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Keokuk Firefighters Want Contract Extension

May 22, 2012

Keokuk could get some financial help from some of its employees.

The city’s current contract with the firefighter’s union runs out June 30, 2013.  It is the only contract in place for the fiscal year that begins July 1, 2012.

Keokuk is currently in negotiations with the unions representing police officers, employees at the wastewater treatment plant, and the general union, which includes parks, streets and cemeteries.

The firefighters are offering to give up the 3% raise its members are in-line for come July 1.

The union says it is willing to accept whatever type of wage increase or freeze Keokuk agrees to with the other three unions.  In exchange, the firefighters’ contract would be extended three years, beyond next year, with its current language.

The extension would allow staffing levels and shift minimums to remain the same through June 30, 2016.

There was some hesitation among city council members during its recent workshop.

Several aldermen questioned why the panel was just hearing about this now, especially since the firefighters approached the city with the offer several months.

Members of the city’s negotiating team say that’s because the talks have been fluid and the opportunity had not presented itself.

They also say the negotiations with the three unions appear to be leaning towards one-year contracts, which could hurt the firefighters’ chances of landing a multi-year deal.

The Keokuk City Council is expected to discuss the offer during upcoming meetings.