Contract negotiations underway for Rocky View Fire Services and County
Rocky View County Fire Services began to discuss a new contract with the County through the arbitration process on Feb. 24.
International Association of Fire Fighters (IAFF) president for Rocky View Jeff Cragg said he expects the process to take a few days to reach an agreement, indicating that several issues need to be addressed.
“After that, it is in the hands of the arbitration panel,” said Cragg.
“And we will wait for the panel’s decision.”
Grant Kaiser, a communications manager for the County, said both parties have agreed not to ‘negotiate in the media.’
In a statement released by the County, Reeve Rolly Ashdown said, “We are very concerned that a substantial increase in costs to settle with the firefighters union will impact not only taxes, but other services in the county, such as infrastructure and roads. We’re a large and lightly populated region, and simply cannot afford urban firefighting models and costs.”
Rocky View firefighters joined the IAFF three years ago and have been working toward a new contract since that time.
Actual demands have not been released by the IAFF, but Cragg said he hopes it will be on par with other similar departments.
“The union is optimistic that we will achieve a standard firefighter-type union collective agreement,” he said. “Nothing more, nothing less.”
The County currently pays its full-time firefighters in the low $70,000 range (plus benefits), but that recent negotiations in nearby communities have seen settlements around the $93,000 mark.
This will be the first collective agreement for Rocky View Fire Services since joining the IAFF.