Long Beach reaches tentative contract agreement with city firefighters

Long Beach has reached a tentative deal with the union representing firefighters, a day after the City Council approved a contract with police that calls for raises over the next three years.

The terms of the agreement with the Firefighters Association were not disclosed. The contract with the city’s 400 sworn Fire Department employees will first be put to a vote of union membership later this month, the city said.

In a written statement Wednesday evening, Mayor Robert Garcia described the agreement as a “fair and balanced contract that will allow us to recruit the best men and women to the department.”

Rex Pritchard, president of the firefighters union, said in a statement that the contract is fair and will help the department retain a diverse workforce “in a highly competitive Southern California labor market.”

If approved by the union, the contract would be voted on by the City Council in October.

The newly-approved police contract calls for raises of 4% in the first year followed by a 3% raise at the start of the third year and another 2.5% raise six months later. Sworn personnel will also contribute 12% of their paychecks to pension costs; previously, officers hired before 2013—which was most of the department—only contributed 9% of their salaries to pension costs, according to the union.

The contract also includes some other cash benefits like a $2,000 bonus in the second year in lieu of a raise and extra compensation for officers with advanced training.

One major added benefit will be up to 160 hours of paid leave available for employees after having or adopting a child. In the past, officers have often burned through sick time if they wanted to delay returning to work after having kids, according to the union.

There are roughly 875 sworn officers in the city police department.

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