Havre Daily News
Havre Mayor Bob Rice and the city firefighters' union local president inked the dotted line on a two-year labor contract Tuesday.
The agreement between the city and the emergency personnel at the Havre Fire Department gives workers a 3 percent raise this year and a 3 percent raise next year. The contract also increased overtime pay in certain situations and clarified a few issues.
"Everything went really well," International Association of Fire Fighters Local 601 president Joe Lamphier said Tuesday. "It was a fairly calm negotiation year. We got a raise and cleaned up the (contract) language."
Lamphier and City Council member Terry Schend, who chairs the Labor Relations Committee, said the emergency workers got the extra percent raise in the contract's second year because, unlike other city departments, they do not receive allowances for clothing and other items.
"They had no other costs in their contract," Schend said.
Department personnel will also get a boost in overtime pay on certain calls. When workers are called in for emergencies or for ambulance transports to Great Falls, they will be paid overtime for the first three hours. Under the previous contract, only the first two hours were paid at time and a half.
Union and city negotiators clarified language in the contract that requires the city to provide workers with a meal if they have been on an emergency scene for four hours or more.
They also rewrote a portion of the contract that gives workers a pay raise when they reach a certain level of EMT certification. The clarification was needed because the state has changed its certification categories, Lamphier said.
At a Havre City Council meeting Monday night, Schend asked for a vote on the fire and public works departments' contracts. The City Council approved the fire department's contract, but did not vote on the public works contract, because it has not been completed.
City negotiators and public works union representatives have come to a tentative agreement, but some of the contract's language still needs to be added. Schend and Rice said the public works contract would be up for a vote at the next City Council meeting, set for Oct. 3.
Schend said Tuesday he has been told the police union will meet on Sept. 29 to vote on a tentative agreement the city had reached with the union representatives.