Winnipeg firefighters’ new collective agreement heading to Executive Policy Committee

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Winnipeg’s Executive Policy Committee is expected to vote this week to ratify a new contract with the city’s firefighters.

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The contract between the City and United Fire Fighters of Winnipeg (UFFW), Local 867 of the International Association of Fire Fighters, includes an average annual wage increase of 1.97 percent over the next three years.

It will also see $104,500 in additional funding each year for mental health support. That money would be coming from surplus money received during negotiations.

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“The city’s psychological injury claims (and attendant costs) have increased significantly in recent years, generating the highest claims costs within the Winnipeg Fire Paramedic Service (WFPS),” the public service wrote in its report.

“As a result, identifying effective measures to prevent and reduce psychological injury has been a matter of mutual concern for the City, WFPS and UFFW.”

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Both sides also agreed that the union would begin covering the entirety of President Alex Forrest’s salary and benefits instead of 40 percent.

Under the previous agreement, Forrest was placed on permanent union leave, but the city continued to pay 60 percent of his salary and benefits.

The deal raised eyebrows when it was revealed in 2018, with Mayor Brian Bowman saying he wanted it to be scrapped “as quickly as possible”.

Under the new agreement, 60 percent of the city’s contribution will go directly to the mental health fund.

Other changes would increase premiums from three percent to five percent for firefighters trained as paramedics after nine years of service, and require such members to retain that status for 12 years.

Firefighters will also get fire-resistant T-shirts instead of cotton ones.

The previous collective agreement expired at the end of 2020.

Executive policy committee meeting on Wednesday

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