Las Vegas Sun

December 7, 2016

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county government:

County, firefighters’ union reach agreement that includes cuts

After taking a lashing from an arbitrator who sided with Clark County negotiators earlier this year, the county's firefighter union ended contract talks after just a few months and took another base salary cut.

The stunning reversal of fortunes came after Clark County administrators, with support from county commissioners to make significant cuts in firefighter compensation, took firefighters to arbitration last year.

In a press release late Thursday, the county said negotiations this year "were completed in the shortest span of time in recent memory."

Though no one was saying it publicly, that undoubtedly happened because county firefighters have been vilified in the media. Not only did they lose their last round of negotiations in front of an arbitrator, but they are also under investigation for allegations of gaming the department's sick-leave system, something even the arbitrator talked about in his decision.

Contract changes include a 1.5 percent wage reduction, reductions in vacation and sick leave, a freeze on increases in longevity pay and tuition reimbursement, and reductions in remote pay and bonus leave for new employees.

The county said taxpayers will save $4.2 million in the coming fiscal year as a result of the contract, which would result in contract savings of about 3 percent. Combined with the contract settled in January for this fiscal year, savings over two years amount to $13.3 million annually, the county said in a statement.

The agreement between Clark County and Local 1908 of the International Association of Firefighters must be ratified by the County Commission and the union’s rank and file.

The negotiations, which began in February, were completed in the shortest span of time in recent memory, the county said. This contract will be in effect from July 1, 2011, through June 30, 2012.

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