ROCHELLE — After a month of productive negotiations, the City of Rochelle and the firefighters’ union have reached a new four-year contract, beginning May 1, 2019.
The agreement calls for a 2 percent pay increase in 2019 and 2020 and a 2.75 percent increase in 2021 and 2022.
The International Association of Fire Fighters unanimously ratified the agreement on April 1 and the city council voted 7-0 in favor of passing it at Monday night’s meeting.
“The pay increases are in line with the recently approved police and electrical union contracts,” said Rochelle City Manager Jeff Fiegenschuh.
In addition, the vacation time policy was changed and after 14 years of service, employees will earn 10 days of paid vacation instead of nine, and at 16 years of service they will receive 12 days of paid vacation instead of 11. The city also agreed to increasing the personal days off per year from one to two.
With regard to longevity pay, language was added stating after 20 years of service with a minimum three-month notification, an employee who chooses to retire will receive six weeks of severance. This was a compromise to the union’s original request of 1 percent longevity raises at 15 and 20 years of service.
The residency language changed from union firefighters required to live 15 minutes from the city limits rather than 15 miles. Firefighters will also pay a higher amount for insurance beginning on Jan. 1, 2020.
“This was a good negotiation,” Fiegenschuh added. “We met four times in March and things were never contentious. This proposal represents a good compromise as both sides gave and received concessions.”