Chico firefighters get raise after all

Despite pledging to take none, they don’t seal the deal

Months ago, when Chico municipal employees stepped up to reduce their raises in order to help cash-strapped City Hall, firefighters were among the most vocal in support. But since they did not do so by Tuesday (Oct. 30), each will get a 4 percent bump on next Thursday’s paycheck.

That was the raise for 2009 on the five-year contract approved by the City Council and IAFF Local 2734. The union announced in mid-October that it would forgo raises for two years (’09 and ’10) on top of pay reductions to maintain staffing levels.

But Teresa Campbell, the city’s human resources director, confirmed Tuesday morning that the sides had not reached an agreement, so the contracted raise is taking effect. That affects not only firefighters who work in 2009, but also ones who retire as of Dec. 30 2008.

“We’re actively working with the IAFF to get conclusion on this contract,” said Campbell, who’s also negotiating a new pact with police officers, whose labor agreement expired in 2007 and thus are not eligible for raises next week.