Officials from Escambia County, Florida, and the county’s firefighter’s union have agreed to a new three-year collective bargaining agreement that includes a department-wide wage adjustment for all county firefighters. The new contract requires firefighters receive pay raises ranging from two to twenty percent. According to the president of the Escambia Professional Firefighters Association, Lt. Nick Gradia, Escambia’s pay scales had fallen behind other similar-sized Florida fire departments. The new agreement puts Escambia Fire and Rescue more in line with neighboring departments’ pay structures. Additionally, this new labor agreement will hopefully ease tensions between the firefighters’ union and county officials following more than three years of “contentious” negotiations.
According to the Pensacola News Journal, all department members will receive an across the board 2-percent pay increase. Additionally, firefighters with between 4 and 6 years of service will receive a 4-percent raise and firefighters with more than 7 years of service will receive a 6 percent raise. Most notably, the starting hourly wage for new hires will increase from the current $10.79 per hour to $12.99 per hour. This represents a 20-percent increase. Escambia County Fire Rescue is a combination fire department that operates 21 fire stations in Florida’s pan-handle region.
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