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updated: 5/5/2011 11:48 PM

Lombard firefighters get a raise

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Lombard firefighters will be getting three 1.75 percent raises and a 2 percent raise in the next four years after the village board Thursday night unanimously approved a contract between the firefighters union and the village.

Lombard Fire Chief Mike Torrence and firefighters union President Greg Orlando both praised the other side for working together to reach an agreement everyone can be happy with.

"Basically, we're proud of how both parties worked," Orlando said.

The new contract limits the number of 48-hour shifts each firefighter or firefighter/paramedic can work to three within a calendar month. Before the change, there was no limit on the number of "48s" a fire employee could work, Orlando said.

"There's a problem sometimes with potential sleep deprivation," Orlando said. "We get a lot of calls in Lombard."

In fact, for the past few years, the department has received more calls for service than almost all departments in DuPage County, including about 7,000 calls in 2009.

The contract will allow the fire department to continue providing the same level of service to the Lombard residents who make all those calls, Orlando said.

It also prohibits the village from subcontracting the work usually done by union members if subcontracting would result in the layoff of any union member.

Torrence said he is satisfied with the contract, which will go into effect June 1 for the department's 47 firefighters. It's set to last until May 31, 2015.

The contract was reached after only two bargaining sessions between union leadership and village representatives -- a relatively quick time frame by the standards of both groups.

"I feel it's important to have dialogue," Torrence said. "We came to an agreement that's good for both sides."