Firefighters Local 1499 and City of Rock Springs settle on agreement for last two years; Process ready to start again

Firefighters Local 1499 and City of Rock Springs settle on agreement for last two years; Process ready to start again

ROCK SPRINGS — After coming to a stand-still and going through arbitration, the city of Rock Springs and the Firefighters Local 1499 have come to an agreement, just in time to start negotiations for the upcoming contract.

Union President Dominic Erramouspe said he was glad to get a resolution in this long drawn out process.

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“We would like to thank the council members on the negotiating committee and the mayor who were willing to sit down and get this hammered out without a third party involvement,” Erramouspe said. “Just in time to start the next set of negotiations.”

During the meeting, City Councilman Rob Zotti thanked Erramouspe and the union negotiating team for their willingness to work with the city to come to a conclusion.

“There was a lot of cooperation, and we were able to sit down and come to agreement,” Zotti said. “When you go through arbitration, you tend to dig in. Hopefully, this will help start mending fences.”

In July of 2012 during the negotiations, both sides came to an impasse about the conditions in the contract. The dispute went to arbitration hearing about a year ago and again both sides came to a crossroads about the arbitration decision. Before more third party participation was involved, the groups decided to sit down and see if they could get an agreement between the two sides again.

There were three issues which the sides could not agree on including pay, vacation time and job descriptions.

The disagreement with job descriptions was over whether the city could change them without the union having a say. They agreed to go back to when the job descriptions were last changed, when Tim Kaumo was Mayor, and use those descriptions.

On pay increases, the union felt by seven years of service a firefighter should be at the highest pay for his or her position. Both sides met in the middle and came to a step-increase each year until the maximum was hit.

On the vacation issues, the union missed a deadline, so it is not changed.

Mayor Carl Demshar and Councilmen David Tate, Zotti and Glenn Sugano started the negotiations. After Sugano’s passing, Councilwoman Glennise Wendorf filled the vacant spot.