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Fort Madison Opens Negotiations w/ 2 Unions

Contract talks are underway between Fort Madison and the unions representing its firefighters and public works employees.

The two sides exchanged initial contract offers on Thursday, Nov. 14.

The city is proposing a one-year contract, starting July 1, 2014, to both unions.

During that year, salaries would be frozen at their current levels and employees would have to pay more for health insurance.

Employees would go from paying 4% of the cost of a single policy to 15% and from 8% to 20% for a family plan.

Fort Madison also wants to eliminate the practice of providing personal days and reduce certain benefits for new employees.

The two employee unions have a differing idea as to the final language of the contracts.

The city's firefighters want a five-year deal with 4% raises in years 1 & 2 and 1.5% raises in years 3-5.

They also want more personal days and additional pay for callbacks, hazmat certification, longevity, & paramedic certification.

Meanwhile, the public works employees are seeking a one-year contract with a 6% wage hike, 30-minute paid lunches and comp time.

Future negotiations can now move behind closed doors.

The city has yet to begin talks with two other employee unions.

Jason Parrott is a former reporter at Tri States Public Radio.