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Firefighters say city is ‘unfair’

The Evanston firefighters union says it plans to file unfair labor practice charges against the city.

The union has scheduled a news conference for 2 p.m. Tuesday at Fireman’s Park at Simpson Street and Maple Avenue to discuss the action.

The Evanston firefighters union says it plans to file unfair labor practice charges against the city.

The union has scheduled a news conference for 2 p.m. Tuesday at Fireman’s Park at Simpson Street and Maple Avenue to discuss the action.

The union has been upset with City Manager Wally Bobkiewicz’s decision to layoff three firefighters after the union took its demand for minimum staffing level guarantees to binding arbitration.

The city manager says that agreeing to such staffing guarantees would tie the city’s hands in dealing with its ongoing financial crisis.

An arbitrator last month gave Evanston police officers a new contract with the city that contained a no-layoff provision that applied only to this fiscal year. 

AFSCME, which represents most other city workers reached an agreement the City Council ratified earlier this month without receiving a no-layoff guarantee. 

Both of those contracts contain no pay hike this year and increases of roughly 2.5 percent for next year, several unpaid holidays and an increase in employee-paid health insurance premiums.

Firefighters union President Brian Scott says his union was willing to agree to similar terms — but held out for being able to set minimum staffing levels for the full term of the contract.

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