COVINGTON, KY – Tuesday evening, the Board of Commissioners approved a multi-year working agreement with the Covington Professional Firefighters, Local Union No. 38. The agreement is through the end of 2018.
Contract adjustments include annual wage increases, establishment of wage standards, hours and other conditions of employment, in an effort to add to the City’s competitive edge in recruiting and retaining the highest quality of firefighters.
Mayor Joseph U. Meyer stated, “Local 38 and the Covington Firefighters are full partners with the city in providing high quality essential services throughout the city. We’re pleased to have reached this agreement. It represents a “win-win” for the firefighters and the city’s taxpayers.”
Pay for Covington firefighters was increased with a lump sum payment for services rendered, and two annual raises through the end of 2018.
The Covington Fire Department and City Administration worked closely gathering information from various Northern Kentucky fire departments to assess and determine competitive wage values.
Local Union No. 38 President Mike Lee stated, “It’s been a long process, but we’re very thankful for the Board of Commissioners’ approval. I respect the opinion of those who voted against the agreement, but I am glad we are able to reach a resolution.
“I hope moving forward that our contract does not expire and that we can continue working with the City to achieve our combined goals in a timely manner.
“I greatly appreciate the hard work of the City and the negotiation team to achieve this agreement. Chief Mathew was instrumental throughout this process and I thank him for his time and those on our team to achieve this success.”
Prior to the Board of Commissioners’ approval, the membership of Local 38 voted approval of tentative agreements made with the Local 38 and City bargaining teams.
Interim City Manager Loren Wolff stated, “It took a lot of hard work and collaboration to come to this agreement. The City would like to thank the negotiation team led by Dr. Michael Carrell, Fire Chief Dan Mathew and Assistant City Manager/City Solicitor Frank Warnock.”
The agreement includes mandating that new hires are paramedics as a condition of employment. This process will continue until a maximum number of 60 active Paramedics are hired and available to the Fire Department to serve as paramedics.
Covington Fire Chief Dan Mathew stated, “In hiring only certified paramedics, the City is raising its bar on medical care provided throughout Covington. This is a great benefit for both the citizens and the firefighters, setting a high level standard for candidates when they apply.
“Thanks to these additions, we are able to continue recruiting highly qualified applicants and offer a competitive rate of pay when they come in the door which is an overall win for everyone.”
Members hired after January 16, 2016, with a valid Kentucky Paramedic license must obtain their current and active Kentucky Paramedic license with the Kentucky Board of Emergency Medical Services (KBEMS) for a minimum of ten years as a condition of employment.
Anti-discrimination language was added to the agreement. A new drug testing policy will be implemented. Provisions related to new state laws concerning union dues were addressed.
Also featured within the contract, firefighters from other agencies have the opportunity to apply for lateral entry into the Covington Fire Department. This allows for firefighters with years of experience and completed training certification to transition into the Covington Fire Department at their appropriate Grade Level.
For a candidate to be qualified as lateral entry candidate, he or she must possess the qualifications for the successful completion/transition of IFSAC Firefighter 1 and 2 and IFSAC Hazardous Materials Awareness and Operations certifications in the Commonwealth of Kentucky.