City reaches tentative labor agreement with firefighters that includes raises, parental leave

The Long Beach firefighters’ union will see raises, paid parental leave and an additional holiday under a tentative three-year agreement, the city announced Monday.

The agreement between the city and the Long Beach Firefighters Association also provides incentives and salary increases aimed at improving workforce productivity and an increase in pay for bilingual employees that can assist when language skills are needed.

“We are happy to have reached a tentative agreement with the Long Beach Firefighters Association, with equitable terms that will ensure that we attract the best men and women to our department,” Mayor Robert Garcia said in a statement. “I want to thank FFA leadership for their work in reaching an agreement that is fair and fiscally responsible.”

Union president Rex Pritchard said the contract will enable to department to “recruit and retain a diverse pool of firefighters in a very competitive marketplace.”

The tentative contract, which runs until September 2022, includes general salary increases of 3% in the first year, 3% at the start of the third year and 3% six months later and a bilingual pay increase from $0.80 to $1.20 per hour.

It also includes new skill pay in the “Hazmat First Responder Operations Pay” to incentivize training skills, and boosts for current skill pays in the areas of “Emergency Apparatus, Fire Prevention and Battalion Chief Certification.”

The union, which represents about 400 sworn employees, voted to ratify the tentative agreement in September. The agreement will go before the City Council on Oct. 22.

The total estimated cost for the three-year agreement is $10.17 million from the city’s General Fund and $10.26 million in other funds.

Long Beach has recently been working out labor contracts with almost a dozen employees unions. Last month, the city reached an agreement with the Long Beach Police Officers Association that also included raises and expanded parental leave.

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Kelly Puente is a general assignment and special projects reporter at the Long Beach Post. Her prolific reporting has taken her all over Southern California—even to the small Catalina Island town of Two Harbors. She is a Tiki mug collector and is currently pursuing a master’s degree in public policy and administration at Cal State Long Beach. Reach her at [email protected].