Key Biscayne’s unionized firefighters ratified a new three-year contract that will grant a 5.5% pay increase retroactive to October 1st, according to union president Eddie Blanco.
The vote was 21-10, Blanco said. The deal now heads the Village Council for approval.
The approval by the Fire-Rescue Department rank and file comes after the largest police unit overwhelmingly rejected a similar deal in November, disagreeing with their own bargainers over the phase out of extra rifle pay.
The rejection led to an unusual public discussion of the Village’s bargaining posture by several council members, who opined that stubborn inflation in South Florida should be addressed, even for units that have reached deals, such as civilian staff and a smaller police bargaining unit.
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported the Consumer Price Index in the Miami area stood at an annual rate of 5.7% in December, higher than the national inflation rate of 3.4%
Bargaining dates for the still-open police officer contract have not yet been set.
Tony Winton is the editor-in-chief of the Key Biscayne Independent and president of Miami Fourth Estate, Inc. He worked previously at The Associated Press for three decades winning multiple Edward R. Murrow awards. He was president of the News Media Guild, a journalism union, for 10 years. Born in Chicago, he is a graduate of Columbia University. His interests are photography and technology, sailing, cooking, and science fiction.