GovernmentThe White Plains Examiner

White Plains Firefighters to Receive Raises as Part of New CBA

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White Plains firefighters will receive six percent more in pay over the next two fiscal years as part of the latest collective bargaining agreement.

The Common Council unanimously approved the contract June 3 with the Professional Firefighters Association Local 274, effective July 1, 2024, through June 30, 2026, adding three percent to each employment step within the salary schedule both this upcoming year and the next one.

No debate transpired on the ordinance executing the contract. Councilmen John Martin and Richard Payne were absent, but reportedly offered consent to votes in the affirmative.

“I want to recognize that our firefighters are heroes who run into burning buildings,” said Councilman Jeremiah Frei-Pearson. “And I’m very proud to be part of a city that recognizes that and treats them fairly.”

The current three-year agreement, obtained by Examiner Media, expires June 30. It stipulated 2.25 percent, 2.5 percent and 3 percent raises subsequently each year. Hands were not shaken until late 2022.

A three-year contract preceded the current one with a 1/4-percent hike for the first year and three percent hikes each of the final two years, according to Examiner archives.

In August 2018, The Journal News identified an annual report authored by the Empire Center, a conservative think tank based in Albany, ranking White Plains fourth in terms of highest average pay in the state for fire department employees at $109,089.

The department is comprised of approximately 150 employees, said Martin in a previous telephone interview. Next year’s department budget is about $34 million, or 40% of the public safety department’s entire budget, according to numbers presented by city heads to the council in April. There are vacancies each year due to retirements.

Next year’s budget has fire department salaries costing the city $17.215 million, which includes two new firefighters, under the direction of Acting Fire Chief Claudio Petriccione and eventually a new permanent chief following the recent retirement of Douglas McMath.

The budgetary impact of the future raises was not immediately available.

The union, part of the International Association of Firefighters, is one of four in the city. Three of the four have agreed to new contracts. The other two are the Police Benevolent Association and Civil Service Employees Association. The only one without a new agreement is Teamsters, the smallest in size.

According to Martin, union and non-unionized employees have received similar raises. The “majority” of the approximately 800 full-time employees belong to a union, the councilman said.

In a statement read aloud at the meeting by Councilman Justin Brasch, Martin called the CBA with firefighters a “fair settlement” and pointed out how reaching agreement with three of the four unions “gives us some degree of budgetary stability” in knowing what to expect in terms of future costs.

The ordinance states the increases will be covered through the reserves.

The terms include revised sections to reflect how “members may work more than 28 and up to 34 consecutive hours pursuant to the early relief practice and may work other segments of additional hours as approved by the chief” and how welfare fund contributions will see annual increases of $25 each of the next two years.

John Callahan, city chief of staff and corporation counsel, and Doreen Rich, assistant corporation counsel, represented and signed the agreement on behalf of the municipality. Michael Ingham and Donald Henry negotiated for the union.


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