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posted: 8/21/2013 5:51 PM

St. Charles reaches new deal with fire union

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St. Charles' firefighters will receive raises the next three years under a contract aldermen approved this week. The raises are on the lower end compared to other deals recently agreed to.

The new contract is retroactive to May 1, but the raises are the same for each of the three years.

Firefighters will receive 2.25 percent raises each year. Firefighters who also serve as paramedics will receive 2.75 percent raises each year. Lieutenants and captains will receive 2 percent raises.

In comparison, the police patrol union reached a deal with aldermen in June for 2.75 percent raises in each of the next three years. The city's electrical workers are in the middle of a contract that gives them 3 percent annual raises.

However, there are also step increases included in the new firefighters contract. A starting firefighter/paramedic is paid $57,526. At six months, that salary increases to $61,950. By then end of the first year on the job, that same firefighter/paramedic earns $66,377. It takes five years to earn the maximum salary of $88,501.

By the end of the new contract in 2016, a starting firefighter/paramedic will earn $60,733 the first day on the job. At the end of the first year, that salary goes to $70,077. The new maximum salary, reached at the five year mark, will be $93,435.

The raises were anticipated in the 2013-14 budget, which started in May. The budget calls for expenses of $25.67 million for public health and safety, which includes fire and police. It was the only area of the budget to increase this fiscal year.

Aldermen approved the new contract this week without any questions or comments.

Human Resources Director Kathy Livernois thanked the union and the city's negotiation team "for working together to come to an agreement and a mutually acceptable one."

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