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City, Firefighters Union Reach Contract Agreement

By Mark Scott

Buffalo, NY – After working five years without a contract, Buffalo firefighters may soon be getting a raise. The Brown administration and the firefighters union have reached agreement on a tentative contract.

Mayor Byron Brown says the five-and-a-half year agreement calls for some cost-savings concessions on the part of firefighters in return for the pay raises.

"It lifts the wage freeze on the Buffalo firefighters," Brown said. "It provides a $5,000 increase to the base salary of firefighters with an average annual 3.4% raise for our firefighters."

The tentative contract would require newly hired firefighters to live in the city for 15 years. It calls for a single health insurance provider and removes a controversial insurance rider for cosmetic surgery. Time off for firefighters would be reduced.

The contract must be approved by both the Common Council and the Buffalo Fiscal Stability Authority.

The city's firefighters union says it's a fair contract and that it will recommend its ratification by rank-and-file firefighters.