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Streator agreement with fire union pending approval

The impasse between the city of Streator and the Streator firefighters union may cease Wednesday night, depending on the City Council's vote.

The firefighters union has agreed to approve a labor contract with the city dating May 1, 2017, to the end of 2019. City staff have recommended the City Council approve the proposal Wednesday.

Firefighters have been working without a labor agreement since April 30, 2017, and the matter was on track for arbitration. The city also may vote to finalize an agreement Wednesday with its police officers union, in which most of the items, including wages, were settled in binding arbitration.

The majority of the contract language with the firefighters remains status quo from the previous contract, according to a memo to City Council members.

Firefighters will receive a $3,000 signing bonus for emergency medical response, and if the city wants to continue the service, it will be bargained in the next contract. The city doesn't guarantee it will continue the practice. In the agreement, the city will agree to compensate firefighters if it elects to continue utilizing firefighters for emergency medical responses.

In March 2016, the department started responding to most emergency medical service calls in Streator, assisting Peoria-based Advanced Medical Transport. The union previously filed a complaint with the state labor board stating the city had failed to bargain over the addition of EMS duties. It withdrew the complaint in January 2018, however, in return for the city agreeing to arbitration.

In August, the firefighters union had filed another unfair labor practice complaint against the city — its second — disagreeing with the city's intent to remove code enforcement from firefighters' duties. Streator firefighters also handle a portion of the city's code enforcement, issuing citations such as weed ordinances, debris and fire code violations.

If the union and city were to reach an agreement, all unfair labor complaints would be withdrawn.

The proposal also states firefighters will receive a 2% raise retroactive to May 2017, a 2.25% raise retroactive to January 2018 and a 2.5% raise retroactive to January of this year.

Firefighters union president Kurt Snow said he will comment on the contract once it's approved by the City Council.

The agreement comes a month after former City Manager Scot Wrighton left his position for a city manager job in Decatur. City Engineer Jeremy Palm is serving as interim city manager.

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