The City of Evanston and the firefighters union local announced today that they’ve reached agreement on all outstanding contract issues.

In a joint statement, the parties said the union will recommend that its members ratify the settlement in voting Aug. 30 through Sept. 1 and the city staff will present the agreement to the City Council for a vote on Sept. 13.

The City of Evanston and the firefighters union local announced today that they’ve reached agreement on all outstanding contract issues.

In a joint statement, the parties said the union will recommend that its members ratify the settlement in voting Aug. 30 through Sept. 1 and the city staff will present the agreement to the City Council for a vote on Sept. 13.

The union and city negotiators declined to discuss details of the agreement except to say that the union made economic concessions “in recognition of the city’s difficult economic circumstances” and that the city agreed to reinstate three firefighters laid-off on Jully 31.

The new two-year agreement also calls for the union to meet with the fire chief in search of “good faith efforts to conserve future costs” while maintaining proper fire/rescue emergency response for the city.

The union had previously called for arbitration over its demand that the city give it control over fire staffing levels, and each side had filed unfair labor practice charges against the other.

Bill Smith is the editor and publisher of Evanston Now.

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4 Comments

  1. What’s the big secret?

    I thought city negotiators work on behalf of Evanstonians. So why did they refuse to disclose the terms of the agreement with the Evanston Fire Union?

    Can you imagine someone negotiating on behalf of your interests but refuse to tell you the terms of agreement? What’s the big secret?

    Of course, the reinstatement of the three laid off firefighters means that not one Evanston Firefighter had lost their job this year in these hard economic times – the fourth year of an ongoing severe recession. Yet, city employees in other city departments did lose their jobs as did millions in the private sector – state unemployment is holding near 10 percent.

    Most likely what happened is the Evanston Fire Union agreed to drop its lawsuit if the city rehires the three laid off firefighters. Let’s recap: The city, deep in debt, cuts the library budget and decides to close the branch libraries.

    The unelected Library Board votes itself authority to create a new library tax without ever holding a public hearing. So no budget cuts to the library. Nary a peep from the Council or the mayor who appoints members to the Library Board and who has the power to stop the Board’s power play.

    The city, deep in debt, lays off three firefighters and the Evanston Fire Union responds by asking for arbitration and filing an unfair labor lawsuit against the city. And now the three laid off firefighers have their jobs back and the Evanston Fire Union made some unannounced economic concessions.

    Moral of story – the city has no backbone and is incapable of making difficult budgetary decisions. Does the City Council and our tough- as- nails city negotiators think next year’s budget will be all rosy and bright? The budget scenario will be worse next year. There will be only two alternatives – more layoffs or raise taxes. Who’s betting it’s the latter.

  2. No secret……

    the city is obligated to pay its pension debts. plain and simple. it is also shocking to me that some of you evanstonians advocate cutting of fire and emergency response employees. these public servants have the toughest jobs on the planet. they desreve everything they earn economically. frankly, i dont think they are compensated enough.

    can’t win with some of the people on this board. if your house burned down you would blame the city for cutting 3 firemen.

    1. No secret? pension are not likely to be paid in full

      The city is not likely to ever be able to fund the real pension debt.  You better take a look at the problem.   The $174 million debt is most likely close to $300 million if they used real numbers.

      The state pension debt while they are telling you is 74 billion, some suggest is more like $200  billion – state budget is 34 billion and they are in the hole right now $13 billion.

      Just like those who are obligated to pay there mortgages, who have now defaulted, government is going to change the rules – down the road – the employees will all get dimes and nickels on the dollars of what they paid.

      Listening to council members, and union members at the meeting is comical. Council members are discussing 1/2 point. on interest. The reality is they are never going to fund it fully or will the employees that retire later get what they were promised.

      This is not about residents houses burning down.  The city may be face in a year or two with closing down a fire station like it or not, yes there  will be a greater risk, but the reality is the taxpayers may not beable to bear the higher cost of excessive tax increases, if the current conditions in the economy continue.

      While fire services are important, other city services need to be provided,  You can not stop picking up the trash, it would quickly become a major health hazard, far greater than housings burning down.

      1. Agreed. All city services

        Agreed.  All city services need to remain intact. not just fire/emergency services, but all services. It’s something we have to pay for. simple as that

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