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By JoEllen Black/Richmond News
After months of closed-door negotiations, Richmond City Council unanimously approved a contract between the city of Richmond and the International Association of Fire Fighters AFL-CIO for its fire department.
The vote was taken in closed session during the council’s regularly scheduled Dec. 10 meeting.
“Part of language we weren’t satisfied with, and so it was fixed,” said Mayor Mike Wright, who said administrators, council members and City Attorney Chris Williams finessed contract language up to the vote. The contract, yet to be signed by both parties, is for three years.
IAFF represents all metropolitan fire departments in Missouri, along with some mid-sized cities that include Warrensburg, Poplar Bluff, Chillicothe and Kirksville, according to its Web site. Richmond would join the union’s Local 3133, which contracts with Oak Grove and Bates City (Sni Valley Fire District), Fort Osage, Central Jackson County and Southeast Jackson County (Prairie Township Fire District).
“They just wanted to have a contract in place, and didn’t really ask for anything else. It’s their right after the Supreme Court case, and so that’s what we did,” said Williams.
In November 2012, Missouri Supreme Court ruled that public bodies, like governments and school districts, must collectively bargain with employee unions in good faith “with present intention of reaching an agreement,” which wasn’t the case before. Public bodies were only required to meet and confer, Williams explained.
“It changed the landscape for cities out there. A lot of cities are now getting engaged in this process,” he said.
Williams called the negotiation process lengthy, but quite reasonable.
ants and coat, boots, gloves and hood. The city also provides firefighters with portable radios ($750 value) and pagers ($475), according to the city administrator.