Falls fire union agrees to pay employee share of WRS

Aug. 19, 2013

The Menomonee Falls Fire Department union agreed to pay their share into the Wisconsin Retirement System, according to a new collective bargaining agreement approved by the Village Board on Monday.

The International Association of Fire Fighters Local 3879 on Aug. 12 ratified a three-year agreement that affects employee pay, retirement contributions and work day schedule. When Act 10 went into affect two years ago, police and fire departments did not face any changes to their collective bargaining powers. Despite this, the union decided to align with all other non-represented village employees by following the non-represented employee health insurance plan design, as well as pay the full cost of the employee share of the WRS, said Village Manager Mark Fitzgerald.

"That means they will be taking on by contract that which Act 10 essentially gave them rights to avoid so our Fire Department now will be very much like the other non-represented employees in the village," he said.

Village President Randy Newman commended the union for their willingness to bring equality to village staff.

The agreement also changes the Fire Department employees' hours. Beginning Jan. 1, 2014, they will move to a 24-hour work day schedule; however, Fitzgerald said it's not the typical shifts where employees work 24 hours, then have 48 hours off of work. Full time employees will work three, 24-hour shifts with 24-hour breaks in between them, followed by having four days off. They will receive an additional eight days off throughout the year that are placed into a "leap schedule," which limits their hours to 53 hours on average per week.

Wages, retroactive to Jan. 1, 2013, will increase by 1 percent. Employees will receive a 1.5 percent wage increase in 2014 and a 2.5 percent increase in 2015.

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