SAN JOSE (AP/KCBS) – San Jose officials and city firefighters have reached a tentative deal that would cut firefighters’ pay and benefits by 10 percent for the next two years in exchange for no additional layoffs.
KCBS’ Matt Bigler Reports:
The deal was announced by city officials on Thursday. Jeff Welch, president of the firefighters union, says firefighters are making sacrifices in the deal but are happy with it.
The city’s 647 firefighters are expected to ratify the deal over the weekend. The City Council is expected to approve it on Tuesday.
“They’re taking a great deal of leadership, making some sacrifices,” declared San Jose Mayor Chuck Reed. “These are serious and substantive reductions in pay and benefits that they’re taking in order to save jobs for their coworkers and protect the people of San Jose.”
The council and Reed are seeking 10 percent cuts from all of the city’s 11 employee unions to help close a $105 million budget gap.
“The firefighters are the first to agree to a contract, we’re still negotiating with the police union and all the other unions, hoping that they’ll take the lead from the firefighters and help us save jobs and save services by taking a 10% reduction in pay and benefits,” Reed praised the firefighters union.
Reed warned that times were still tough in San Jose.
“The 10 percent will not be enough to bring back the firefighters that we had to lay off last year because last year we had a budget shortfall, this year it’s just as big and just as bad,” he acknowledged. “But it will save the jobs of the people who are on the fire force right now and that’s really important.”
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