City of Spokane finalizes public safety labor agreements

Spokane Fire Department
Spokane Fire Department

SPOKANE, Wash. — The city of Spokane finalized labor agreements with its public safety employees, including a multi-year deal with firefighters that will start negotiations to create a regional dispatch partnership.

A five-year agreement with Local 29 includes a 3.8 percent average annual wage increase for firefighters and dispatchers and authorizes negotiation with Spokane Regional Emergency Communications (SREC) to transfer services from the Spokane Fire Department to the regional agency.

The agreement with the Spokane Police Guild, which represents commissioned police officers, corporals, detectives, and sergeants, begins January 1 and runs through the end of the year. The City Council approved both agreements on Monday.

“It was extremely important that we get these contracts done in a timely manner,” Mayor Nadine Woodward said. “These are good deals for the people the City serves and for our public safety employees who answer the call for help every day.”

The contract with Local 29 begins to address the SFD’s reliance on overtime to meet shift staffing needs. It includes scheduling and vacation usage updates to introduce greater staffing predictability and control costs associated with covering absences. The contract began January 1, 2020 and runs through the end of 2024.

Negotiations are expected to begin soon with SREC to move fire dispatching to the regional agency no sooner than January 1. Movement to SREC is contingent upon the City’s ability to secure acceptable terms that include levels of service standards, City membership on the board, and considerations for transfer of current dispatchers. The labor agreement requires the City to provide 30 days’ notice to fire department dispatch employees before moving.

The new one-year contract with the Guild essentially extended the previous four-year deal the administration negotiated last year and increases wages by 5.5 percent. Any additional considerations will be addressed when negotiations begin in the next several weeks on a new multi-year contract.

Woodward and the City labor team negotiated a five-year contract with the Guild last year after four years of bargaining. The current public safety agreements follow the completion of a five-year contract through 2025 with Local 270, which as the City’s largest union covers about half of the organization’s employees.