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SJ Firefighters Vote Against Paycuts

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SAN JOSE, Calif. (KCBS)_ The city of San Jose and its firefighters are still not seeing eye to eye over contract terms.

With firefighters turning down a pay and benefits package, something new may be around the corner.

The firefighters voted overwhelmingly against the city’s proposed nine percent wage and benefit cut, which means 49 recently laid off firefighters would not be returning to work anytime soon.

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There are no new contract talks scheduled between the city and firefighters.

Mayor Chuck Reed commented on what would happen next.

“If we can’t negotiate a deal, we will be in binding arbitration in November in which case an outside person, not accountable for the people of San Jose will make decisions about our budget,” says Reed.

Firefighter and union leader Soren Coates explains an outside arbitrator would be on a panel along with a city and union representative.

“The arbitrator, as per the rules of arbitration under the city charter, has to take into consideration the financial stability of the city,” says Coates.

The city points out a single firefighter in San Jose cost the city an average of $180,000 in pay and benefits each year.

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