Tuesday afternoon the firefighters union rejected the latest contract offer from the city, with a deadline looming at the end of the month. According to media reports 2,709 firefighters voted against the plan, which sought to reel-in vacation time, among other things. Just 207 members of the Houston Professional Fire Fighters Association Local 341 voted for the agreement.
According to the Houston Chronicle, which has been following the so-called brownouts, pulling fire trucks and ambulances out of daily operation to control overtime for firefighers taking time off:
That crisis was addressed in March with a temporary contract in which firefighters agreed to trade some freedom to take time off for a 2 percent raise and a $975 lump-sum payment. That deal expires June 30.
The city deal that was knocked down offered four percent raises by 2015. But that wasn't enough.
As KHOU reported today:
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Firefighters argue that they are already paid 20-percent less than where it should be to keep up with today's cost of living. They also said the deal would have forced them to sacrifice some benefits.
In March, the firefighter's union reached a tentative agreement on an interim contract that would avoid station brown-outs, which were proposed to solve an $8.5 million overtime shortfall.