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Firefighters Receive Successful Results from Arbitration

Wednesday, December, 23, 2015


Arbitration recently resulted in Cornwell firefighters seeing a raise of nearly $6000 in the upcoming year. The decision was made by labor arbitrator William Kaplan, who awarded the firefighters the raise after months of negotiations between the city and the Cornwell Professional Fire Fighters Association.


The salary increase equals about 7.5% for the past three years. It does not take into account overtime, but it pushes the highest earning firefighters to more than $90,000 annually. Those with less experience will also see an increase in pay.


Most firefighters accumulate several thousands of dollars in overtime pay each year, too.


The award is significantly higher than what the Cornwall paramedics settled for this past July. They will receive only a 1.9% raise per year during that same period. The Cornwall police agreed to a 6.75% increase over three years.


The firefighter’s increase in pay is backdated to include 2013, 2014, and 2015. The union had requested an 8.6% increase over those three years.


In addition to the increase in salary, there was also a ruling by the arbitrator concerning 24 hour shifts. This is the norm in most communities that have a full-time fire department. This had been requested by the union, essentially giving them a clean sweep of requests in the arbitration hearing.


The arbitrator rejected the request by the firefighters that they receive health expenses benefits at age 65 for retirees.


Both the city and the firefighter association’s nominees on the board dissented the decision, and also disputed five weeks of vacation following 16 years of service.