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The original item was published from 11/16/2011 3:57:00 PM to 12/17/2011 12:05:00 AM.

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Posted on: November 16, 2011

[ARCHIVED] Town and Firefighters Reach Agreement on Labor Contract

“I am thrilled to have negotiated an agreement that’s good for our firefighter/EMTs and good for the Town,” said Town Manager John Musante. “I salute union president Stephen Gaughan’s and Fire Chief Nelson’s leadership and spirit of collaboration, the firefighters’ recognition of the need for a contract that is responsible in these difficult fiscal times, and for working with us to develop changes to work schedules that we believe will further improve our already excellent patient care.”

Key provisions include:

1) A Three-Year Term: The contract covers the period July 1, 2010 through June 30, 2013.

2) A competitive wage package:
o July 1, 2010: 1% salary increase (retroactive).
o January 1, 2012: 2% salary increase.
o July 1, 2012: 2% salary increase.

3) Implementation of a new 24-hour shift schedule: The union leadership, Chief Nelson, and Town Manager John Musante are confident this will be a successful model in Amherst. The change to 24-hour shifts is a reorganization, not a change in hours worked per week. Firefighters still work a rotating schedule which averages out to 42 hours per week. There will be a one-year trial period with management and labor meeting at least quarterly to review results and tweak as necessary. Both sides have option to opt out after one year, but believe that is highly unlikely.

4) A Change in Shift Rotation Time from 8:00 a.m. to 7:00 a.m.: This is an ambulance call
data driven change so that fully rested Firefighter/EMTs are on shift prior to morning calls that
peak on average around 8:00 a.m.

"This agreement is a cooperative effort between Amherst Fire Fighters Local 1764, Chief Nelson, and Town Manager John Musante,” said Firefighters Union President Stephen Gaughan. “It addresses some concerns that the firefighters have had, and allows us to provide a better service to the citizens, business owners, and visitors. It does not answer the increased emergency traffic that we have experienced, though it is a statement that together we are moving in right direction. I am confident that as we progress, we can work together with Chief Nelson and Mr. Musante to address this issue."

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