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Buffalo firefighters agree to new contract, ending decade-long dispute

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WBFO News photo by Eileen Buckley
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Buffalo Firefighters ratified a new contract Thursday, giving them their first new contract with the city in 11 years. 

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Credit WBFO News photos by Eileen Buckley
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Buffalo Firefighters rallied last fall outside City Hall

Details of the contract are undisclosed until it is voted on by the Common Council. 

Firefighters had rejected the city's last two contract offers, one in 2007 and one in 2008. Both of those proposed agreements would have provided pay raises. 

The last offer was approved by union leadership, but the rank-and-file rejected it. 

This latest tentative deal was reached between the city and union leaders.  

In November union president Dan Cunningham told WBFO News morale among firefighters was "terrible."

Voting was held until 7 p.m. at the Buffalo Professional Firefighters Local 282 on Delaware Avenue.

Mayor Byron Brown issued the following statement Thursday night:

“I am pleased that the members of Local 282 (Buffalo Firefighters) have agreed to contract terms that pave the way for the end of a decade-long labor dispute.

We negotiated a fair contract that I believe is in the best interests of the taxpayers of the City of Buffalo.  While the details will be reviewed by both the Buffalo Common Council and the Buffalo Fiscal Stability Authority in the coming weeks, I am confident that our efforts to resolve an unprecedented 15-year contract term will be recognized as both fiscally responsible and forward-thinking.”

Republican mayoral opponent Sergio Rodriguez is critical of the length of time the Administration took to get a contract in place for city firefighters. 

Rodriguez issued the following statement Thursday evening:

“It’s concerning to me that it took the current administration nearly eight years to offer a fair contract to the men and women of the Buffalo Fire Department.

“I’ve personally sat down and had dinner with several of these firefighters and it did not take me long to understand the pressing need for a fair deal. The fact that it took eleven years for this need to be fulfilled is unacceptable.

“Making sure that the people who are responsible for protecting the lives of our residents continue to work with a fair contract will not be lost sight of in my administration. I will not wait for an upcoming election to do what is right.”

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