February 2, 2015
By Joe Maniscalco
New York, NY – After more than three years without a contract, the Uniformed Fire Officers Association [UFOA] has ratified a seven-year deal with the city which gives its 2,700 members an 11 percent raise.
In okaying the deal, UFOA members, which include lieutenants, captains, battalion chiefs, deputy chiefs, medical officers, chief medical officers, supervising fire marshals and administrative fire marshals, did one percent better than their civilian colleagues in municipal labor.
“The administration awarded one-percent more than the civilian pattern, and I believe it was because of the dangerous work that we do,” UFOA President Jake Lemonda told LaborPress.
UFOA members had been without a contract since March 20, 2011. The newly-ratified agreement is based on a tentative bargain reached last December between the city and the Uniformed Superior Officers Coalition.
Half of that coalition has now inked deals with the city. The remaining half is expected to soon follow suit.
An overwhelming majority of the UFOA membership supported the long-awaited contract. About 87 percent of the 2,727 ballots sent out were answered. More than 82 percent voted in favor of the contract, which kicks in retroactively.
“We’ve always had good returns, but this was historically among the highest returns we’ve ever had,” Lemonda said.
From the start, former UFOA President Al Hagan and the rest of the Uniformed Superior Officers Coalition, felt the need to “control their own destiny,” and not have the negotiation process go to an arbitrator.
Lemonda called Labor Relations Commissioner Bob Linn a “tough and seasoned negotiator.”
“I did find that he was open and listened to our concerns,” the UFOA chief said.
Lemonda further applauded both the entire UFOA membership, and the rest of his executive board.
“It’s an arduous task to bring a contract to settlement,” the 57-year-old Lemonda said. “But I think the process worked well for us.”