Buffalo Firefighters Say City to Present Contract Proposal Thursday

11:41 PM, Mar 19, 2013   |    comments
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BUFFALO, N.Y. -- The union representing Buffalo's firefighters announced Tuesday afternoon that the city promises to present a fair contract proposal to the firefighters this Thursday.

The City of Buffalo and the firefighters union have not been able to agree on a new contract for the firefighters since 2002.

Friday, union members and supporters took to the streets protesting going without a contract for eleven years. Also on Friday, Buffalo Mayor Byron Brown told us that the city would be sitting down with the union this week to negotiate.

"It is my understanding there is another negotiating session on Monday," said Brown.

"They have scheduled one for this Monday, but we're not holding our breath because the last four we've had, they've cancelled," said union vice president Thomas Barrett.

According to the city and the firefighters union, that meeting did take place on Monday as scheduled.

Tuesday, the union issued a statement saying in part, "The City Negotiators promised to present a proposal for a contract on Thursday, March 21." The statement also said, "Local 282 hopes the City returns on Thursday with a fair offer as promised."

While Barrett declined our request for an on camera interview Tuesday, he spoke with us at Friday's protest.

"Please negotiate a fair contract. That's all we want. We don't want to be paid outrageously. We just deserve what other firefighters in New York State are being paid," said Barrett.

The union says it has not received a contract proposal from the city since 2008, and that the majority of the union's members rejected that offer because concessions were too severe compared to the raises offered. Friday, Mayor Brown said the city has made several contract proposals since 2008.

"We have offered several contracts to our firefighters in 2007, 2008. We have made numerous contract proposals in 2012 and '13, and I wonder if these proposals are actually getting to the rank and file membership," said Brown.

The spokesperson for the City of Buffalo also did not want to be interviewed on camera Tuesday, but told us over the phone that as a general practice the city will not negotiate in public. He did confirm that there is a meeting between the city and union representatives Thursday.

The union gives credit to those who protested last week, saying the protests helped their cause.

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