Joined by Warwick Fire Department Union President Michael Carreiro, Union Vice President Mike DeFusco, and administration officials, Mayor Joseph Solomon and the Union officially signed the new Warwick Fire Department contract on Wednesday afternoon.
“I’m pleased to sign this contract today, which guarantees the city of Warwick’s ongoing financial health as well as the superb fire protection services that Warwick residents expect and deserve,” said Mayor Solomon.
“I’d like to thank the Warwick Firefighters Union for working together with my administration on this innovative contract and the majority of the Warwick City Council for ratifying it.”
The city council ratified the agreement on Monday, January 6th.
The contract is a three-year, wage-neutral deal that saves the city over $600,000 in the first year.
It also establishes an OPEB trust, the first of its kind in Warwick. All employees hired after July 1, 2019 will contribute, in addition to current co-shares for health insurance, an additional 2 percent of their pay to fund an OPEB trust. The trust will be used to contribute to their healthcare costs in retirement, which defrays the City’s future employee retirement costs. According to Warwick’s actuaries, the OPEB fund will reduce the city’s contribution toward retiree healthcare for new hires by approximately 30 percent.
The new OPEB trust for firefighters will serve as a template for future negotiations with the city’s other bargaining units.
The contract also includes reductions in firefighter time off and increases in management rights. Firefighters will have a total of 7 fewer days off, due to reductions in sick days, personal days, and holidays.
The contract also includes implementation of a 24-hour shift schedule, which should lead to decreased overtime costs and therefore, further savings.
The new agreement also resolves past grievances with the union over sick-time and pension issues.
“This contract is another responsible step to ensure our city’s financial health moving forward,” said Solomon.