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Ogdensburg firefighters, city at impasse.


Ogdensburg’s firefighters and the city are at an impasse in their attempts to reach a new labor agreement.

The last two-year contract between the city and the 28 firefighters belonging to International Association of Firefighters Local 1799 expired Dec. 31.

An impasse was declared Sept. 20, according to Ronald D. Bouchard, an assistant chief and the union’s secretary-treasurer.

Mr. Bouchard said Wednesday a mediator’s services will be sought from the state Public Employment Relations Board to get both sides to settle without having to resort to binding arbitration which results in a mandatory agreement.

In the meantime, the two sides can still meet again whenever they wish.

“We can pick it up at any time,” Mr. Bouchard said.

City Manager John M. Pinkerton agreed.

“We’re still talking,” he said.

Mr. Bouchard said that wages and health care costs are the key issues in the negotiations.

The lapsed contract is still in effect and carries with it a 1.5-percent pay increase in 2011 and a 1.75-percent rise in 2012. Also, biweekly health insurance contributions rose from $15 for all to $20 for a single person, $25 for a couple and $30 for a family.

Under the contract, firefighters also had to perform code inspections for commercial and public assembly buildings starting last year. The firefighters joined the city’s mandatory mail order prescription drug plan last year.

Local 1799 represents 21 firefighters, four assistant chiefs and four captains.

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