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Fire commissioner says firefighters 'deserve' pay raises

WBFO News photos by Eileen Buckley

One more signature is needed on the new Buffalo Firefighters contract with the city.  Mayor Byron Brown still needs to sign-off on the the collective bargaining agreement with the the Local 282 to finalize the deal.  WBFO'S Eileen Buckley says the city's fire commissioner is very happy a settlement was finally reached.

"I think that, you know, firefighters certainly deserved a raise," said Buffalo Fire Commissioner Garnell Whitfield.

After working 11-years without a contract -- union firefighters from Local 282 recently reached agreement with the city.  It will provide pay raises. 

Union leadership had indicated that morale was very low through the years and during negotiations.  In his leadership role -- Commissioner Whitfield tells WBFO he works to keep smiling and has much respect for firefighters.

"At the end of the day, I always thought the glass was half full.  Always thought we had the greatest job in the world," said Whitfield.  "You want to talk about morale. I always felt good about coming to work and putting this uniform on."

Firefighters had rejected past offers in 2007 and 2008. But Whitifield says  leadership changes  dragged out contract talks

"Changes in union leadership over that period of time. Changes in the mayor's office over that time,"  Mayor Brown always wanted to settle the contract...so I know he is also very happy also that we have a settlement." 

The new deal will cost the city about 4-million dollars in the first year.


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