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Two Unions Ratify New County Contract

A third union has yet to ratify agreement that promises no layoffs in return for forgoing raises and increased pension contributions for new hires.

UPDATED (11:33 a.m.)—Unions representing sheriff's deputies and county firefighters and paramedics ratified a contract extension that promises no layoffs in return for salary and pension concessions.

A third union that tentatively reached the same agreement has not yet sent the contract to it's members for ratification.

The Fraternal Order of Police Lodge 25 and Baltimore County Professional Fire Fighters each approved the new contract in separate votes on June 17 and 22 respectively, according to a statement released by the county.

The statement said the contract was ratified by members of the sheriff's deputy and firefighters unions by 96 and 98 percent respectively, but does not indicate how many total members voted.

The county that three unions representing deputies, firefighters and the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME), which represents county employees in skilled trade and laborer positions, had all tentatively agreed to the contract.

In a statement Thursday, County Executive Kevin Kamenetz said AFSCME had not yet forwarded the contract to its members for ratification.

Officials at the union were not immediately available for comment.

Under the terms of the agreement, the two unions will forgo cost-of-living raises through June 30, 2014.

Employees will continue to receive scheduled increment and longevity increases.

Employees covered by the the unions that are hired after July 1 will also have to make larger contributions to their pensions.

New deputies will contribute 10 percent of their salary toward their pension—a 2 percent increase over the rate paid by current employees.

New firefighters will also contribute 10 percent to their retirement—up from 8.5 percent.

The new contracts extend the agreement on health care benefits reached in 2010.

Note: This story has been updated to correct information regarding the AFSCME unions decision to ratify. The union will ask members to approve the contract but has not yet held a vote. Patch regrets the error.

johnny towson June 24, 2011 at 03:12 AM
Good stuff FIREMAN. Grateful to know you are out there.
Eastsider June 24, 2011 at 12:33 PM
I much rather pay a higher tax and have guaranteed fire service, then pay a lower tax and have to wait on that same service that may take 10 to 15 minutes or possibly longer with the volunteers. Like Fireman stated “You have no clue what firefighters do” you just assume.
Mike Dunne June 24, 2011 at 02:21 PM
Fireman's Son My father was a Baltimore City Firefighter in the 50s, 60s and 70s. We wouldn’t see him much because back then firemen stayed at work around the clock with out coming home. When they did they had to get another job so we could have a better life. I ask Mr. Buck Hershey if he ever had to wait in an emergency room to see if his dad will recover from a work related injury or not like my family had to? Some people just don’t get it. Congratulations to the firemen who put their lives on the line everyday for us.
Lorna D. Rudnikas June 24, 2011 at 11:10 PM
Oh my goodness. Can't say enough about my admiration and great respect for the men and women of the volunteer and professional fire departments. Growing up in the Community of Bloomfield circa 1954- on, has always been with the appreciation for the fire departments (Arbutus, English Consul, Halethorpe and Lansdowne) that never fail to be ready, willing and able to meet the challenges. The Lansdowne Fire Department alarm siren (a part of my youth) that sends notice to the volunteer firemen to come quick was always a welcome sound ever since we first moved to Bloomfield and throughout my growing up years. There is no doubt that some memories of comfort growing up in Bloomfield was realizing that we were in good hands with our fire department heroes . Hopefully folks appreciate all they do to keep our communities and citizens safe on many levels. Believe me, when it happens to you - firetruck or ambulance needed, they look like angels and you know what, they are. Appreciation for all of their heroism on our behalf is my great pleasure and privilege..
Sharon Ryan Zinkand June 27, 2011 at 12:54 AM
Dear Mr. (?) Hershey, Your comments infuriate me and I have waited to comment.... Is there enough money in the world to pay a man/woman who at a moments notice put their live on the line to save another? Do you live under a rock? Your comments are rude, insensitive and very uniformed. Or maybe you would like to make a visit to the home of FireFighter Mark Falkenham and tell his wife and two boys what you have said here. In case you don't know who he is, he is the Balto. Co Firefighter who was killed this past January. And he didn't die from card playing, sleeping or kibitzing. He died saving people he did not know in a fire. Wonder if you would have gone in with out hesitation. Yeah it's an easy life those County Fire Fighters have!

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