Firefighters, city agree to new contract

Updated: 02/24/2014 5:31 PM | Created: 02/24/2014 12:53 PM
By: Stuart Dyson, KOB Eyewitness News 4

It’s been almost four years, but at last Albuquerque firefighters have a pay raise – sort of.

The new contract firefighters overwhelmingly approved includes a 2.5 percent raise – but that makes up for a 2.5 percent pay cut that firefighters and other city employees received back in 2011, when the recession-strangled city was looking at a potential deficit of $90 million. Nevertheless, firefighters approved the contract by a 94 percent vote.

“Fire fighters are not braggadocious,” said union president Diego Arencon. “We don’t complain much either. We do our job, we’re committed to the community, and this is obviously a setback. We’re patient, we can wait, we have very active members and we’re looking forward to working with the mayor in the future.”

It’s a one year deal, with a $1.8 million price tag, and firefighters will hope to do better a year from now. Mayor Richard Berry said he’s good with that.

“We have a great foundation to move forward as the economy starts to improve,” Berry said. “I think a lot of our goals are the same. We want the Albuquerque Fire Department to be a great place to work, to build a career and take care of your family.”

Arencon said raises will help recruit and retain firefighters. Drivers and lieutenants will get an additional two percent raise as an incentive to advance through the ranks and take on more responsibilities.

The police contract is a different story. APD officers turned down a contract proposal late last year. A new one will be under negotiation this spring.

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