Swift Cur­rent Fire­fight­ers sign new con­tract with City

The Southwest Booster - - OPINION - SCOTT AN­DER­SON SOUTH­WEST BOOSTER

The City of Swift Cur­rent has reached a new five-year agree­ment with mem­bers of the Swift Cur­rent Fire De­part­ment to pro­vide fire ser­vices through to 2023.

Swift Cur­rent City Coun­cil ap­proved a deal with mem­bers of IAFF Lo­cal 1318 which in­cludes a two per cent a year av­er­age to­tal in­crease. The five year con­tract is the long­est IAFF con­tract in Saskatchewan to date. The first and fifth years of the con­tract carry 2.25 per cent wage hikes, with two per cent in­creases in the mid­dle three years of the deal.

Coun­cil­lor Ryan Plewis said it was pos­i­tive to ne­go­ti­ate a new agree­ment be­fore the con­clu­sion of their ex­ist­ing agree­ment. Their cur­rent five year deal was sched­uled to ex­pire on Dec. 31, but they com­pleted a 14-day ne­go­ti­a­tion on Oc­to­ber 29.

“This is just a re­ally out­stand­ing ex­am­ple of the re­la­tion­ship that you guys have been able to build over the course of the last few years,” Plewis said of the ne­go­ti­at­ing com­mit­tees. “I’m just re­ally im­pressed and re­ally happy with the agree­ment that we have. I think it’s mu­tu­ally ben­e­fi­cial of course, and it’s go­ing to lead us to some re­ally great sta­bil­ity for the de­part­ment and for the City mov­ing right through the end of 2023.”

Dur­ing ne­go­ti­a­tions the two sides agreed a Lieu­tenant po­si­tion would be cre­ated to re­place the ex­ist­ing role of Act­ing Cap­tain, as the change would be ben­e­fi­cial to the crews. This po­si­tion will be funded though an ad­just­ment to the wage rates for fu­ture em­ploy­ees.

The con­tract also makes changes to their an­nual va­ca­tion al­lo­ca­tions. Start­ing in 2019, mem­bers have a stan­dard three weeks of hol­i­days af­ter a year of em­ploy­ment, four weeks af­ter nine years of ser­vices, five weeks fol­low­ing 18 years of em­ploy­ment, and six weeks for em­ploy­ees with 28 years in the de­part­ment. Over the con­tract there will be an­nual ad­just­ments to the ser­vice years re­quire­ments, and by 2023, fire fight­ers will earn four weeks of hol­i­days af­ter six years of ser­vice, five weeks af­ter 13 years, and six weeks with 22 years of em­ploy­ment.

Act­ing Fire Chief Ryan Hunter noted Swift Cur­rent has had a longer av­er­age term of ser­vice be­cause of the sta­bil­ity in the de­part­ment. They are cur­rently re­cruit­ing for one full time po­si­tion, as a re­cent hire has left to take a job in his home com­mu­nity.

“I’m very happy that we have stable staff that stays a long time. I’d say eight to 10 years is eas­ily the av­er­age.”

Act­ing Fire Chief Hunter also pro­vided an up­date to Coun­cil on Fire Chief Dar­ren Mcclel­land who is un­der­go­ing can­cer treat­ments in Mex­ico.

“He’s do­ing very, very well. He’s very happy with his out­come that he’s re­ceiv­ing down there, and he can’t wait to get back.”

Op­ti­cal Im­age in Swift Cur­rent held a Bikes and Beers bike-a-thon Beer Tast­ing Night on No­vem­ber 15 with funds raised dur­ing the evening in sup­port of Swift Cur­rent Fire Chief Dar­ren Mcclel­land who is cur­rently un­der­go­ing can­cer treat­ments in Mex­ico. The evening was a col­lab­o­ra­tive ef­fort be­tween Op­ti­cal Im­age, Black Bridge Brew­ery and In­fin­ity Fit­ness.

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