The following press release was provided by Jason Silva, Chief Administrative Aide to the Office of Mayor Kimberley Driscoll:
The City of Salem has reached a new 3-year contract agreement with the Salem Firefighters Union Local 172. The agreement will run from FY12 through FY14 and includes a 6% increase in wages over the life of the contract.
The contract includes language that modifies sick leave buyback benefits and those who are eligible. Starting in January, new firefighters will not be eligible for any sick leave buyback at retirement. Instead, those employees will be permitted to buyback up to 2 days per year each January at a capped rate only if the employee has not used 50% of his or her sick leave time available.
The contract also includes language that offers a voluntary program to existing firefighters to buyback sick days before retirement. This provision allows firefighters to buyback a portion of their time sooner but at a lower rate than they would otherwise at retirement. These provisions will significantly reduce the city’s long term sick leave buyback costs which this year exceeds $700,000.
“I thank the Salem Firefighters Union for their cooperative approach to these negotiations,” stated Mayor Kimberley Driscoll. “This new contract provides fair and adequate wages along with modifications to sick leave buyback policies that will save money for the City and its taxpayers moving forward.”
Mayor Driscoll added, “In addition to sick leave buyback changes, the contract also requires employees to utilize direct deposit for their wages. These changes will lead to savings – both large and small – that are beneficial to the city.”