As is normal practices within Management/ Bargaining Unit relationships, especially in the area of negotiations, details are not discussed in the public forum until an agreement has been reached. This is usually done in an effort to not derail the hopes of reaching an amicable settlement.
Erie Fire Fighters Local 293 has, on at least 3 occasions, formulated concession packages that were equal to or greater than the Health Care contribution that was requested. The last of which was presented in September and included the Firefighters contributing 2% of our wages. of course we asked for an contract extension with a minor pay adjustment. This offer was completely and totally negotiable. We may have contributed more or accepted less. Unfortuantely, we never were given the chance to explore these potential savings as the Mayor flat out REJECTED this offer.
Furthermore, there was never any indication that our refusing to participate in this "voluntary" program would result in such drastic fire protection cuts. Also, if job stabilty hinged upon participation, why were none of the other City Departments cut to the bone as was Fire for refusing to play along?