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City of Moncton and firefighters agree to new collective agreement


February 29, 2016

MONCTON – The City of Moncton and the IAFF Local 999 representing firefighters reached a new collective agreement for the contract period of January 2016 to December 31, 2019. The  agreement will see firefighters earn an11.88% wage increase over the four years. 

This contract is similar to the wage settlement negotiated by the City of Fredericton and its firefighters in 2015.

“We appreciate and respect our firefighters and value the work they do to protect the residents of Moncton”, stated Mayor George LeBlanc. “The last two collective agreements with our firefighters have not been reached through collective bargaining, but rather through an arbitration process which has led to settlements that we, as Council, would not have voluntarily agreed to. This process has brought about an endless cycle of catch up with other New Brunswick fire departments. Council was therefore advised to avoid the arbitration process because the outcome would likely have been the same or worse.”

Under New Brunswick legislation, there are no strike or lockout rights for firefighters.  When a collective agreement cannot be negotiated between the parties, it is settled via interest arbitration, a third party process intended to replicate what the parties would have otherwise negotiated. 

For his part, City Manager Jacques Dubé states: “The City continues to be concerned that this wage settlement is higher than it would be negotiated with other bargaining units who have the right to strike, but with the City of Fredericton’s negotiated agreement in 2015 with its firefighters resulting in 11.88% wage increase over the four years, we knew our outcome would be the same or worse if we went through the costly arbitration process.  While this negotiated settlement is the best outcome for Moncton under the circumstances, it remains undesirable and is inconsistent with fair settlements reached with other bargaining groups.”

Despite coming to an agreement without going through the arbitration process, the City of Moncton still maintains the continued high wage settlements reached through this process are out of hand. Arbitration for public safety employees undermines the bargaining process and new legislated guidelines need to be adopted so that firefighters and taxpayers are treated fairly.

The Cities of New Brunswick Association (through City Managers and Municipal Sector HR Managers) has been advocating a change to the Industrial Relations Act as this Act provides arbitrators the freedom to impose decisions with no regard for the economic circumstances of the cities.  Recently, the Province of New Brunswick has been working on a framework to make changes to the existing legislation. 

“We are encouraged that the Province of New Brunswick is taking some action to change the legislation. The cities are currently researching the implications of this new potential legislation, but at this point, it is difficult to say whether it will achieve wage settlements more in-line with other bargaining units. We want assurances that they (unions) receive fair wage settlements according to what the arbitration process was originally intended to do, which is to mirror collective bargaining”, concludes Dubé.

The following table demonstrates the wage increase from the end of the 2008 agreement until the end of the new agreement on December 31, 2019:

 

 Dec 31, 2008

Dec 31, 2015

Dec. 31,2019 (end of
the new agreement)
 

Total percentage
increase
in 
11 yrs.

First class firefighter 

 

$58,858

 

$78,400

 

$88,124

 

50 %

 

Lieutenant

 

$61,212

 

$81,536

 

$91,649

 

50 %

 

Captain

 

$64,744

 

$86,240

 

$96,936

 

50 %

 

Division Chief

 

$70,041

 

$93,296

 

$104,867

 

50 %


*These are salary dollars and do not include overtime, service pay or statutory holiday pay.

Other notes:
- IAAF members represent 111 firefighters in fire operations, fire prevention and training divisions. 
 - Four of the past five collective agreements in Moncton have been settled through interest arbitration.

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Media Contact:

Isabelle LeBlanc
Director, Communications 
City of Moncton
506-853-3592/ Isabelle.leblanc@moncton.ca