By Jerome Tharaud/Havre Daily Newsfirstname.lastname@example.org
The union representing 15 Havre firefighters has requested a two-year contract with a 5 percent across-the-board raise for each of those two years.
The union's contract proposal was offered to the Havre City Council's Labor Relations Committee by the firefighters' negotiating committee last week.
The firefighters' current one-year contract ends June 31. In August the firefighters requested a 4 percent across-the-board pay raise for this year. In November they settled for a 3 percent, one-year pay raise.
The union also is asking the city to increase the number of hours of overtime pay firefighters receive if they get called in to work while off-duty. Off-duty firefighters now receive a minimum of two hours of overtime if called back to work, said Dave Krezelak, an engineer in the department who chairs the four-person negotiations committee of Local 601 of the International Association of Firefighters. Any time worked beyond two hours is paid at the regular wage, he said.
The union's proposal would increase that to three hours, he said.
The union's proposal also would provide $50 a month to every firefighter who gets trained as a hazardous materials technician. Under the current contract, firefighters who undergo the 40-hour, week-long training session are not compensated.
Five firefighters have completed the training session, which teaches skills like how to work in full protective gear, Krezelak said. All five received the training in the last two years, he said.
The firefighters' proposal does not mention health insurance. This year the city is paying for half of the 45 percent health insurance premium increase for the firefighters. That means it now picks up about two-thirds of a family's total premium and about 87 percent of an individual's health coverage.
If the contract language regarding health insurance stays the same, the city would pay what it does now plus half of any premium increase, negotiations committee member Joe Lamphier said today.
The next meeting between the city and the firefighters has not yet been scheduled, Krezelak said.