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Firefighters union may settle for improved benefits, no pay raises

Posted on April 15th, 2011 Read time: 1 minutes

The Menlo Park, California Firefighters Association (MPFA), a union that has been entrenched in contract negotiations with district officials since 2008, may be forced to settle, according to The Mercury News.

Union members were originally offered a 20 percent raise that would be implemented over four years, which they refused. As the economy gradually worsened, the district's offers became less appealing, until the contract workers filed an unfair labor practice charge with the California Public Employment Labor Relations Board.

Terms of the latest contract offer would add $350 a month to a firefighter's flexible health benefits fund, and increase the contribution to his or her retirement to $442 a month. If approved, the changes would take effect May 1.

Richard Bolanos, outside negotiating attorney for the fire district, told the media outlet that the new offer will avoid the roll-up costs of a salary raise, while providing a benefit increase to employees.

John Wurdinger, vice president of the MPFA Local 2400, explained to The Almanac that firefighters are just looking for the respect they deserve.

"I'm not evil. I'm just a fireman," he said told the news source. "I'm the guy who gets your cat out of the tree or performs CPR on your grandmother."

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