clearly not acceptable.”
So what happens now?
According to Houston Mayor Annise Parker, “It’s the responsibility of the union leadership to get a sense of what their members want to see in the contract and touch base with them.”
In the meantime, an interim contract will still be in effect.
The mayor’s office and firefighters were aiming to get a contract locked in before the start of the new fiscal year July 1st.
That timeline is quickly running out, though firefighter leadership still feels confident…sort of.
“I’m cautiously optimistic that if I can get the information from the firefighters, bring that back to the city, that we can work a deal to stop the brownouts and still get the firefighters a fair contract,” Sky-Eagle said.
Looks like it’s back to the negotiating table, as this hot topic continues to burn.