OSWEGO – The Port City and the Oswego Fire Department began a new chapter on Monday night.
At the final Common Council meeting of 2018, Mayor Billy Barlow presented a proposed deal with firefighters to the City Council.
It was unanimously approved.
The new agreement takes firefighters through 2022 and wraps up the last open city bargaining unit contract to be settled.
The contract ends a nearly two-year impasse between the city and firefighters, after the 2016 cuts to the department to meet city financial obligations.
“This is an unconventional deal. It was reached without using legal counsel and the courts to go back and forth,” the mayor said. “When other communities are forced to resolve disagreements in court and talking through their attorneys, we have been able to resolve our differences by working together.”
The deal is effective Jan. 1, 2017 and run through Dec. 31, 2022.
It includes wage adjustments as follows:
• Effective Jan. 1, 2017 – a 2% wage adjustment
• Effective Jan. 1, 2018 – a 3% wage adjustment
• Effective Jan. 1, 2019 – a 3% wage adjustment
• Effective Jan. 1, 2020 – No adjustment
• Effective Jan. 1, 2021 – a 4.75% wage adjustment
• Effective Jan. 1, 2022 – a 4.75% wage adjustment
“We are pleased with the agreement and the process resolving our differences leaves me more optimistic for how we move the department into the future,” said Oswego Firefighters Local 126 President John Geraci.
“You can accomplish extraordinary things when you talk to people and not through people,” said Fire Chief Randy Griffin. “This closes a chapter and I look forward to continuing to move the department ahead.”
“The fire department has been working under a contract hat expired at the end of 2016,” the mayor said. “It’s exciting to get this done.”
He credited the hard of Griffin and Geraci for helping craft a deal that is fair to the union as well as the city, he said.
The relationship has change between the city, under Barlow’s administration, and the fire department, he said, adding that “it’s changed for the better. There’s quite a bit of trust that’s built up. It speaks volumes to Chief Griffin’s leadership over there. We’ve come a long way; we still have a way to go but we get better each and every day.”