FAIRBANKS (AP) -- The city of Fairbanks and the Fairbanks Fire Fighters Association have reached a tentative contract agreement after more than four years of negotiations.
The agreement could be made official later this month if it is approved by union membership and the city council.
The last collective bargaining agreement between the city and the union expired in December 1995. The union declared an impasse in April 2000, which in turn led to the intervention of a federal mediator in late 2000 and arbitration hearings in mid-July.
Though many contentious issues had been settled before arbitration began, the two sides remained at odds in three areas -- health care, accrual of leave time and salary.
The salary scale will also have fixed increases of 3.75 percent in 2001 and 3 percent both 12 and 24 months after the contract is ratified. The contract is for three years, the longest such agreement possible under state law.
In the area of health care, the city agreed to drop FFFA members from the city's self-funded health plan and enroll them in a different, mutually agreed-upon plan.
The tentative contract would allow current hires to accrue an additional 11 1/2 hours of vacation leave for every year of employment.
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