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updated: 9/21/2012 5:30 PM

Aurora, firefighters reach contract agreement

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Halfway through the time governed by a three-year contract between the city of Aurora and International Association of Firefighters Local 99, the two sides reached an agreement that gives firefighters yearly raises but changes their insurance plan.

The contract is retroactive to Jan. 1, 2011, and runs until Dec. 31, 2013.

Union membership, which includes fire department personnel from the rank of firefighter through lieutenant, get a 1.25 percent for 2011 and 2.5 percent raises for 2012 and 2013.

Under the new health insurance plan, the union's 161 members will no longer be able to contribute a set percentage of their salaries regardless of what type of coverage they select.

Instead, they will pay a percentage of the premium related to their chosen coverage plan. The city, which is self-insured, determines the premium by dividing how much it pays in claims for each insurance plan by the number of employees insured by that plan.

"We made some changes to our insurance. That's something the city certainly wanted and we were able to come to an agreement," said Aurora fire Lt. Toby Gill, the union's president. "It just puts a little more ownership on the membership to be a little more selective in their choice for medical care."

In a news release, Mayor Tom Weisner said he is pleased the parties reached an agreement that "is fair to everyone."

Gill said both sides are satisfied with the agreement. Negotiations started about two years ago, and because more than half of the contract term is over, the union expects to begin discussions with the city for its next contract soon.

"We'll be right back at the table in 2013," Gill said.

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