Raises, disability benefits part of tentative deal reached between FDNY, city

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NEW YORK — Firefighters in New York City will receive an 11 percent raise over the seven years, Mayor Bill de Blasio said Thursday announcing a tentative agreement reached between the city and the Uniformed Firefighters Association, the union representing FDNY.

The proposed contract resolves a contentious years-long feud over disability benefits.

More than 8,000 firefighters and other FDNY personnel are represented by the union. It has gone without a contract since 2010

“They should never have had to go years without a contract,” de Blasio said of the city’s firefighters. “It’s just not right. It never was right.”

The agreement takes into account that firefighters’ jobs are “complicated, difficult and sometimes dangerous,” de Blasio said. Firefighters in the city responded to 1.6 million emergency calls last year – a record in the department’s 55-year history, the mayor said.

The mayor called the contract “fundamentally fair” and said it allows firefighters to receive the “coverage and benefits they need when they are hurt on the job.”

Under the proposed contract, those workers would raise their health care contributions by 3 percent to a total of 6 percent – a move de Blasio said mitigates the amount of responsibility taxpayers will have to shoulder and protects the city’s long-term fiscal health.

Disability benefits for firefighters hired after July 1, 2009, are restored under the proposal.

The union has for months said any deal must include increased pension benefits for firefighters injured on the job. The benefit was lowered from 75 to 50 percent of their salaries by a 2009 state law.

De Blasio had said the old system was too expensive and proposed a compromise that the City Council hastily approved in June, angering union officials.

Also part of the deal is an agreement between the de Blasio administration and the firefighter union to "jointly and energetically" support new legislation on the state level regarding disability and pension benefits, the mayor said.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.